“…a single person at home, singing without accompaniment…”
~ John Corigliano
John Corigliano is a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer (among other awards over a long, distinguished career), and, during the early days of the pandemic quarantine, worried greatly about old friends living alone in their apartments, isolated, confined and, like all of us, breathing fear and mystery.
When he came across my poem, In the Time of Pandemic, he composed an operatic solo and asked his longtime friend, opera star Renée Fleming (winner of many prestigious awards herself), to consider recording it. They decided that it would best reflect the isolation and grief so many were experiencing if she sang it acapella. She recorded it on her iPhone, and after many takes, felt it was ready to share. The vulnerability and raw emotion captured in this performance are both heartbreaking and stunning, but every time I watch it, I feel embraced by a hushed and soft light of hope as the solo concludes. John and Renée have always created magic together, and they have done it again.
The solo’s score (And the People Stayed Home) is available from wisemusicclassical.com, and the first year’s royalties, we decided, would go to charities. John paid an advance to a pup-rescue close to my heart: Paddy’s Paws, and his first-year royalties will go to Covid-19 first-responder charities in NYC, while mine will go to a group that fights to protect our waterways and environment.
I am grateful to both of these artists for finding yet another, and powerful, way to use the poem to raise necessary funds for important charities, and to spread the message that we can, and must, heal ourselves and the Earth.
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