• Last modified 430 days ago (July 15, 2020)


Show must go on for opera

Staff writer

Flint Hills Opera workshop is working to keep its performances as normal as possible, but Randy and Rachel Collett are two former customers who already know they won’t be making the trip.

Randy, as Marion’s economic development director, was heavily involved when the workshop was in Marion two years ago. It is at Chase County High School, but Randy would have felt confident in the ability to maintain social distancing if organizers wanted to hold the camp in Marion.

“We probably would have contemplated going ahead and doing it, but we didn’t have to get to that detail and analysis,” he said.

Precautions like increased hand sanitizer use and twice-daily temperature checks are being used at the camp this year. Social distancing is being practiced but that makes some scenes more difficult, workshop director Martha Sharp said.

“We’re doing some really traditional things like ‘La Bohème,’ and that’s a love scene,” she said. “That’s kind of been my biggest challenge. I told them, ‘You’re just going to have to really act.’ Make it very clear about what you’re doing.”

The camp this year includes eight students, one each from New York, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma, and the rest from Kansas. Where the students came from was a factor, and Sharp had them sign waivers detailing where they had been and who they’d seen leading up to the workshop.

“Auditions were already over, and they had been accepted to the program,” she said. “Yes, I did think about it.”

One student reported possible COVID-19 symptoms and she canceled before leaving for camp, Sharp said.

Sharp maintains that opera is not as likely to transmit COVID-19 as many people think if proper techniques are used.

“People think, ‘If they’re singing out loud they’re pushing it out,’ but no, they’re not,” she said. “In fact, it doesn’t work if you do that. You have to implode. You’re sucking the air in all the time and that resonates in the body.”

One benefit is that the camp isn’t losing much by way of external interaction because so much time already is devoted to practice.

Sharp has received interest from those wanting to attend the workshop’s free performances at 7 p.m. July 17 and 18 at Chase County High School, and maintaining social distancing is the most important precaution.

Last modified July 15, 2020