Pt 1 Brandon Gryde Director of Presenting and Multidisciplinary Works -- Pt 2 Peter Szep Founding director of New York Opera Fest and co-founder of New York Opera Alliance

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Headshots of two men, side by side

Brandon Gryde, photo by Arthur Espinza and Peter Szep

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Audio Tabs

This week is a bit different: the podcast is divided into two parts with one subject-- Festivals. We begin by taking a broad look at festivals, their place in the cultural landscape, and their adjustments to the shut-downs caused by the pandemic. Our guide to this is Brandon Gryde our new director of Presenting and Multidisciplinary Works. Having come from Opera America and Dance USA, he’s extremely knowledgeable about the many types of festivals and their various responses to the uncertainty caused by Covid 19.

In part 2, we look at single festival—the New York Opera Fest which is hosted by New York Opera Alliance a community-based consortium of independent opera companies and producers. Fairly early on, New York Opera Fest moved their eight week festival online and reinvented itself as New York Virtual Opera Fest. Founding director of NY Opera Fest and co-founder of NY Opera Alliance Peter Szep explains the transformation of the five-year old festival and the range of work the festival is offering (including a discussion of Heartbeat Opera’s incandescent virtual performance of “ Make Our Garden Grow” featuring over 30 Heartbeat alumni including singers, dancers, instrumentalists, and a gardener.) And because it’s impossible to talk about an opera festival without talking about the innovative work being done by independent opera companies in NY, (and there are over 80 companies in NY!), you’ll hear about the exciting music that continues to be created!