Five characters in three images from The Atlanta Opera's "Pagliacci" and "The Kaiser of Atlantis," coming soon to a digital screen near you. L-R: Reginald Smith, Calvin Griffin, Kevin Burdette, Michael Mayes, Alek Shrader. (composite courtesy of TAO / via 21c Media Group)

Into the future: Atlanta Opera continues to innovate, launches new digital platform

Mark Gresham | 20 NOV 2020 @ 6:00an ET

Exactly one month after the closing night of its innovative “Big Tent” performances, which captured the attention of the international opera community, The Atlanta Opera will launch its new digital subscription service, Atlanta Opera Spotlight Media. Beginning December 15, this digital subscription service will make available to at-home audiences around the world a full year of unlimited access to exclusive new video content from The Atlanta Opera, at a price of only $99 a year per viewing household. (Available now for pre-orders.)

Funded with support from a $500,000 gift from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, Atlanta Opera Spotlight Media is the latest initiative from Atlanta Opera and its general & artistic director Tomer Zvulun, who is the only representative of an American opera house invited to speak on COVID-19 and the arts at the Opera Europa conference, which concludes today (Nov. 20).

Each month, the company will roll out a substantial new streaming bundle, combining concerts, special recordings and behind-the-scenes footage with original opera productions captured live in the company’s innovative “Big Tent” series.


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Atlanta Opera Spotlight Media kicks off with a bodacious December streaming package:

  • video presentations of Pagliacci and The Kaiser of Atlantis, the two productions at the core of the fall 2020 “Big Tent” season
  • two Big Tent Concerts, also filmed live this fall, Mack the Knife: An Evening of Kurt Weill and Mezzo Extravaganza
  • exclusive behind-the-scenes footage
  • the first in a series of “Love Letters to Atlanta,” through which individual members of the Company Players celebrate through song the people, places and history of Georgia’s capital city that carry personal meaning for them

Highlighting January’s digital offerings is Orfano Mondo, a new film by Ryan McKinny, an Atlanta Opera Company Player who is not only a bass-baritone but also a filmmaker. This art film will combine footage from both Pagliacci and The Kaiser of Atlantis in the context of an exploration of the life of an artist.


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When the pandemic initially slammed the lid on the performing arts industry last March, the company was quick to turn its costume shop over to making hospital PPE and to create personalized “Singing Telegrams” for front-line healthcare workers and others in need of emotional support.

Following strict safety protocols developed by the epidemiologists, public health specialists and doctors of the company’s new Health & Safety Advisory Committee, The Atlanta Opera’s “Big Tent” series was developed to present new live chamber opera productions outdoors, under a custom-made tent without walls, placing the company at the forefront of devising ingenious means to re-engage artists and audiences in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top row: Jamie Barton, Kevin Burdette, Reginald Smith, Daniela Mack, Morris Robinson, Trey Smagur; Bottom row: Michael Mayes, Jasmine Habersham; Alek Shrader, Ryan McKinny, Megan Marino, Talise Trevigne. (Courtesy of The Atlanta Opera.)

Top row: Jamie Barton, Kevin Burdette, Reginald Smith, Daniela Mack, Morris Robinson, Trey Smagur; Bottom row: Michael Mayes, Jasmine Habersham; Alek Shrader, Ryan McKinny, Megan Marino, Talise Trevigne. (Courtesy of The Atlanta Opera.)

After many weeks of rehearsals and performances, the Atlanta Opera Company Players all remain virus-free, even in the midst of what is considered the pandemic’s current “second wave.” Throughout the past eight months under the cloud of pandemic, as well as an intense bout with the remains of a tropic storm, requiring a day-long triage to recover and restore the “Big Tent” venue, The Atlanta Opera has shown an exemplary level of resilience, an ability to get knocked down and get up again, that is truly inspirational during these most uncertain times.

The new digital platform and streaming is only the latest extension of The Atlanta Opera’s exceptionally deft response to the pandemic under Zvulun’s leadership — and it definitely won’t be the last. His thoughts about innovation and the future of opera go back well before the pandemic made it obligatory. For example: In February 2018, Zvulun was invited to present a TEDx Talk at Emory University entitled The Ambidextrous Opera Company, or Opera in the Age of iPhones. It offers a glimpse into the kind of forward-thinking which in large part made possible The Atlanta Opera’s ability to bravely navigate the pandemic though innovation. We offer it here, for your consideration, as the finale to this article:


The Ambidextrous Opera Company (or: Opera in the Age of iPhones)
Tomer Zvulun at TEDxEmory
February 2018
Posted to YouTube
May 30, 2018

For more information about Atlanta Opera Spotlight Media visit: atlantaopera.org

Note: YouTube videos are embedded in accordance with the YouTube Terms of Service.

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