Bay Area performers are still entertaining fans during the pandemic
In any live performance, it may be someone's 'art' that brings strangers together, for a shared experience.
We sit shoulder to shoulder with people, we may otherwise never meet.
Although coronavirus restrictions are preventing audiences to gather inside entertainment venues right now, many artists and arts organizations are still finding ways to get their work out.
KTVU anchor Gasia Mikaelian talked to some Bay Area performers as part of a special Zip Trip.
Like virtually all performing arts organizations, the San Francisco Ballet was forced to cancel its season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dancers are now making do -- at home.
The Ballet is also opening up its treasure trove of recorded performances, and putting them online for the public to enjoy.
It's definitely been a big change. I've been taking class in my bedroom, trying to work out as much as I can in these circumstances" said Joseph Walsh, principal dancer, San Francisco Ballet. "But as I’ve said, it's like we can feel safe coming back to work, knowing that our city has kind of taken these preautions. In that sense, we are also getting to reach a larger audience, with all these streams we’re putting out, SF Ballet @ home, and seeing that greater community we would not normally see is really pretty important right now," said Sasha De Sola, principal dancer, San Francisco Ballet.
The artistic director of San Francisco Ballet is putting everything he has into getting dancers back on the stage, and in front of an audience.
“This is just like nothing ever before, and that's what makes it so challenging," said Helgi Tomasson, artistic director, San Francisco Ballet. "How do we come out of it, and safe and healthy, and with an audience that feels safe, coming into the theater to watch us again."
"It's something that we are struggling with. We will find a way.”
San Francisco Opera also had to cancel its season, and is offering performances online -- for free.
Singers are also also putting more intimate performaces online, in a series called 'Ode to joy:"
“Artists are wanting to connect with people, and right now, being online and connecting through these recordings is such a wonderful way to express our gratitude for everyone who wants to listen and perhaps engaging with new audiences," said Simone McIntosh, San Francisco Opera.
San Francisco Symphony is also increasing its virtual offerings, including a tribute to its longtime music director, Michael Tilson Thomas, who is stepping aside after 25 years:
The pandemic forced the sudden cancellation of the symphony's season, and a world tour in M.T.T.'s honor.
“It was very sad not to be able to go to Europe, and share the music with everybody, but most of all, all the regular performing with my colleagues and patrons, and making music together, and bringing the music to everybody who loves to listen to it," said Scott Pingel, principal bass, San Francisco Symphony.
“The way we like to spend our time is playing music for people, for audiences," said Barbara Bogatin, cellist, San Francisco Symphony. "and not to be able to play fo them, we practice at home. We do some videos that we, with sometimes with colleagues remotely, sometimes with clones of ourselves on split screens. But it’s really not the same as connecting with our audience. It’s been very hard.”
KTVU has assembled a long list of performances from these organizations.
San Francisco Symphony's 'Keeping Score' series
MTT25: An American Icon – a tribute to Michael Tilson Thomas
San Francisco Opera - La Cenerentola on July 18 and The Makropulos Case on July 25
Metropolitan Opera nightly stream of past productions
Meantime, viewers may have heard Gasia Mikaelian say how much she loves the performing arts.
Below, you can click to an article in which Gasia talks about her dad taking her and her sister to their first opera, back when they were a little too young to understand what was happening on stage, yet the performance still sparked a love of opera for her, decades later.