Opera Steamboat reschedules summer festival | SteamboatToday.com

Opera Steamboat reschedules summer festival

Members of Opera Steamboat perform "Frida" during the 2019 Summer Festival. Due to COVID-19, the organization has postponed this year's festival to 2022.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Opera Steamboat has announced plans to reschedule its annual summer festival until summer 2022.

“We had to make a difficult decision during this time,” said Melodie Querry, executive director of Opera Steamboat. “Ultimately, we decided to postpone our summer festival until 2022, since we already have a line up for 2021 at this point.”

The decision was based on two factors: safety and the lack of housing for participants at this time.

“We have singers, performers, coaches flying in from all over the country to participate in our summer festival,” Querry said, “and our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of everyone. Plus, we have no idea what kinds of restrictions will be in place during that time.”

The festival corresponds with the Opera Artist Institute, which brings young opera hopefuls to Steamboat each summer for four weeks of studying with professionals, honing their craft and rehearsing three operas, which are then performed for the Steamboat community at the end of the summer. This program has also been rescheduled.

Performances for this summer were slated to be “Three Feathers” by Lori Laitman, “Company” by Stephen Sondheim and “Ariadne auf Naxos” by Richard Strauss.

“We felt that it was better to make this decision early on,” said Andres Cladera, artistic director of Opera Steamboat. “Hopefully, people have time to make other plans, and their contracts will still carry over to 2022 when the time is right.”

But opera won’t disappear from Steamboat all together. The organization is launching two new online programs in the meantime.

The first, “Real Life Opera,” is targeted at young artists who are hoping to become professionals. Much like the Opera Artist Institute, this two-week program will provide coaching, voice lessons and seminars with advice from current professionals, such as the artistic director of the Cincinnati Opera. Topics include how to manage being a professional during and after COVID-19, how to market to professional orchestras and how to optimize your website.

“We wanted to do something that could help young artists who would normally come to our summer program,” Cladera explained. “Many of these artists are trying to tap into the professional world, and this is an extremely difficult time to do that. Hopefully, these courses and seminars offer good information that they might not get in their typical schooling.”

The second program, “Tailored to Your Voice,” is for those who might not be interested in a professional career but are still looking to improve their voice. The two-week program will provide online coaching and voice lessons with professionals. And it’s not just for opera or classical — any genre is welcome.

“We saw a demographic earlier this year when we did our Voices of Steamboat competition,” Cladera said. “There are a lot of great singers out there who just want to do it for fun and maybe work to improve along the way. So many people are home now and are looking for things to do, so hopefully, this will bring them a little bit of joy during this time.”

And soon enough, opera will return once again to Steamboat.

“We have two operas lined up for whenever it’s safe for people to come out and be together again,” Querry said of plans to present “The Barber of Seville” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.” “We are hopeful that we can do them in the fall, but we’ll do it just as soon as we can.”

Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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