Wrapping up the Free Concert Series’ 2019/2020 Season
By Dorian Cox
Today I would have been sitting on the steps of the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre listening to the brilliant Austrian violinist, Wolfgang David, and the equally brilliant Japanese pianist, Takeshi Kakehashi, who has been blind since birth. This would have been our 73rd and final concert of the season but, instead of sharing in this moment of celebration and jubilation, I find myself at home, writing this message to you.
Music has always brought us together for meaningful shared experiences. As COVID-19 has radically transformed our lives, I have been humbled and amazed by the inventive ways artists have kept us connected while we are physically separated.
Over the past 11 weeks, we have continued to highlight the artists of the Free Concert Series. Alongside recordings from past live performances, we have also shared some new mini-performances that were created just for you. You can find these on our social media channels, as well as at the Canadian Opera Company’s newly launched Digital Content Hub, a one-stop-shop for all of our online initiatives. And to keep up to date with all the latest COC news, I encourage you to sign up for our monthly newsletter, eOpera, if you haven't done so already. Since this is the final Free Concert Series notice of the season, eOpera will be your best way to stay in touch with us by email throughout the spring and summer.
The Hub hosts an array of featured content including performances by Free Concert Series artists like the Fethi Nadjem Trio, the Glenn Gould School Piano Studio, and pianist Liz Upchurch with clarinetist Dominic Desautels. There’s also clips from favourite COC productions, programming for young people, and an invitation to sing along (or bang a pot, like I did!) to Verdi's famous "Anvil Chorus" as part of our community Virtual Choir.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me many lessons – like how to work with enriched yeasted dough or the value of a quiet outdoor space. It has also painfully reminded me of things I had taken for granted before and renewed my appreciation for healthcare and essential workers who are working tirelessly to keep us healthy and safe.
I have been thinking a lot about the arts in this time. During the most significant moments in our lives, music and song is always present. There is a reason it accompanies every birthday, funeral, wedding, or march into battle. As our society faces this crisis, the arts have remained there to keep us company. For the soul, art is essential.
Thank you again for valuing the arts and supporting us this season, whether it was by coming to one of our concerts, telling a friend, or making a donation. I look forward to seeing you in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre as soon as it is safe to do so. Together, we can ensure the music continues, no matter what challenges we face.
The Canadian Opera Company and other arts organizations in Toronto are facing unprecedented financial challenges due to the effects of COVID-19. If it is possible for you at this time, we respectfully ask you to consider making a donation.