An award-winning operatic love letter to global front line healthcare workers
Bellissima Opera’s world premiere of On Call: COVID-19 is the Winner of the National Opera Association Production Award and 3rd place winner of The 2022 American Prize for Opera Production.
Created by librettist Christine Steyer, composer David Shenton and director Carl Ratner, the 60-minute opera looks in on a series of Zoom calls by six medics struggling with the unfolding pandemic.
Calling in from Chicago, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro, Lombardy, New York City, and a Syrian refugee camp near Beirut, the colleagues provide each other a lifeline and ultimately discover that kindness and compassion can be as powerful a tool as a vaccine and ventilator.
NOVEMBER 5 and 6, 2022, 2–6pm
The opera is performed LIVE for OperaFest XV with the cast of Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts .
Produced by Working In Concert’s Bellissima Opera as the first of our “Tales of Transcendence”, the World Premiere virtual performance opened April 17, 2021. It was followed by the Western Michigan University collegiate premiere on April 30.
This work is in gratitude to global healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic and to the journalists who covered their stories:
Local Chicago news, PBS’s Frontline, Amanpour and Company, the Atlantic and journalist Ed Yong, who contributed substantially to both platforms and won the Pulitzer Prize for his brilliant journalism.
Free Viewing of On Call: COVID-19 (April premiere performance)
WATCH THE TRAILER
Our OPERA IN THE NEWS..
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Gender Flexible Opera
“On Call” is currently scored for 3 high and 3 low voices. Any of the roles can be rewritten an octave higher or lower to accommodate a performance by any gender.
The Collegiate WMU Premiere
The Western Michigan University Opera Department premiered “On Call: COVID-19″ on April 30 & May 2, 2021.
Creating “On Call”
“On Call” provided a meaningful and safe place for artists to engage in their craft during the COVID crisis. Each artist recorded their parts at home: Illinois, New York, Tennessee, Michigan & Indiana! The segments were assembled to create the look of a live “Zoom” meeting.
Interested in Licensing?
Looking to program that perfect opera for piano and six singers? Contact Working In Concert Executive Director Claudia Hommel. [email protected]
Original Poster for the Western Michigan University Collegiate premiere of “On Call” in April/May, 2021
Praise for “On Call”
I have deep respect and reverence for the great art you all have created. A most poignant and passionate effort in a technically relevant and innovative format. Thank you for this powerful snapshot during a life changing time. Gratitude to you all!Charles Torpe
Newcomers to opera will be delighted by the English subtitles and deep emotions conveyed through the talented performers. The gift of this performance is the accessibility, validation of our shared experience during the global health pandemic and cathartic adventure On Call is able to move us through. The style and technique of this opera will be our archive for future understanding and healing. Many thanks.Marcia E. F.
I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute with tears in my eyes, as it hit so close to home and felt very personal, something that I lived and still do. The music was phenomenal.
–Dr. Iryna A., family physician
What an amazingly important piece of music and writing you have created! Heartfelt, creative and beautifully informative about what has been going on. Your piece was especially moving to me…your voice, words and action kept me wanting to hear more.
Such incredible talent and ability to capture the essence of our unified experience. I appreciate how the opera validates and gives voice to healthcare workers around the world. We enjoyed this immensely – Brava!Cheryl
A wonderful work and performance. Thank you so much for this timely and moving opera.Helen Tintes
This opera is and will remain a moment in history. The talent and arrangement of the ZOOM opera production was spectacular – thank you and bravo!Peter Storms
Today I tuned into the WMU On Call performance. It was lovely to hear, at last, how David set the libretto and how brilliantly the young musicians brought the score to life. Please extend my regards to Carl and the young artists involved.
Hannah Edgar (music critic for Chicago Tribune)
Congratulations on your opera! It was amazing, powerful, touching, and brilliant. I loved how you actually set it in Zoom, and I thought the dramatic arc was fantastic. Plus, you all sounded wonderful. Bringing together all those stories from around the world and raising our awareness of the wider issues in the world was really brilliant. Thank you for doing it.
Dr. Eugenia ChengPeter Storms
I am speechless and humbled by your stunning deep work! I was totally absorbed so that I wouldn’t miss a note or thought or facial expression! I am a nurse tho retired so the message invaded me deeply. I have a daughter who is a practicing nurse and a son who is a practicing doctor and would like to send this to them. What is the best way to accomplish my support of your amazing mission?
Mary Rose Lambke