A Covid-19 Opera: "Le nozze di Figaro"
It's not often that a virus induces global solitude. And in times like these, everybody responds differently - and that is beautiful.
Some find comfort in frequent, quiet moments of pensiveness. Enjoying the stillness of both the "inside" and "outside world." Because the constant background track of metal machines rolling over potholes has largely dissipated, one can hear the sound of bicycle spokes spinning round, the laughter of rambunctious children, and signs of nature, abundant. Perhaps life has momentarily reverted to how some remember it "once was."
Others desperately crave human interaction. Calling family, friends, loved ones. Checking in on neighbors and elderly acquaintances while maintaining a "safe distance." For some, this has brought forgotten friends more intimately into their "sphere of consciousness" and care. Perhaps for others, it magnifies relationship gaps or internal dialogue.
Some find "doing" to be the answer. Others find "existing" to be the answer.
Some believe their calling during this period is to create.
Some couldn't even fathom having the spirit to do so at this time.
Everyone's life and emotional state going into and coming out of global isolation was/is/will be different. So, naturally, peoples' responses will widely vary.
There is no "proper" way to respond. And that's ok.
[For those of you interested more about this topic, I encourage you to read "I screen, you screen" by Kathleen Kelly, a brilliant collaborator and thoughtful mentor]
Approached only a couple weeks ago by bass-baritone Ryan McKinny, alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, (and the wicked Don Giovanni to my Zerlina at HGO last spring) he asked the current HGO Studio (plus alumna, Megan Samarin) to record the comedic and heart-warming ACT IV Finale from Le nozze di Figaro to promote his crowd-sourcing donation efforts for The AGMA Relief Fund & Artist Relief Tree. I was hesitant about how we could possibly combine upwards of ten or eleven separate peoples' clips to create a congruous storyline, doing Mozart's writing justice, but any doubt dissipated the moment we received "filming instructions" from our leader in charge (Ryan). After many hours spent filming underneath a light pink blanket, creating a veil with a baseball cap/toilet paper/duct tape, and secretly juggling flipping score pages and keeping my AirPods from plopping out (which constantly ran out of battery life) - my contribution was shipped off to Ryan's DropBox, only to be seen a week later in what I can only describe as a most ingenious video.
We hope that our creation brings a smile to your face, and reminds you that you are not alone, though sometimes it may feel like it.