Modular Opera Project premieres with a modern take on Francis Poulenc’s one-act opera La voix humaine
In its debut performance, Helios Opera, a newly formed opera company driven by its mission to use sustainable, business-minded practices to bring opera into the future, premieres a new virtual opera through its Modular Opera Project (MOP) initiative. MOP was created to offer performing artists the opportunity to produce one-act virtual operas online, despite performance limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MOP’s first performance, a modern take on Francis Poulenc and Jean Cocteau’s one-act opera La voix humaine (The Human Voice), debuts virtually on Friday, August 14, 7:30 pm (EDT) at heliosopera.com/mop, admission is free.
La voix humaine is directed by Helios’s Founding Artistic Director Adrienne Boris, and features soprano Théodora Cottarel in the role of Elle, with Celeste Marie Johnson as collaborative pianist. It is produced, filmed, and edited by Julien Rohel, with audio production by Ken Silber of Silken Audio.
MOP is Helios’s founders’ brainchild, created to improve the limitations challenging performing artists in their ability to rehearse and perform live during the COVID-19 pandemic. After La voix humaine, the initiative’s premiere production, select performing artists will be hired to create their own virtual works remotely, receiving audio-visual training, professional equipment, marketing support, and artistic consultation from Helios Opera. The project is supported in part by Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative.
“Modular Opera Project is the ideal launching pad for Helios as a company,” shares Théodora Cottarel, the company’s Founding General Director. “Helios was conceived as an innovative, flexible arts company in conversation with the needs of the contemporary world, parallel to start-ups in any other field. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we embraced the opportunity to create a new model, allowing opera performance to continue despite pandemic challenges, and delivering agency back into the hands of young artists.”
Co-Founder and Business Advisor Julien Rohel adds, “In order for opera to successfully transition online, we realized the need for an elevated value proposition – to provide our audience with unique, high-quality productions that could be created under modern day constraints, including small budgets, social distancing requirements and short timelines. We are committed to making this initiative replicable and modular, allowing artists to perform from home by applying our process and the many lessons we’ve learned along the way.”
La voix humaine follows the story of Elle, a woman alone, exhausted and trapped, struggling to connect. In her way stands not only faulty technology but also interpersonal misunderstanding and miscommunication, alongside her own encroaching depression. As much as she detests the limits of the communication device in her hands, she knows she would be lost without it, as the only device tethering her to the person she cares most about and, ultimately, to reality.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the MOP team recognized inevitable parallels between Poulenc and Cocteau’s original 1958 monodrama and today’s contemporary reality. Stage Director Adrienne Boris has updated the production to a present day setting.
Boris elaborates on the piece’s contemporary resonance, noting, “The pandemic has only increased our dependency on technology. We feel grateful for its existence and look to calls, texting, and social networking as a link to the communities we have left behind. At the same time, we resent it for being no substitute for real, in-person interaction. During this pandemic, many either feel isolated or suffocated by those with whom they are quarantined, remain in abusive relationships, or are unable to receive adequate mental health care. In all of these ways, Elle’s struggles mirror our own.”
Admission to La voix humaine is free. To reserve a ticket, visit heliosopera.com/mop.
Helios Opera was founded in 2020 by Artistic Director Adrienne Boris, General Director Théodora Cottarel and Business Advisor Julien Rohel. The company aims to bring opera into the future by creating sustainable, business-minded practices designed to engage a modern and diverse audience. It strives to provide rewarding performance opportunities and career support to talented emerging professional artists, and to make a positive socio-political impact through education and outreach. For more information, visit heliosopera.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow Helios Opera on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Helios Opera
Helios Opera aims to bring opera into the future by creating sustainable, business-minded practices designed to engage a modern and diverse audience. It strives to provide rewarding performance opportunities and career support to talented emerging professional artists and to make a positive socio-political impact through education and outreach. For more information, visit heliosopera.com, email email@example.com, or follow Helios Opera on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Modular Opera Project
Modular Opera Project (MOP), an initiative of Helios Opera, was created to address the current inability of artists to rehearse and perform live during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering select performing artists the opportunity to produce one-act operas digitally in their own homes. MOP seeks to empower artists to create their own virtual works remotely by providing audio-visual training, professional equipment, marketing support, and artistic consultation from Helios Opera. Additional support for MOP is provided in part by the Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative. For more information, visit heliosopera.com/mop or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In light of sustained disruption due to the Covid-19 crisis, Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (CCCMF) announces that its 2020 summer season as Cape Cod’s premiere presenter of summer chamber music will be held as a three-part virtual experience, extending its reach beyond Cape audiences. All live in-person performances are cancelled this season to best serve the safety and welfare of its performing artists, staff and audiences. The Festival celebrates its 41st season in 2020, programmed and presented by Artistic Directors Jon Nakamatsu and Jon Manasse and Executive Director Elaine Lipton.
