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Opera in the Time of COVID-19

Opera in the Time of COVID-19

What is opera in the time of COVID-19? Check in every Wednesday for an inspiring story on how opera companies are innovating to deliver ARTISTIC and CIVIC IMPACT during these times of isolation.

 

Canadian Opera Company - Virtual Choir

 

In a typical year, the Canadian Opera Company’s popular annual Sing Along is an event that brings countless people together through a shared love of music. From opera fans and enthusiasts, to choristers from all across the Toronto, it is always wonderful to see musicians of all ages and levels singing together in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Of course, this season the pandemic had other plans, and when it no longer became safe to gather as a result of COVID19 it was clear that the annual Sing Along would have to find a new way to take place – and the Virtual Choir Project was that answer.
 
The response to the Virtual Choir was overwhelmingly positive. The chosen piece is an all-time operatic hit: the “Anvil Chorus” from Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Young artists from the COC Ensemble Studio program, Anna-Sophie Neher, Joel Allison, and Rachel Kerr, created “how-to” tracks from their homes to help choristers learn and practice their roles before recording and sending in their video submissions. There was also an option to bang on pots and pans in order to partake in the percussion section for those who prefer to play from the orchestra pit. The entire project was guided by the Chorus Master Sandra Horst, who led participants from all over the world, happily participating with whatever recording equipment they had on hand.
 
 
The COC Virtual Choir Project included over 215 singers from more than 20 countries, and for the first time in COC history, the annual Sing Along became an international event connecting music lovers from across the globe. In a time when physical distancing is necessary to keep everyone safe, finding ways to connect as a community is no easy task, and while everyone is certainly longing for the moment when it is safe to hear live music performed in the Four Seasons Centre, music continues to help fulfill our need for human connection and community during this time of isolation.
 
To listen to the COC Virtual Choir perform Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus,” from Il Trovatore visit www.coc.ca/virtualchoir.
 
For more digital performances and programs such as the Opera Makers series for young people or Songs of Hope Concert (available online until July 23) performed by the COC Ensemble Studio, visit www.coc.ca/hub.