The show must go on: Syracuse Opera prepares for “The Impresario”

Syracuse Opera prepares for “The Impresario”

Syracuse Opera rehearses and recovers from the COVID-19 shutdown
Published: October 27, 2021
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Actors from the Syracuse Opera rehearse a scene from "The Impresario"

Actors at the Syracuse Opera are getting ready to head back to in-person performances for the first time after COVID-19 canceled or put performances online. Starring sopranos Emily Misch and Julia Ebner as well as Spencer Hamlin, Keith Harris, and Michael Connor, The Impresario promises lots of laughter and a much-needed break from the reality of COVID-19.

Composed in the 18th century by Mozart, The Impresario is a comedy that revolves around the manager, or impresario, of a stage company who must put together a group of actors and deal with rivalry and prima donna behavior in a hilarious, high-strung setting. According to the opera’s director and choreographer, Paul Mockovak, it’s a great way for first-time opera-goers to explore the arts and to escape COVID-19’s devastation.

“What I find attractive and challenging with this particular libretto is the story, as there is a lot of text is to keep it alive,” said Mockovak. “I want us to be engaged as an audience with hearing the text and hearing the story that is being told, as well as [listening to] the beautiful music that Mr. Mozart composed.”

Many of the opera singers featured in the show have extensive backgrounds in companies around the US and other parts of the world. While the pandemic placed in-person shows on hold, Syracuse Opera’s conductor Christian Capocaccia decided against hosting any virtual performances and focused on future in-person shows. This gave him more time for his family.


Rehearsing a scene from The Impresario
Singers rehearsing
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“I really took the chance to get time to completely stay at home with my son, for the first time in many years,” said Capocaccia. “I don’t want this to sound bad, I’m not in any way diminishing the tragedy but personally, he gave me some of the most amazing times of my life.”

For other actors within the company, the lockdown provided various opportunities for online performances. But even the comforts of home didn’t mean it was free from distractions such as technical glitches or interruptions. That was something that tenor Spencer Hamlin discovered while recording “Carmen” from his home in Connecticut.

“My partner has a big fish tank that has a filter that runs,” Hamlin said. “I sent a sound check of just like me doing it [Carmen]. And my friend said, ‘Okay, that sounds much better.’ So I recorded almost everything, sent it to him. And he said, ‘As soon as I turned up the volume to mix it with everybody, all I can hear is the bubbles.”

Singer Emily Misch also had her fair share of virtual performances during the pandemic. Most of her shows were canceled over the past year due to the pandemic, so she put on her own virtual productions from home with the help of a director friend.

“That ended up being a very fun pandemic project that we’re actually still keeping going,” said Misch. “It was fun to be able to be creative in a bit of a different way when our normal outlet was sort of taken away for a while.”

The Impresario will be playing at the Redhouse Arts Center from Oct. 29-31. Tickets are currently on sale through the Syracuse Opera website.