As Canada’s artists ready themselves for far-reaching cancellations in the 2020-21 opera season, Opera Canada is checking in. What is the ripple effect of an opera-free season? How many Canadians will call themselves professional artists in a year’s time? How bad has it gotten for freelancing individuals? And are there silver linings? We look for answers in our new series of Q&As, “What’s next?” Next up is mezzo-soprano Rebecca Cuddy:
What do the recent announcements of cancelled 2020/21 opera seasons mean for your professional future?
“As it stands, my engagements for 2020 and 2021 have been postponed and are being rescheduled. I am glad they aren’t cancelled outright. I miss rehearsing and performing dearly, as I’m sure all of us do. I feel I am fortunate that I will be starting at the National Theatre School of Canada as the Indigenous Artist in Residence this September. While my operatic ventures are currently on hold until we can sing comfortably again, the opportunity to dive back into full-time studies and hone my craft as a performer could not have come at a better time.”
How much time have you spent considering a new career?
“I feel strongly that there is no shame in artists having multiple paths and means of sustaining themselves. I was always going to be a multidisciplinary artist, there is just too much that interests and excites me. In fact, I feel I’ve already taken on a few new careers! I have my own visual arts endeavor, specializing in contemporary Métis beadwork. I am the Indigenous Advisor with Opera.ca’s Portfolio Artist Collective, I am a Mentor with Opera InReach, I sit on the COC Circle of Artists advisory committee and Opera.ca’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee. My love of opera and performing always comes first, but I am glad that I can explore other ways of advocating, educating and giving back to my communities at this time.”
What plans, singing or otherwise, do you have for the coming season?
“My partner and I will move to Montreal in the coming weeks to begin our next chapter together – I’ve always wanted to live in Montreal! With social distancing protocols in place, the National Theatre School of Canada plans to open its doors this September and I will begin my two-year residency as with a focus in Acting and Directing. I am continuing to plan, create and collaborate behind the scenes and with much enthusiasm, and it is my hope to begin performing again, online or otherwise, as soon as possible!”
Jenna is the editor and co-creator of Schmopera. She also writes for The Globe and Mail and Opera Canada. She’s a pianist and vocal coach, and working with singers is how she fell in love with opera.