What is Opera on the Verge?
Opera on the Verge is a YouTube channel about opera and the life of an opera singer, created as an extension of the blog called Soprano on the Verge. Through these two online mediums, I would like to help move the discussion surrounding opera beyond simple aesthetic appreciation, that is, beyond the hallmark of most "opera popularizing" discourse. Along with that, I would like both my YouTube channel and my blog to convey important lessons to younger singers who have, like me, entered the opera industry without a roadmap. Some questions which inspire my work are: What does opera teach us about the past and present? What parallels can we draw between opera and today's popular entertainment? Can opera exist on the verge or has it always been an affirmation of that which we consider "the establishment"? How do we continue to appreciate opera on a dying planet?
Who are you to teach people about opera?
The introductory video to Opera on the Verge is the answer to this question. This was my very first YouTube video which I wrote, shot, and edited. Think of what I'll be able to do with actual filming and editing technique!
You can also go to my professional website, emakatrovas.com, to learn about me as a singer.
Why does every ticket holder get the same thing, no matter where they sit?!
Did you know it was an opera house in Venice, the Teatro san Cassio, which, in 1637, became the first musical institution in Europe to open its doors to the public? "The public" of course was anyone who could and wanted to pay the price of admission. Still, I like the idea of theaters historically being places where people from different social strata could gather to enjoy the same entertainment. While I know that the experience of opera is different when you are sitting in the first row compared to standing in the gallery, I want to honor the more democratic aspect of the theatrical tradition by giving every "ticket holder" the same basic experience. I trust you will be able to discern how much you have and want to give.
What will I get with my ticket?
You will get a backstage pass in the form of vlogs, in which I take you with me to lessons, masterclasses, rehearsals, and preparations for the videos. Watch the trailer for my vlogs below! (Note: I realize the recent pandemic and my claim to care about the environment puts the whole travel aspect of the trailer in question. However, travel to auditions and performances is a part of my life so I cannot leave it out. Of course, we shall see whether there will be quite as much travel in the future.)
Why are you collecting money, anyway?
There are two reasons:
First, I put a lot of work into both my blog and the videos (in the case of the latter I don't just put in time but also money) not because I'm getting anything in return but because I believe this kind of work is of value. I'd be happy to do it for free but, after having a blog for half a year and launching my YouTube channel two months ago, I'm realizing that doing it completely for free, while also living my life as a singer and having a dayjob as a translator, is too much for me and prevents me from doing my best in what I really care about. So, I'm trying to see if there are creative ways to lessen my workload so that I can focus more on what I truly care about. Being an independent creator with a patronage base is one option to accomplish that. I do not expect to be fully supported by patrons, the way some online creators are, but I'm hoping it can take the edge off and free me up to do better work.
The second reason is that I want to share the inside scoop on being a young opera singer through little documentaries and vlogs, as an extension of what I already reveal on my blog. However, videos of myself traveling to auditions, rehearsing, taking masterclasses etc. feel too intimate to share with a wider audience. That is why I would only like them to be available for those who are in my "in" group, which would include people who "tip" me for my work.
Given that the opera industry is likely to become even more endangered, even smaller, even more conservative after the current pandemic, my chances of ever fully supporting myself from singing, let alone becoming a stable employee of a theater, have suddenly fallen considerably. Opera on the Verge, which was originally conceived as a side-project, thus may become my main, and at times, only avenue for putting to use my knowledge of, and love for, an artform I have dedicated over a third of my life to understanding and perfecting.
I look forward to sharing as much as I can with you.
Here's to being on the verge!
(Oh, and pssst! I also have a Ko-Fi account where you can make a one-time payment by "buying me a coffee" in case you don't want to commit to a membership: ko-fi.com/operaontheverge)