David Hyde Pierce, Jamie Barton and Anthony Roth Costanzo To Headline OPERA JUKEBOX Fundraiser
On Saturday, May 30, David Hyde Pierce will emcee an Artist Relief Tree (ART) benefit, joined by seven world-class opera singers for Opera Jukebox, an innovative and interactive concert streaming on Facebook, YouTube, and the ART website.
"The great mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade once observed that music is 'the art form closest to prayer,'" said Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor David Hyde Pierce. "Our world could use some good prayers right now and the Artist Relief Tree is helping ensure that those prayers keep getting sung."
Opera Jukebox will give digital audiences a chance to influence performances by stars fresh from such venues as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Carnegie Hall. Each singer will offer three initial selections, including some non-operatic repertoire, giving viewers a chance to hear their favorite singers in unexpected styles. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo might reprise "Liquid Days" from his critically acclaimed Glass/Handel show - or he might croon Roy Orbison's "Crying" as mezzo Jamie Barton gets into character for her hotly anticipated "Habanera" from Carmen.
The choice will belong to audience members, who will vote with their wallets - the more someone gives, the more their vote will be worth. The benefit's goal is to help ART raise one million dollars toward its grassroots efforts to support artists of any discipline with $250 direct donations. Formed in response to the global COVID-19 health crisis, ART has already given financial aid to more than 1,200 artists worldwide.
"When COVID-19 cancellations started hitting, many lives in our industry were changed overnight," said mezzo Jamie Barton. "I saw colleagues learn on Twitter that half their annual incomes had just evaporated, and I saw others whose church and choral jobs were abruptly put on indefinite pause. While very few people in the field are insulated from these changes, I do feel that we have a responsibility to take care of each other as much as we can. This benefit concert, like each ART grant, is a show of solidarity."
Opera singer Aaron Crouch, a recipient of ART funding, agreed. "I suddenly found myself in a very difficult position when I lost multiple jobs as opera performances around the world were canceled," said Crouch. "The money I received from Artist Relief Tree helped me cover my living expenses and provided me with a sense of hope for the future."
To support Artist Relief Tree and purchase Opera Jukebox votes for performances by Barton and Costanzo, as well as mezzo Sasha Cooke and baritone Kelly Markgraf (performing duets), soprano Leah Crocetto, baritone Will Liverman, and bass Wei Wu, fans can visit artistrelieftree.com/opera. Voting will open Tuesday, May 19, at noon ET and will conclude Monday, May 25, at noon ET. The performances, along with special appearances by opera celebrities, will be streamed on Saturday, May 30.
"The current global health crisis has already had a severe impact on arts and culture, causing many artists to lose economic and social stability," said ART co-founder Morgan Brophy. "We can't forget that the arts help us lead more thoughtful, compassionate, and enjoyable lives. We are mobilizing to support artists now - because in the coming months, the world is really going to need us."
Purchase votes: artistrelieftree.com/opera
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