One of WA’s lockdown gems winds up the COVID year when Couch Opera Live launches its Christmas Special on YouTube at 6pm on Saturday.
Co-founders, sopranos and presenters Magda Lisek and Jillian Halloran have been compiling and editing highlights of opera singers worldwide, from the snowfields of France to the heat of WA summer.
“Instead of opera arias, the concert is filled with popular carols and Christmas songs such as The First Noel, Man with the Bag, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Lisek says.
“We even have wonderful French star baritone Richard Rittelmann joining us. He will be singing Minuit Chretien, or O Holy Night in French!”
Other artists include emerging Australian bass-baritone Christopher Curcuruto, currently with Fort Worth Opera in Texas; German-Australian soprano Anna Voshege, based in Austria; UK-based soprano Isabelle Freeman, who has drawn acclaim in the US; award- winning Australian soprano Livia Brash, currently in Germany; and Tom Green who started in roles such as Chris (Miss Saigon), Bok (Wicked), and Raoul (Phantom of the Opera).
Locals include Lisek, Halleron, and Eimear Foley, and recent returnees soprano Daniella Sicari and mezzo Caitlin Cassidy.
It has been a steep learning curve since the series launched in April, with editing carried out in Perth and the presentation suite literally a couch.
“From editing film to producing a full online concert series, this has been a wonderful and exciting ride!” Lisek says.
“I feel that Jillian and I have seen how greatly COVID-19 has affected all our artist friends and how much they appreciate having a place to sing. Being able to connect with other singers who are in the same position as us, and create a platform on which they can still perform has been truly heartwarming.”
And the journey doesn’t end here, with plans afoot for 2021.
“We plan to continue the online concert series with a season announcement in early 2021,” Lisek says.
“There will be a break over Christmas and the near year … but stay tuned! We will be back, and with a bang at that.”
There’s also a live show, Diary of a Couch Diva, at the Fringe World 2021 Festival in Perth, running from February 9 to 13 at His Majesty’s Dress Circle Bar.
“The show stars myself and Couch Opera Live artist Yann Kee,” Lisek says. “It follows the creation of Couch Opera Live … but not everything goes to plan.”
For more information, donation and updates go to www.couchoperalive.com.