WHAT MY MUSICAL FRIENDS ARE DOING DURING THE PANDEMIC

Marie-France Lefebvre, Pianist, Professor of Opera/Coaching 

First: the obvious- I was at the Met working on Werther with Yannick Nézer-Séguin, Joyce Di Donato and Piotr Beczala when all stopped and closed… but everyone’s mind was getting absorbed with this virus. Maybe we were making the most intense music ever? Maybe it was more intense because of the stress/tension around the strangeness of Covid-19?

I flew home as soon as the MET closed (announced in the AM of March 12, I flew home in the evening of March 12). Then it was surreal: both my teenagers were home. Arianna was on Spring break from OSU, just stayed home and finished her sophomore year online. Daniel’s last in person day at Walnut Hills for his 7th grade was that day I came home, March 12! They both finished very well. It was easier on Arianna because she is 19, harder on a 13 year old boy.

I resumed teaching/coaching online on March 26. That was a very new adventure: how to make this work? Mostly, we spent LOTS of time working on languages/texts…

Then Cincinnati Opera cancelled: I was to work on Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Castor and Patience. Then we started to try and figure out what we could do at CCM (still in flux).

The larger deeper effect of it all, is that for me, I have realized I don’t want to live at the pace I had established sort of naturally over the years. I LOVE Opera, singers, pianists, music. BUT, life is also tremendously important to me, and that involves my children of course, my siblings in Canada, some very dear friends, and time to read, breathe, cook more, sleep (oh that is a wonderful discovery!), and think more.

I am not sure how it will all be after covid-19, how I will be, my children, my siblings, but I know we will be different. The full impact may take time to be fully visible and perceived.

I said when all this began that the world was screaming at us, trying to find a way to be heard, nature, quality of relationships, pace. The world had been trying to get our attention in vain, and found the only way we would pay attention was this very extreme one. We MUST slow down, fly, drive, travel less frequently, take care of the environment and take care of each other.

That initial feeling has not left me. All the race issues that have finally come up in a very necessary way are part of many things that need our attention. If WE are wise, listen, improve, slow down, care for all around us, there is hope for a much better world for our children.

Music is my (and many colleagues) way of expressing my thoughts, my beliefs, and it will only carry more meaning than ever when the world reopens. We need to find ways to make the message (in music) can be heard by all.

I cannot wait to return to Music Hall and hear CSO! The last concerts I heard this Spring were the Ravel/Saint-Saens one with L’enfant and Jean-Yves Thibaudet here, and the very last one was NY Philharmonic with Maestro Langrée… the program was all amazing, but I will NEVER forget his Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. It was extraordinary!

I cannot wait to see and hear a LIVE OPERA again