Opera in the time of COVID-19

Amid news of fall season cancellations, Opera Companies across Canada continue to find new ways to reach audiences through interactive content, virtual festivals, and outdoor socially-distanced concerts for the larger community. The innovation in the opera sector is vast and these exciting projects are strengthening the sector’s civic impact.
Here are some notable new initiatives:

The Hummingbird

Pacific Opera Victoria and Vancouver Opera’s co-production of The Hummingbird, an opera for young audiences was mid-way through a school tour when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the remaining shows. The companies have made the production available to stream for the remainder of the summer and there are educational supplements available to the public on their websites. The Hummingbird is based on an indigenous parable from the Quechuan people of South America, with music by Maxime Goulet and libretto by Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and Barry Gilson.
View the production here: https://youtu.be/hLnUBDKM7uQ

The Rock Performs

Opera on the Avalon is supporting local artists and culture through this virtual summer festival. The Rock Performs is an online concert series featuring twenty live video performances, highlighting local artists and some of the province’s most iconic landmarks. This multimedia project’s goal is to support as many artists and help boost the province’s culture and tourism sector that was hard-hit by the pandemic.

Sidewalk Serenades

Opera Kelowna is connecting with their community members who are unable to participate virtually during the pandemic. They are offering brief, socially-distanced sidewalk performances outside of residences for those who need it in the Okanagan Valley.

Box Concerts

Tapestry Opera has partnered with their neighbour Soulpepper Theatre to offer free community concerts. Their curbside concerts include a compact travelling stage…that literally fits into a small box. Audiences can book a performance, and then watch the concert from their own porch or they can donate a performance to care facilities, retirement homes, or neighbourhood associations.

Pop Up Opera

Pacific Opera Victoria is presenting 10 minute pop up concert performances in outdoor spaces this summer. Each concert day, one location that allows for easy access and appropriate social distancing will be announced, and the concert will feature one or two singers with recorded piano tracks.


Against the Grain Theatre company has moved their creative content to a YouTube TV channel. AtGTV features Opera Pub: Quarantunes, and bi-weekly interviews, watch parties, and other content.

Virtual Choir

Canadian Opera Company‘s Virtual Choir project is now available to view. With over 200 submissions from around the world, this project truly connected people during the pandemic. Enjoy the video of Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore HERE.