It was fun to be back at work after 6 months away. What can I say, only that I feel incredibly privileged to have the job that I do. That I had the chance to sing with the choir and orchestra at OBV in Gent Opera House during the corona crisis in 2020. Very few performers will have had any opportunities this year, which made me savour this small project even more. It was strange having to adapt to all the safety measures, but I did feel very safe while working. The orchestra were spread out from each other on the theatre stage, while us chorus members were sat in the stalls 3-5 meters apart from the next nearest colleague. We also had to sing with face masks on, which, I doubt I will ever get used to.
Franz Joseph Haydn: "Sie raises herauf, die Sonne" from Die Jahreszeiten
Henry Purcell: "When I am laid in earth" & With drooping winds "from Dido and Aeneas
Giacomo Puccini: "Zoemkoor" from Madama Butterfly
Claudio Monteverdi: opening bars from Orfeo (only for parade orchestra: adaptation by Steven Prengels)
The idea of the project was to record a backing track that can be used later for live musicians to be able to perform along to for the parade performances planned for October. These performances will be open air, and moving through the streets in Antwerp and Gent. So it would be very easy for the live musicians to lose contact with each other in these circumstances, but with the recordings, it will make it easier for the performers, and also for the audience to hear a pre-mixed balance of audio.
The Comfort Parade is an open-air performance by Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, directed by filmmaker Lukas Dhont and theatre maker Dounia Mahammed. Exceptional times call for exceptional forms and gestures. This parade is, therefore, neither an opera, a ballet, a film or a play. But De Troostparade will certainly spark astonishment and aims to provide comfort where comfort is needed. It is a pageant of beauty that gently glides by.
During the Comfort Parade, favourites from the opera repertoire will be played by our orchestra, alternated with brand-new compositions by Steven Prengels. Singers from the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Chorus, Children's Chorus and Young Ensemble will sing and play. Dancers from our company will perform a choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui about having to keep distance, by necessity.
With masses of beauty and in accordance with all safety regulations, the artists of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen will move at walking pace through the streets of Flanders this autumn.
ANTWERP - 25th October 2020
GENT - 31st October 2020
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.