“This year, more than ever, we hope music lovers everywhere will join us from the safety of their homes to once again celebrate the beauty of chamber music,” shares Jon Nakamatsu, CCCMF Co-Artistic Director. “Although a virtual season looks much different than prior years, we still look forward to celebrating with our audiences and growing them in the online arena.” The Festival plans to resume in-person live performances in 2021.
For its first-ever virtual season, the celebration in three parts begins with Artistic Directors Manasse and Nakamatsu, who will curate three hour-long audio programs, in the style of the beloved “radio show,” including archived performances spanning the 40-year history of the Festival. The shows will broadcast on each of the first three Tuesdays in August during each of the weeks the season usually is held. The audio programs will be streamed on CCCMF’s website and will be available without charge to the general public, and may also be broadcast on regional radio stations (to be announced).
Manasse and Nakamatsu will also create a video event featuring guest musicians which will also stream for free throughout the Festival’s month-long season in August on the Festival website and other online platforms.
The two artistic directors will also undertake a series of high-quality audio/video recording sessions featuring a small group of fellow musicians. This original content will be released in the future.
“These challenging times also present new opportunities, in that we are navigating a new way for us to share world-quality chamber music with world-wide audiences,” shares Jon Manasse. “We are excited about the potential of the quality and reach of this new virtual celebration.”
Exploring the virtual festival brings its own challenges to CCCMF. “Ticket sales alone cannot cover anywhere near our operating budget,” shares Executive Director Elaine Lipton. “With no ticket revenue at all this season, we are hopeful that our dedicated fans will understand that their financial participation is essential to our organization’s continued success.” She hopes that many devoted fans will make contributions and notes that there are opportunities for underwriting the virtual season events as well.
CCCMF’s Board has been hard at work creating these unprecedented options to the Festival’s traditional late summer season. “While we understand the unpredictable nature of our situation, we also know music and live performance have the ability to heal and fortify us all,” shares Manasse. “Our one guarantee is that we will make music for our supporters and audiences this summer, you can count on it!”
For more information about Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival’s 2020 season, visit capecodchambermusic.org, or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook and Instagram.
About the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival
Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival was founded in 1979 by the late Samuel Sanders, a gifted pianist and accompanist to Itzhak Perlman for thirty years. Sanders’ goal was to establish a continuous presence of first-rate chamber music concerts on Cape Cod. As the Festival celebrates four decades, it excels under the leadership of its Artistic Directors, the team of Jon Manasse (clarinetist) and Jon Nakamatsu (pianist), both acclaimed musicians who represent the top ranks of American chamber music as a duo and as individual artists. The artistic directors work closely with Executive Director Elaine Lipton, along with the help of an active Board and more than 60 local volunteers, to bring a stellar mosaic of talent to the Cape. In addition to its annual summer season of 12 concerts, community and school outreach programs and an annual benefit in New York, it partners with local cultural organizations for educational programs and fundraising.
The Festival continues Sam Sanders’ tradition of showcasing emerging talent by presenting accomplished musicians early in their careers. Over the years this has included such famed musicians as Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, the Parker Quartet and the Jupiter Quartet, among others. Programming spans the 17th to 21st centuries, with periodic commissions from such composers as John Corigliano, William Bolcom, Osvaldo Golijov and Paquito D’Rivera. The Festival owns several quality grand pianos housed at its Cotuit, Chatham and Wellfleet venues, utilized year-round by community members and other arts organizations.
CCCMF traditionally presents the finest classical and contemporary music by both world-class ensembles and exceptional young, emerging artists to Cape Cod audiences, developing new and younger audiences for chamber music. It commissions new chamber works whenever possible and provides educational activities and programs that encourage, broaden and deepen the appreciation of the chamber music art form. The Festival has become synonymous with great chamber music at the height of the tourist season on the Cape. Outreach programs have served students in the Barnstable, Chatham and Nauset school districts and at the May Center in Chatham, as well as the residents of Thirwood Place in Yarmouth and the Riverview School in Sandwich.
Hailed by The New York Times as “A Triumph of Quality,” the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (CCCMF) has been a year-round presenter of chamber music and a major contributor to the cultural life of Cape Cod since its inception in 1979. Founded as the Cape & Islands Chamber Music Festival by the late collaborative pianist Samuel Sanders, the Festival continues his legacy. Now entering its 41st season CCCMF presents four weeks of intensive chamber music programming in a variety of Cape locations in August. Throughout the rest of the year CCCMF presents autumn and spring concerts, a community outreach program, and benefit concerts in New York and on Cape Cod. Hoping to ignite the interest of a younger audience CCCMF welcomes all youth up to age 18 to attend any regular concert free of charge. CCCMF is a private, non-profit organization supported by a volunteer Board of Directors with financial support from individuals, corporations, and foundations both local and nationwide. For more information about CCCMF’s programs, visit capecodchambermusic.org, call 508-247-9400 or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook and Instagram.