Organizing an online opera (2013)

I created the experimental company Opera Connect, which brought singers from across the world together to rehearse and perform entirely online. Opera Connect started as idle chatter one day between several members of the #operarox community on Twitter. They lamented the fact that distance prevented them from singing together and mused about the possibility of performing together online.

The company rehearsed and performed using Google+ multi-way chatting, which can be private (for rehearsals) or publically broadcast and saved to YouTube (for performances). Our performance was shared for free online, both live and after the fact.

Our inaugural performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas took place on 8 December 2013. The recording can be heard online at www.youtube.com/user/operaconnect. The production was funded by a grant from Awesome Without Borders.

While we are unsure how many people watched our performance, our innovative approach generated some media interest. I was asked to write about it for the Gates-Cambridge blog (cross-posted on the Huffington Post) and was interviewed on the radio station Cambridge 105.

Our cast: Naomi Woo (accompanist), Corinne Rydman (Dido), Dylan Hayden (Aeneas), Judith Lebiez (Second Woman / First Enchantress), Ilana Walder-Biesanz (Sorceress), Chen Chi-Wang (Spirit / Second Enchantress), Valerie Demma (Belinda) and Matt Prast (Sailor).