Atlanta takes opera to the COVID circus | Inquirer News
Close  

Atlanta takes opera to the COVID circus

/ 04:46 AM October 26, 2020

ATLANTA — The life-art imitation question is age-old, but if 2020 has anything to say the answer is clear: even the fictional characters of our operas have developed COVID-19.

The Atlanta Opera premiered an outdoor series this week, set to run through mid-November, that features live performances of “Pagliacci” and “The Kaiser of Atlantis” under a circus tent on a baseball field, with scripts retrofitted for our virus-plagued times.

ADVERTISEMENT

In the southeastern US city’s version of “Pagliacci,” an 1890s opera from Ruggero Leoncavallo, the jealous clown Canio contracts coronavirus.

“A world that is in the middle of a pandemic is a part of the storytelling,” said Tomer Zvulun, the Atlanta Opera’s director.

FEATURED STORIES

Performers sing and play instruments in plexiglass enclosures or wear masks, and the audience sits in four-person socially distanced pods.

Zvulun emphasized the strategy was less about money, and more about adapting to a society in distress.

“As artists we are nimble enough, we are desperate enough, we are committed enough to find a way to do what we do best and connect with a community,” he said.

New technologies

The staging of “Pagliacci” also sees new technologies onstage like Facetime deployed as well as centuries-old ones, with puppets allowing for some of the physical comedy.

The safety measures are strict: Performers have undergone frequent COVID-19 tests, and Michael Mayes, who plays the titular Kaiser in the run of the “Atlantis” opera, said he and his wife rarely go anywhere besides rehearsals.

But it’s worth it, the 44-year-old said.

“I missed it terribly,” Mayes said. “Being able to be a part of the ensemble that’s in the community and meeting the public where they are… it’s been a real bright spot.”

ADVERTISEMENT

And singing behind a mask?

“The sound is different, but it’s just as valid,” he said.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Atlanta Opera, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.