“Tales from a Safe Distance” unites indie opera companies in a first-of-its-kind digital production.

From UrbanArias Executive and Artistic Director Robert Wood:

Last May, Peter Hilliard and Matt Boresi approached me with a crazy idea – put together a coalition of opera companies to create a multi-part online opera, with each part based on a story from Boccaccio’s “Decameron.”

Each company would commission a new opera that would be a “chapter” of the larger piece, and Peter and Matt would write a framework that tied the whole thing together with one character from each short opera – like Boccaccio’s group of friends quarantining together outside Florence. Of course, I trust Peter and Matt, and we were dying to commission again at UrbanArias. This felt like a really manageable way to put together something high-quality and inventive that was also original and current.

Since 90-minute live opera was out, I thought, 13-minute online opera can be in. So I called up John de los Santos, whose short opera Service Provider our audiences had enjoyed so much back in 2017, and he was eager to write the libretto and direct. Then he recommended the wonderful young composer Marc Migó Cortes, who was just finishing his studies at Juilliard. Marc’s music was great, and his score for our new opera, The Roost, is fantastic – really well-crafted and beautiful.

I’m so grateful to all of my colleagues at other “indie” opera companies across the country for coming together to form the Decameron Opera Coalition – I think we’ve put together a really interesting array of modern storytelling through song. And now we’re filmmakers, which is also a lot of fun, if an entirely different skill set from the ones we already had.

Learn more about The Decameron Opera Coalition, “The Roost,” and “Tales from a Safe Distance”

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