Arts at the Palace is pleased to present three virtual opera experiences this spring, curated especially for our audiences. This series is for opera fans and “newbies” alike—we promise you’re in for a treat!


Enigma Chamber Opera presents Mozart’s The Impresario or We Get Locked Down but We Get Up Again or Live from the Meta



It’s free to view! Enigma Chamber Opera decided not to charge, as they are keen to spread some laughter and light relief in these dark days. (Though, of course, if you’d like to support them, you’ll find a link for donations on that YouTube page.) But most importantly, just enjoy! There are subtitles available—at the bottom right of the YouTube viewing screen, you’ll see a “cc” button. Click that to turn on closed captioning. You’ll also find a synopsis in the box below the viewing screen; click “SHOW MORE” and you’ll get the full cast list, synopsis, etc.


A Conversation about Process: Enigma Chamber Opera’s Production of Mozart’s The Impresario

Enigma Chamber Opera Founder and Artistic Director Kirsten Z. Cairns has staged works throughout the US and in the UK, working with groups including UMKC’s Conservatory, Longy School of Music, The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, Dartmouth University’s Glee ClubOpera del West, Opera North, Trinity Church Boston, and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. As Resident Stage Director for Intermezzo: The New England Chamber Opera Series, Cairns’ productions included three world premieres. Her work has been described in the press as “so good you want to see it again, right away” and “astounding, phenomenal, superb.”

Also joining the conversation is Peter A. Torpey, Media Designer; Simon Robson, Script Writer and ‘Sir Nick Hall’; Rebecca Shannon Butler, Costume Designer, and Matthew DiBattista, Music Director and ‘Judas Angel’! We are so delighted to introduce these artists to our community!


Established at the end of 2019, Enigma Chamber Opera had just completed their debut production (Britten’s The Turn of the Screw) when the world went into lock down. Undeterred, they began to plan a remote show. Artistic Director Kirsten Z Cairns had always been intrigued by Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario)—she was struck by how modern and relevant the text seemed, telling the comic tale of the struggles faced when trying to stage an opera. In 2020, those struggles included a whole new set of challenges; so Cairns hit upon the idea of creating a new version of The Impresario, exploring (and trying to see the funny side of!) the trials of artists in isolation. “A lockdown opera for the Covid Age,” as the script tells us!

Collaborating with brilliant media designer Peter Torpey and script writer Simon Robson (who also plays the lead role), Cairns developed her idea, to incorporate an entirely new script and libretto—but retaining the story structure, characters, and wonderful music from the Mozart original. Enigma’s resident costume designer worked with the incredible cast to create the various looks for all the characters, and over the late summer of 2020 the production was filmed—all without any two team members ever being in the same room!


How do landscape and man shape and transform each other and which came first?


Aliana de la Guardia is a Cuban-American soprano and actor acclaimed for her “vocally fearless” performances that are “fizzing with theatrical commitment.” A co-founding artist of Guerilla Opera, she has produced many newly commissioned operas tailor-made for her ferocious stage presence. In 2020 Aliana received OPERA America’s Women Opera Network mentorship distinction paired with Wolf Trap Opera, as well as a NEFA Public Art Learning Fund Grant to pursue mentorship with Double Edge Theatre. She is the owner and founder of Dirty Paloma Voice Studio in Haverhill, MA, treasurer of Granite State National Association of Teachers of Singing, and on the Haverhill Multicultural Festival 2020 planning committee. With two degrees in vocal performance from the Boston Conservatory, she additionally has a certificate in Cultural Equity and Inclusion from the Steward Cultural Development Group.

Also joining the conversation is Sarah Meyers, Director, and Julia Noulin-Merat, Producer and Production Designer. We are so excited about meeting these artists and learning more about their work!


Watch an encore presentation of the 2014 world premiere of Gallo, a fable in music, a chamber opera with music and libretto by award winning composer Ken Ueno and stage direction by Sarah Meyers (Metropolitan Opera). This wild, experimental opera was an immersive and interactive audience experience, and featured a soprano in a Houdini box filled with Cheerios and a countertenor in a chicken suit!


Tickets for the virtual screening Gallo from April 23—May 19 are $20 and are available through the company’s website. (All proceeds benefit Guerilla Opera. Questions regarding tickets and streaming should be directed to Guerilla Opera.)


Gallo is a production of Guerilla Opera, a company whose vision is “to generate a unique body of work that ferociously confronts the status quo, eschew antiquated and stereotypical traditions of the art form, examine stories through culturally focused and contemporary lenses, and bring new music to new audiences.”


Boston Lyric Opera gives an arthouse cinematic treatment to Philip Glass’ opera The Fall of the House of Usher


Into the House of Usher: Boston Lyric Opera’s Virtual Reading Room

“Boston Lyric Opera invites you Into the House of Usher to explore and learn about Edgar Allan Poe’s story, Phillip Glass’ opera, and BLO’s brand new film. Engage where history and present day meet in this virtual reading room, and even add your own creative brilliance by contributing to our community short story. Can you discover all the mysteries this house has to tell?”


“Boston Lyric Opera gives an arthouse cinematic treatment to Philip Glass’ opera The Fall of the House of Usher, now streaming exclusively on BLO’s This chilling film places Edgar Allan Poe’s iconic gothic horror story in the imagination of a migrant child as she journeys into the United States. Experience the world of the Ushers through her eyes, as she reaches for the promise of the American Dream. Music comes to life through hand-drawn animation, stop-motion film, and archival footage, featuring a brand-new recording by BLO artists.”


Rent The Fall of the House of Usher for $10 fee at (All proceeds benefit Boston Lyric Opera. Questions regarding tickets and steaming should be directed to Boston Lyric Opera. Some material may not be suitable for children.)


“Boston Lyric Opera leads the way in celebrating the art of the voice through innovative programming and community engagement initiatives that redefine the opera-going experience. Now in its 44th Season, BLO is the largest and longest-lived opera company in New England. Since its founding in 1976, the company has staged world premieres, U.S. premieres, co-productions and co-commissions of note with organizations such as The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Scottish Opera and San Francisco Opera and continues to be a destination for some of the leading artists, conductors, directors and designers from around the world.  The mission of Boston Lyric Opera is to build curiosity, enthusiasm, and support for opera by creating musically and theatrically compelling productions, events, and educational resources for the Boston community and beyond.”

—All text quoted above is from the BLO website.

Arts at the Palace’s Let’s Go to the Opera! artist conversations about The Impresario and Gallo are made possible by a grant from the CNY Arts COVID-19 Arts Impact Fund.