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Austin's classical musicians turn to the internet to perform, thanks to Austin Opera

A new Austin Opera project features a vocal recital that will premiere online on Friday, March 27, at 3 p.m. It is free to watch.

AUSTIN, Texas — Recently canceled events because of coronavirus have hit a lot of local musicians hard, including Austin's classical music performers.

Despite the fact Austin is an arts-loving city with a tradition of sold-out audiences for the symphony, the opera, the ballet and other performing arts groups, social distancing has not only kept the concert halls empty, performers can’t even sit or stand next to each other when they make music.

“We all want to make music,” operatic soprano Mela Dailey said. “That’s what makes us most fulfilled and happy, not just from a career standpoint, but from a soul-fulfillment standpoint.”

Austinite Dailey is a singer with the multi-Grammy awarded Austin vocal group Conspirare and also is very much in demand for solo singing roles with orchestras across the country.

With her gigs drying up, Dailey said she got a surprise phone call one day, an opportunity to perform on video for a new Austin Opera project: a vocal recital that will premiere online on Friday, March 27, at 3 p.m.  

“Every Friday at 3 p.m. you can tune in on Facebook, on YouTube or just go to the Austin Opera web page and you can hear a 30-minute recital or concert featuring some of the very best artists here in Austin,” Annie Burridge, managing director and CEO of Austin Opera said. “And they aren’t performing for free; we are paying them.”

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Dailey will be among the other performers who will tape in the weeks ahead. Viewers can see the concerts, which originate from Austin Opera’s rehearsal space, free of charge.

For Dailey, it’s an opportunity to share one of the greatest gifts of all – the joy of music.

“We don’t know how to be of help at this time,” she said. “Creating music is as much of a soothing balm for all of us as musicians as it is for those who need to hear the music.”

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