The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Tri-Cities Opera, like so many other groups, individuals and governments to leap into a whole new world with the local arts group's path getting national and international attention.

TCO Executive Director, John Rozzoni is the guest on the weekly, local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up  talking about the trials facing the historic opera company in the days following the outbreak.

He also says the following days and weeks became a whirlwind of surprisingly exciting activity as the arts has been forced to evolve in order to survive in a socially-distanced pandemic world

Tri-Cities Opera John Rozzoni Headshot photo by Joshua Bernard

One of the most exciting developments is the partnership of TCO with the LUMA computer projection animation festival and Opera Omaha to present Miranda, a steampunk opera virtual reality experience September 24, 25 & 26.

The fully immersive musical theater VR experience is free with audience participation in real time through VR headsets, personal computers or by You Tube featuring an original story and score about a dystopian future with a manipulated criminal justice system and the outcome driven by audience participation.

Singers have been rehearsing in strictly coronavirus-regulated session in preparation for the live, motion-capture performances that turn the actors in avitars!

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MIRANDA is free but donations are suggested and "ticket" reservations are being taken.

For more information, go to www.tricitiesopera.com or lumafestival.com.

Rozzoni says the pandemic has been frightening for supporters of the arts with so many uncertainties about funding and how to support artists, costume and set designers and all others involved in the industry but it is also a wildly exciting time as new ideas and technologies are driving the way toward a previously un-imagined future and potential audiences for innovative and traditional performances.

Southern Tier Close Up is heard Saturdays at 6 a.m. on 98.1 The Hawk.