Words by Nathan Jacques.
Image courtesy of Virginia Opera.
Live performances are a wondrous thing, filled to the brim with all sorts of irreplaceable joys; the buzz of excitement backstage, “break-a-legs” exchanged between castmates, the sound of meticulous tuning of instruments in the pit, the audience humming with sheer anticipation, and so much more… all byproducts of the unique magic of live performance.
The theater has always acted as a “home-away-from-home” for many – myself included. No matter the level at which one participates, the beauty of it all is that it has the power to speak to the soul. Someone seeking refuge from the jarring discord of their daily life can find the harmony they so desperately crave in the arts; however, this basic human desire for expression – once thought to be inalienable – has been put on indefinite hold thanks to a threat we can’t even see. Those who found their “home-away-from-home” in the arts find themselves lost until curtains can rise once more.
Performances have been cancelled. Workplaces have been closed. Even simple pleasures like visiting loved ones have been tossed out the window for the time being. The road back isn’t an easy one- we all want to go back to “normal” – but “normal” isn’t possible unless caution is taken. Arts organizations across the globe have adopted an “Amazon” approach to the delivery of their art to audience members stuck inside their homes; a click of the mouse grants fast n’ free shipping directly to the home. Sure, it’s convenient, but much like when shopping on Amazon the personal experience of picking out your purchase at a brick-and-mortar store is lost. The same applies to consumption of the arts. Of course, in the time of Corona, this concept is less of a matter of convenience, but rather a necessity done out of a concern for staff and patron health.
Though the desire to return to our beloved home in the arts is overwhelming, a fine balance must be found in reopening arts venues. Thankfully, many arts organizations across our Commonwealth are pioneering new ways to engage audiences in rather impressive (and safe) avenues. The Virginia Opera recently announced Stayin’ Alive, Virginia Opera’s Alternate Fall, to the world. They’ve got four incredibly talented artists – all part of the Herndon Foundation Emerging Artists program – and they’re ready to hit the ground running with eight weeks’ worth of digital AND live programming, both of which can be delivered straight to you – not just the digital stuff!
Of course, all live events will be planned with the safety of both patrons and artists in mind. Every possible guideline for safe assembly will absolutely be observed, including mandatory mask wearing and social distancing – no worries! Local organizations or community venues are able (and encouraged) to partner with the Virginia Opera to host live events. For anyone interested in hosting an event, the Virginia Opera can be reached at this email address.
A swiftly approaching Virtual Showcase, acting as an introduction to Stayin’ Alive, is scheduled for September 16 and aims to give everyone a taste of the sheer magic the Virginia Opera is planning to share with the world. More information on Stayin’ Alive can be found by visiting the official Virginia Opera website. You are also encouraged to follow the Virginia Opera on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to keep up with the latest happenings. Fresh and exciting programs like Stayin’Alive are among the first steps toward the reunification of art and audience for which humanity is waiting with bated breath.
For more information on Virginia Opera’s Alternate Fall, you can visit their website!