Rhumi Maher, Kofi Hayford, Viktoriya Koreneva Launch Curio Arts

By David Salazar

Curio Arts launched an inaugural concert event on Oct. 25, 2020 at the Norwood Club in New York City.

The organization was founded by Rhumi Maher, bass Kofi Hayford, and mezzo-soprano Viktoriya Koreneva in response to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presents to artists all over the city.

“In this dire economic state, so many artists are struggling to fund the production of their work and lack a platform for their voices, so we dreamt one up and Curio Arts was born,” Maher, who is the President Chairman of Curio Arts, told OperaWire. “Additionally, we recognized that the arts community in New York City is eager to support the arts, so we decided to feed two birds with one scone by building a system of arts patronage within our organizational activities.”

The organization’s plan is to present several live performances, all with a limit of 15 audience members per showcase, which will be filmed and distributed online to a larger community. The organization is partnering with Figure 8 Recording Studio for these audiovisual projects.

“We are currently fundraising to build our online platform and its digital contents as well as for the conversion of our bus into a mobile stage,” Maher added. “In this way, no matter what happens this winter and throughout the range of pandemic shutdown possibilities, Curio Arts will be able to safely bring live performance to the streets of New York City.  Until then, we will be focusing on the digital memorialization of our exclusive programming for all to enjoy online.”

The event on Oct. 25 featured a performance with such artists as tenor Errin Brooks, soprano Maria Brea, soprano Anastasiya Roytman, Hayford, and Koreneva presenting arias and ensembles by Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Gounod, Cilea, Rachmaninoff, and Kern, among others. There was also a surprise performance by soprano Kirsten Chambers who presented “Suicidio” from Ponchielli’s “La Gioconda.” Keith Chambers and Colby Charnin.

“Singing on Sunday felt like seeing a dear old friend who disappeared unexpectedly for months and finally reappeared. Counterintuitively, I felt more connected with the music and the character than before COVID, and whether that’s due to a renewed appreciation for making live music or artistic growth is hard to know. I felt a true connection with our audience who was most certainly starved for live operatic singing,” Hayford concluded.