March 25, 2020
The Atlanta Opera has committed to crafting medical masks for use in area hospitals affected by shortages in personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Atlanta Opera has a fully equipped costume and wardrobe department ready to adapt during the current crisis, and has already received requests for 72,000 masks. Now that work on upcoming productions has ceased, Costume Shop employees will dedicate all their working hours to the effort. Click here to see a video about the project.
The Atlanta Opera’s Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director, is Tomer Zvulun, whose experience of medical supply emergencies dates back to his years as an Israeli army medic. He says:
“This is a time of great need for the medical community and the community at large. The question that we ask ourselves is no longer ‘How can we save our productions?’ but ‘How can we help save lives?’”
Each mask is designed to cover an N95 respirator mask and prolong its usable life. Joanna Schmink, Costume Director for The Atlanta Opera, created a prototype early this week, and local hospitals are providing operating-room sheets for the Costume Shop employees to use as fabric.
The Atlanta Opera is also exploring other ways of harnessing its resources to alleviate the crisis, from its scenery workshop to its musicians and administrative staff. Meanwhile, as part of an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the company recently canceled the final two performances of its recent production of Porgy and Bess in advance of local and regional government calls to do so. The company paid the cast, chorus, crew and orchestra responsible for preparing and performing Porgy and Bess for the entire run. All told, some 300 people worked on stage, in the orchestra pit and behind the scenes to deliver the production.
About The Atlanta Opera
The Atlanta Opera’s mission is to build the major international opera company that Atlanta deserves, while reimagining what the art form can be. Founded in 1979, The Atlanta Opera celebrates its 40th anniversary this season. The company works with world-renowned singers, conductors, directors, and designers who seek to enhance the art form. Under the leadership of internationally recognized stage director and Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, The Atlanta Opera expanded from three to four mainstage productions at Cobb Energy Centre and launched the acclaimed Discoveries series. In recent years, the company has been named among the “Best of 2015” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been nominated for a 2016 International Opera Award, and has won ArtsATL’s 2019 Luminary Award for Community Engagement in recognition of its successful Veterans Program in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation. In addition, The Atlanta Opera was featured in a 2018 Harvard Business School case study about successful organizational growth, and Zvulun was invited to present a TEDx Talk at Emory University entitled “The Ambidextrous Opera Company, or Opera in the Age of iPhones.”
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© 21C Media Group, March 2020