Live opera set to return in Calgary with performance on Marriott Hotel rooftop patio
Soprano Kathleen Morrison, left, and mezzo-soprano Barbara King, will perform live on Sept. 15 as part of Divas Opera at the Marriott Hotel in Calgary. (Courtesy Divas Opera)
CALGARY -- Live opera will return in Calgary next week, albeit at a slightly different venue than usual.
Soprano Kathleen Morrison and mezzo-soprano Barbara King — who together make up Divas Opera — will take the stage on Tuesday along with pianist Carlos Foggin as part of The Show Must Go On, but instead of an opera hall, they will perform on the rooftop patio at the Marriott hotel in downtown Calgary.
Showtime is 7:15 p.m. and it will also be livestreamed, which will be available here.
It will mark the first time since March that live opera will be performed in the city due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting health restrictions.
Because they will be singing outside, microphones will have to be used, said Morrison.
"We do need a little bit of amplification, just so that all of our guests are going to be able to hear us, and it matches the sort of colour and tone of the electric piano that we have," she said.
The trio will also run a dress rehearsal starting at 2 p.m. Sunday on the front lawn of the Calgary Piano House in Okotoks. Admission there is by donation with a suggestion of $15.
Divas Opera was set to begin a four-show tour of Alberta days before the pandemic forced the performing arts industry — and many businesses — to shut down in mid-March.
The pair was supposed to perform in Lethbridge and High River on March 12 and 13, followed by a visit to the Waterton Opera House and then Camrose.
It wasn't until July that they were given clearance by health officials to perform live again, but it would have to be outdoors. As soon as that word came down, they began preparing for next week's show, said Morrison, who has performed around the world.
"It's kind of weird because we haven't been able to do anything since March, we haven't been able to be in front of an audience and feel that energy and connection," she said.
"It's a little nerve-wracking to be honest because it feels new again, and for Barb and I, who have been in this business a long time, it's pretty exciting to be in front of a live audience and feel that."
Along with a difference in venue, the show itself will be somewhat unique, she added.
To keep themselves singing during the lockdown, the pair did what Morrison calls "physically distant duets," where they each recorded a part, which were combined together and released as a video.
"We're going to be performing those duets live," she said. "The show must go on so we have those duets live, we're bringing back different solo pieces from opera, we have musical theatre, we have a pop medley, so it's a really varied concert.
"I would say this is more like a highlight concert. We've split the concert into different sections."
There are 100 tickets available for Tuesday's show and Morrison said there are about a dozen remaining. Tickets must be bought as single cohorts, with a maximum of six at a table. The performers will remain at least four metres away from the audience, and tables will be spaced at least two metres apart.