Although the Covid19 pandemic forced El Paso Opera to cancel its spring productions in March, the organization came up with an innovative way to keep the music alive: bring opera to the streets and parks of El Paso. Throughout the summer, they are offering Curbside Concerts where opera singers perform on the back of a company truck in public spaces and at private residences, allowing listeners to keep a safe distance from the performers. Arianne Marcee, executive director, spoke to Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin on a recorded Zoom call about these pop-up events, which began as a way for the company to check in on its donors and which ended up going public.
At a recent park performance, Marcee said, “We turned on the music, [the singers] started singing, and people came from over the hill and sat down – from all over the park they were drawn over and were able to join us.” Marcee said that one listener who had recently had surgery was unable to leave his house. “But when he and his family discovered they could come to us and stay in the car, they were so excited because it gave him something to leave the house for, something he was able to do.” The company even brought their truck to sing to an 11-year-old for her birthday. The project has brought new listeners to the art form and to their organization. “We’ve been able to reach out and touch people who didn’t know we were here before," Marcee said.
Performances are typically on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, and El Paso Opera sends out a weekly email that announces where the singers will perform that week. For more information or to sign up for the emails, you can find them at epopera.org. You can hear the entire KRWG interview here:
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