By Jake Gourwitz Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) — Opera season is fast approaching and the Syracuse Opera is making a comeback from the pandemic on October 29 with the premiere of Mozart’s The Impresario. After such a lengthy intermission from the last in-person performance to the end of the month, Conductor Christian Capocaccia has wondered how the opera will be received when it’s back.
“In the back of your mind, you keep thinking ‘are they going to forget about us,?’ Capocaccia said. “If we don’t do anything, will they forget we even exist?”
At the same time, however, Capocaccia, who was recently named the General and Artistic Director of Syracuse Opera, thinks people are eager to embrace the activities that enrich life. Especially, after roughly a year and a half of focusing on the essentials.
“You miss the extra,” Capocaccia said. “Life for human beings is more than the essential”
He says this is why he and many others do art. They are not content with just surviving. He looks for meaning and opportunities to share. For performing artists, it’s crucial to have direct access to the public. With the pandemic, there weren’t those direct interactions.
There is a flip side, though, with the time away. Capocaccia and the opera found the pandemic as a time to reset, rethink, and ultimately come back renewed.
“We can come back with so many new ideas, ” he says.
One of those ideas was the production of a movie on the life of Frederick Douglass. Without the chance to go back to the drawing board, this idea never would’ve become a reality.
“This is something that we would not have had time to do,” Capocaccia said. “But, we love doing it and it was incredibly powerful.”
Capocaccia doesn’t recall an obstacle like the Coronavirus that has had such impact on musicians like himself.
The idea of wearing a mask in most professions may not seem particularly noteworthy. However, with the opera, an art form that is so dependent on the projection of voices and facial expressions, face coverings play more of a role than one would hope.
“To someone that is used to singing to express themselves it is like taking away my ability to speak,” Capocaccia remarked.
Looking ahead, Capocaccia is well aware that opening night is fast approaching, but nothing can prepare him for the rush of emotions once he hits the stage. He says it’ll be breathtaking.
“We are actually back,” he said. “I think we’re going to look at each other, me and the public, and the public is going to say ‘you’re here’.”
That moment is going to be when everyone realizes just how much they missed one another.
“It’s a little bit like when you see an old friend that you haven’t seen in a long time,” Capocaccia said. “You say ‘I cannot believe we haven’t seen each other in so many years. I love you so much. We’re back.”