This hits too close to home. OperaPulse.com was born of our last world crisis – the 2008 recession. At that time, the two founders of OperaPulse were artists in residence with Connecticut Opera. We had enjoyed giving a black-tie concert for an eager audience moments before being told, due to the financial crisis, Connecticut Opera was closing its doors – after over 70 years. A post-concert reception is usually a joyous event, but we found it to be one of the most sobering moments of our young careers.
Difficult for all of us, a force majeure occurred – just like what recently happened at The Met – they stopped all obligations to pay out the remainder of what they owed us on our contracts. We were out several thousands of dollars, a contract for the following year, and up against mounting bills, rent, health insurance payments etc. Essentially, we were left to fend for ourselves.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, artists all across the world are going through this same surreality every day. While elected officials in Washington debate and scramble to create a stimulus package hoping to help out those in the gig economy, it’s a time that we, as opera lovers, rally around the arts’ community.
Unlike the 2008 recession, there are many positive and encouraging actions taking place across the opera world today. Below we’ve highlighted actions that you can take:
If the event you have tickets for cancels, consider donating the ticket
In a crisis like this, chances are an arts institution will close its doors for an indeterminate amount of time. We’ve now seen The Met, Carnegie Hall, La Scala and more, close for the next couple months. This puts thousands of workers and artists out of work. Probably tens of thousands! Most of these individuals are freelancers and have worked their passionate butts off their entire lives to bring you the best art they can, and many of them live paycheck to paycheck. If you are able, do consider donating the cost of the ticket. Chances are, you can afford the $100. It is in unforeseeable events like this coronavirus pandemic, the recession, or 9/11 that worried arts lovers, by pulling away their financial commitments, can cause irreversible damage to not only the institution, but also the hard-working laborers and artists.
If you have the funds, consider donating directly to labor unions, individual companies and cities who have setup funds specifically for artists such as:
- American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Relief Fund
- Minnesota Opera Artist Support Fund
- Opera San Antonio Artist Relief Fund
- Boston Artist Relief Fund
- Artist Relief Tree (ART) (They’ve raised over $160,000 already!)
Trust us, the artists need it.
Look ahead and support the next season
Take a look at your schedule for the fall. Call friends NOW and commit to buying as many tickets as you are able to your favorite opera company, symphony, concert hall, etc.
Seek out online performances to get your fix
It might not be live theater, but it still inspires! While you’re shuttered up at home with your favorite soup fogging up the windows, now is the time to introduce the arts to your kids, spouse, lover, dog or goldfish. Check out these incredible online arts On Demand services:
- The Met (Each day of the week there’s a new opera to stream for FREE!)
- On Site Opera
- The Industry
- Opera Vision
- Medici TV
- Or just binge watch classical music on Youtube!
We’re looking forward to this all subsiding very quickly and seeing you at the opera soon! However, let’s keep in mind that the aftermath will most likely linger for a while and many of our friends, colleagues, and favorite artists will need a little love.
If you’re an artist, get in touch with your network or alumni association
We’ve seen some wonderful support offered by institutions such as Des Moines Metro Opera and Seagle Music Colony. Now is the time to connect with other artists and mentors to talk about concerns and the way forward. Because, no doubt, there will be a way forward very soon.
We’re looking forward to this all subsiding very quickly and seeing you at the opera! However, let’s keep in mind that the aftermath will most likely linger for a while and many of our friends, colleagues, and favorite artists will need a little love. And we’re all in this together!
Stay healthy and happy!