A new initiative known as #OperaHarmony has been set up to bring together teams of artists from across the world to create ‘micro-operitas’ to be shared online. Composers will be paired with librettists to devise new pieces on the themes of ‘distance’ or ‘community’ before being matched with directors and singers to record a mini-opera to share with the world.
This innovative way of creating networks at a distance has been made necessary by the worldwide response to Covid-19 as many countries have had to go into ‘lockdown’. #OperaHarmony has been established by Ella Marchment, stage director of the International Opera Awards.
She has worked for world-renowned companies and conservatoires as a director and teacher including Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Julliard School and The Royal College of Music. Her organisation Helios Collective has engaged more than 1,500 artists in making opera and commissioned numerous new works.
Marchment commented: “The other day I was thinking about how we could still make art together even through these difficult circumstances, how we can use this forced separation to bring us closer. Now we have no apparent stage and are all in the same boat, the idea is to create networks between all those invested in creating opera and plant the seed for new professional relationships that have the potential to grow further once we are out of this situation.”
The first four teams have been assembled. The first comprises prize-winning composer and filmmaker Heathcliff Blair and opera director, teacher and writer John Ramster, who will write the libretto and direct. Team two is composer and sound artist Joel Rust (composer) and writer David Troupes (librettist). The third pair are composer Melis Peykoğlu and playwright Zoe Vail and the final one are composer Rose Miranda Hall and librettist Laura-Jane Foley. More teams are being announced daily.
“I am committed to giving as many people opportunities as possible – regardless of experience – to create art,” Marchment continued. “#OperaHarmony began with a Facebook post and I have been overwhelmed by the response of artists from around the world. I now understand its potential to unite, connect and stimulate creativity across the entire opera industry.”
Composer Rose Miranda Hall (left) and writer Laura-Jane Foley (right) have been teamed up to create a new mini-opera as part of #OperaHarmony.