“Opera in the Times of COVID” is an interview series in collaboration with photographer Frances Marshall of Marshall Light Studio. We talk to notable figures from around the opera world to get their perspective on how they feel these challenging times may change opera’s present and future.

The first time I came into contact with Luca Pisaroni in a performance was his Leporello in “Don Giovanni” at the Metropolitan Opera. Amongst a cast loaded with such talent as Mariusz Kwiecien, Marina Rebeka, Ramón Vargas, and Barbara Frittoli (all in top form mind you), among others, Pisaroni consistently stole every scene he was in. Having watched several other of his performances thereafter in a number of different roles, what is most striking about Pisaroni, and is undeniably one of the reasons for the potency of that memory, is how he doesn’t so much inhabit his characters as become them. That is what makes him one of the most exciting opera stars working today. Pisaroni is also a known dog lover and his two canines, Lenny and Tristan, are arguably the most famed dogs in the opera world.

In this interview, Pisaroni talks about his experience in quarantine, how his canine companions have kept his spirits high, and what how he hopes we learn from the COVID-19 crisis moving forward.

OperaWire: What have you done during this time to keep yourself positive and productive?

Luca Pisaroni: I am so used to being in constant motion that having so much free time on my hands has thrown me a bit out of balance.

For me, the best way to stay productive is to have a structure, which means planning the day and organizing my time as if I were working full-time. After I take the dogs for a walk, I study new roles and memorize my new recital program for as long as my brain can take it. Afterward, I dedicate my time to reading, or doing some home-improvement projects, or gardening. I find taking care of flowers and plants to be very relaxing and very rewarding.

OW: What do you feel will be the greatest impacts of COVID-19 on the opera world moving forward? What are some new developments that you feel are here to stay?

LP: I’m afraid that traveling is going to become much more complicated. We’re going to need a system in order to be able to go from one country to the next without having to go through quarantine.

I feel this is going to be something that will effect our industry for quite a long time. Another thing that we would have to pay attention to is to make sure that audiences can safely sit in a theater that holds 3,000+ people. I believe all presenters will have to focus their attention on solving this issue.

OW: One of the major developments of this time are the emergence of streaming and connecting with fans and followers more directly via social media. How has this impacted your time in quarantine?

LP: I have always been active on social media platforms. I enjoy keeping in touch with my audiences and followers. I like to share with them as much as I can, and, in these difficult times, I remind them that even if I am not performing in a theater, I am still here, focused on taking care of my voice and making music.

Read the complete interview via Operawire.

Photo credit: Marshall Light Studio