Like nearly all purveyors of arts and culture, the Princeton Festival has been forced to consider an existential question: How does one put on a series of live performances if venues must be empty?
The Princeton Festival’s answer is a new digital performance series called “Virtually Yours,” which starts Monday, June 1 and will run throughout the month of June.
Virtually Yours will feature a variety of musical and educational content, including full-length streaming of past opera productions, a live musical theater revue, artist videos, recordings, online workshops, lectures, and a promise from organizers for a “generous helping of online bonhomie.”
All content will be available free of charge on the Princeton Festival website and Facebook page, with content published every day.
The series runs in place of the festival’s annual June season. Princeton Festival announced April 7 that it had cancelled all 22 performances in its June 2020 season, along with all lectures, workshops, and special events scheduled for April through June, due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Events canceled include the opera La Traviata, the musical Into the Woods, the Latin jazz dance band Fleur Seule, a multimedia presentation, chamber music, and Baroque orchestral and choral programs. Ticketholders were offered options for redeeming, transferring, or donating the value of their purchases.
Festival officials said in April that they were looking at the possibility of presenting a few performance events in the fall, assuming restrictions related to COVID-19 had passed. The popular fundraising Gala, originally scheduled for April, had already been moved to October.
“We appreciate the tremendous support from our patrons and donors who make it possible for the Festival to continue its mission to excite and inspire our community,” executive and artistic director Richard Tang Yuk said in April. “We’re planning for a brilliant lineup of events next June, and a fall mini-season would help everyone transition from disappointment to renewal.”
Turns out supporters of the Princeton Festival won’t have to wait until fall. Festival representatives spent the spring brainstorming ways to bring the spirit of their event into people’s homes. They reached out to artists around the globe, culled archival videos and even scheduled a few live events.
The live events schedule is as follows:
Friday, June 5 at 8 p.m.: WWFM (89.1FM) Broadcast–Concordia Chamber Players
Sunday, June 7 at 1 p.m.: Opera Stream–Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
Friday, June 12 at 8 p.m.: WWFM Broadcast–The Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra
Sunday, June 14 at 1 p.m.: Opera Stream–Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
Tuesday, June 16 at 1 p.m.: Live Panel Discussion with Princeton Music Organizations
Friday, June 19 at 8 p.m.: WWFM Broadcast–Rachel Cheung Piano Recital
Saturday, June 20 at 8 p.m.: Live Musical Theater Revue
Sunday, June 21 at 1 p.m.: Opera Stream–John Adams’ Nixon in China
Friday, June 26 at 8 p.m.: WWFM Broadcast–The Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra & Chorus
Sunday, June 28 at 1 p.m.: Opera Stream–Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.
Check out the festival’s website for more information, including the full schedule of events.