College Light Opera Company, Cape Cpd Chamber Music Festival plan ambitious online offerings
CAPE COD TIMES – The first Cape Cod theater to cancel its entire summer season has come back with the area’s most ambitious virtual schedule, while a classical-music summer staple is also moving online.
Starting June 30, the Falmouth-based College Light Opera Company will present 81 free, largely preproduced performances, talks and classes via Facebook Live.
“Digital CLOC” will offer new episodes of nine different shows weekly through Aug. 30 — mirroring the length of the season the group would have produced musicals at Highfield Theatre before coronavirus concerns forced cancellation in April.
What executive and artistic director Mark Pearson called a “reimagining” of CLOC will revolve around its educational mission, with 61 college-age students working with teachers online from their homes around the country on projects involving theater, music and design. The 45- to 60-minute Facebook shows will be a mix of the results of those lessons plus talks with and performances by alumni and theater professionals.
“It’s not CLOC, it’s not a substitute for live entertainment or live theater, but it’s … a lot of good work we can do,” Pearson said Monday. “I hope that folks will … enjoy it and join in with the students and interact” in a way that’s possible until live theater can return.
At the other end of the Cape, the Eastham-based Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival is also sticking to its original dates, in August, for producing free virtual shows to replace its usual 12 in-person performances and various outreach programs.
The “celebration in three parts” will involve artistic directors Jon Manasse and Jon Nakamatsu curating three hourlong audio programs in a radio-show style that an announcement said would include archived performances from the festival’s 40-year history. The shows will be streamed on the festival website on the first three Tuesdays in August — the weeks the season usually is held in Cotuit, Chatham and Wellfleet — and may also be broadcast on radio stations.
The directors will create another free video event featuring guest musicians in August, and audio-video recording sessions with a small group of musicians will be released in the future.
Officials at the music festival and theater company choose to look at the virtual options required by the pandemic as a way to build audiences with lovers of culture who might not typically be able to visit Cape Cod. Because all events are free, officials also hope donors near and far will support both organizations, which will have no ticket revenue this year.
“These challenging times … present new opportunities, in that we are navigating a new way for us to share world-quality chamber music with worldwide audiences,” said Manasse, a clarinetist, in announcing the season. Nakamatsu, a pianist, noted, “We still look forward to celebrating with our audiences and growing them in the online arena.”
CLOC seeks to raise $300,000 through donations this summer, with gifts connected to the programming, including Zoom appearances on the shows, as incentives.
In its 52nd year, CLOC is described as the largest resident theater company in the country, with dozens of college-age students usually living together and performing nightly. More than 80% of 2020 students, who are guaranteed 2021 spots, signed on for the virtual projects.
With four editors hired to create the videos, three of the Facebook shows will combine work from master classes for the singers (“Main Stage,” Tuesdays), musicians (“2nd Stage,” Sundays) and designers (“Back Stage,” Wednesdays), while “CLOC Werk” (Saturdays) will show joint projects. “Dance Around the CLOC” (Thursdays) will be a choreographer’s at-home dance lessons and “Behind the Scenes” (Wednesdays) a design tour with production manager-technical director Kristin Knutsen.
“On the CLOC” (Tuesdays) will be a lecture series, “Off the CLOC (Fridays), talkbacks with staff and alumni about their careers, and “CLOC Tails,” a happy-hour event Thursdays with alumni sharing house concerts and stories. Broadway veterans are due to guest on some shows.
“Digital CLOC” shows will be archived on the CLOC website, and officials hope some will be shown on community television.
By Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll