Opera San José Announces New Digital Performance Space to Stream Fully-Produced Opera

By Chris Ruel

Opera San José has announced plans to create the Fred Heiman Digital Media Studio, a state-of-the-art performance space housed within Opera San José headquarters in Northern California.

The project demonstrates OSJ’s commitment to presenting the first half of its 2020 – 21 season while safeguarding audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by Opera San José trustee Peggy Heiman in honor of her late husband Fred Heiman, a devoted supporter of OSJ, the Studio will showcase the company’s 2020 – 21 Resident Artists with concerts, recitals, in-conversation events, master classes, and artist meet and greets in addition to fully-produced opera.

The Media Studio will enable the company to stream high-quality, fully-produced operatic performances into the homes of patrons beginning on July 11th with Robert Schumann’s song cycle, “Dichterliebe.” The recital features Resident Artist baritone Eugene Brancoveanu and Resident Artist conductor Christopher Ray on the piano.

“With this new space we will be able to safely perform smaller-scale operas with theatrical lighting, sets, and appropriate musical accompaniment, utilizing state-of-the-art cameras and audio equipment to create works that can be enjoyed by at-home audiences,” said Opera San José General Director Khori Dastoor in a press release. “This thrilling new venture will enable us to continue our work as an incubator for emerging artists and producer of accessible, world-class operatic performances while maintaining mitigation efforts to avoid the spread of COVID-19.”

The company anticipates rescheduling much of its fall season. A new performance schedule will be forthcoming once dates are secured and it becomes safe to reopen the California Theatre under Santa Clara County guidelines. OSJ’s 2020 – 21 season lineup features Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” Bizet’s “Carmen,” Strauss’ “Salome,” and Bernstein and Sondheim’s “West Side Story.”