(Saratoga Springs, New York): In response to the ongoing restrictions on performances and public gatherings due to COVID-19, Opera Saratoga today launches a new, integrated series of online programs, OPERA SARATOGA: CONNECT! The combination of free and paid activities provide a wide variety of opportunities for local opera lovers of all ages, as well as Opera Saratoga's national and international followers, to enjoy diverse content created specifically for online engagement.
Opera Saratoga's focus in this initiative is to create new content rather than streaming past performances. "We have decided to launch programs for our audiences that have been created specifically for the way people engage online," explains Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director, Lawrence Edelson, "producing a combination of newly created video performances for social media, as well as new opportunities to enjoy and learn about opera that are more interactive. Opera Saratoga has always focused on building community. OPERA SARATOGA: CONNECT! was designed to allow us to do just that - connect digitally with our community. Each element of this initiative allows audiences to enjoy opera, classical vocal music, and musical theater in a different way, from short videos released every day throughout the summer featuring members of our Festival Artist program, to interactive trivia games, classes, and symposia, featuring guests from around the globe."
Most of the programs that are a part of OPERA SARATOGA: CONNECT! are free, but there are also some classes being offered that have a modest tuition fee, with scholarships available for those financially impacted by COVID-19. "While we consider it an important service to the community to provide everyone with free access to exciting digital content," says Edelson, "we also have to consider the sustainability of these initiatives. Just like we have traditionally offered a combination of free and ticketed live performances, as we turn our focus more robustly to the digital space, we need to find the right balance. Digital experiences are not meant to be a replacement for live performance, but the current situation has provided us with a catalyst to experiment, and to expand the ways we serve our community and continue sharing our love of opera."
Complete details about each of the six programs as part of OPERA SARATOGA: CONNECT! (Connect! Mentorship; Connect! Daily; Connect! Trivia; Connect! Kids; Connect! Classes; and Connect! Symposia) may be found online at www.operasaratoga.org/connect
OPERA SARATOGA: CONNECT! MENTORSHIP Opera Saratoga is home of the second oldest young artist program in the country, with alumni singing around the world. Laurie Rogers, Director of the Young Artist Program and Head of Music Staff, works closely with Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson to customize assignments for each artist in the program based on their unique talents and individual stage of development. Each Summer, Festival Artists from the program are also prominently featured in each opera production, and perform in a wide variety of concerts and master classes.
This summer, Opera Saratoga has shifted its mentorship of emerging singers, pianists, conductors, and directors online in response to COVID-19. For ten weeks, from early June through mid-August, 32 artists ( www.operasaratoga.org/2020-young-artists ) will participate in a tuition-free online program, OPERA SARATOGA: CONNECT! MENTORSHIP, which includes private coaching, master classes, and professional development seminars. Core faculty will include Rogers and Edelson, along with music staff Brian DeMaris, Djordje Nesic, and Dean Williamson.