In the wake of COVID-19, Victorian Opera swiftly adapted online to deliver a stream of diverse content, including a new recital series beginning last weekend and a comic mini-series written for university-aged singers reflecting on life in lockdown.
“We’re incredibly proud of our small company,” notes Victorian Opera’s Artistic Director Richard Mills. “We have always been agile in our reimagining of opera and musical theatre, and the current global circumstances have allowed us to demonstrate that yet again. Many of our staff have re-skilled or drawn on different talents in their toolkits. It’s been inspiring to observe.”
Across its Virtual Victorian Opera platform, the company has delivered hilarious videos by tenor Carlos E. Bárcenas, performance highlights from past productions, and interview series Artists in Isolation.
“We connect with opera singers and makers all across the world each week, more intimately than ever before. The series has taken us from superstar Jessica Pratt’s Tuscan villa to Lithuanian soprano Vida Mikneviciute’s summer house, and around Australia,” adds Mills.
Engaging with the talented young singers from Victorian Opera’s Youth Chorus Ensemble (VOYCE), VOYCE Director and composer Angus Grant has written the mini-series Opera-Bytes during lockdown. Following a group of university-aged singers as they adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the new music brings humour and light to our current situations.
“We were keen to give the VOYCE participants something to do to maintain a connection with them,” says Grant. “Why not create short works for our teenagers/young adults that are about their life during lockdown and perform them under the restrictions they are all facing?”
“Young people’s passions are just as operatic as that of any historical figure and works written specifically for them can allow them to express this within their vocal means. Opera-Bytes deals with the banalities of domestic life under social distancing (including the wrestle with technology), the desire to form new bonds despite this and also the sense of loss that many young people are facing,” says Grant.
Victorian Opera will also deliver fortnightly recitals from local opera singers; many of whom have lost work with the cancellation or postponement of company productions. The recital series includes performances from Victorian artists Simon Meadows, Rebecca Rashleigh, Douglas Kelly, Juel Flemming, Stephen Marsh, Kathryn Radcliffe and Shakira Dugan.
“It is our duty and privilege to engage artists through our recital series and other programs,” said Richard Mills. “We have more projects that we have been very busy developing, ready for release in the weeks and months to come, and are looking forward to a return to the theatre as soon as it is safe to do so.”
For more information and to discover more about Victorian Opera, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.
Image: courtesy of Victorian Opera