October 20, 2015

Go Jays, GO! + B'bye Harper

OCTOBER 20, 2015

Ok, now that I have your attention, I’d like us to focus on another newsworthy tid bit that, while not as satisfying as the ousting of Harper, or as exciting as the Jay’s playoff series, it is of equal importance to Cardinal’s Nest readers; the announcement that Opera Lyra Ottawa would be ceasing operations, effective immediately.

This, on the heels of Vancouver Opera’s perky press release that they would be compacting their typical 9 month season into 3 weeks...3 WEEKS!!!...sent a chill up the spine of our singer community.

There was a lot of social media buzz over these two announcements, markedly different in tone.

People congratulated VOA on their “exciting new vision” (riiiiiiiight, sure...I totally believe that you’re excited at having fewer opportunities to sing in that beautiful city), while Opera Lyra’s announcement, 4 days before the national election, elicited much more sombre, personal comments and rightfully so.

The financial health of these opera houses act like a mirror of the financial health of our own incomes, and future, not to mention that of our nation and it’s exceptionally talented, overeducated, underpaid artistic communities.

((( let’s take a pausa )))

Before we go on let me be clear about a few things - I have no idea how to run an opera company, nor do I flatter myself that I have a solution for VOA, OLO, or any other arts organizations.

Also, I do not belittle of the domino effect on the jobs for full time staff, IATSE, Musicians Union, and contracted Equity performers. Any sarcasm, or attempt at humour is not directed at the people who had to go home to tell their spouses that they lost their jobs, nor to the people who had to make that decision for them. I’m serious about this stuff, folks. Good. We’re clear?

((( press play )))

Back to you. As important as these recent developments are, I hope we can step back and try to remember that we’re used to all of the moving parts that come with being an artist, including massive upheavals with larger companies. We’ve jumped through these hoops before (2008 recession, helloooooo?) and will undoubtably need to do so again and again.

As long as we remember:

•Setbacks are inevitable (don’t get me started)
•Preparing for a rainy day is sexy
•Ingenious ideas are sparked by the need for change
•We always seem to evolve, adapt, survive and thrive (no really, we do)

And sorry (so Canadian) for putting a point on it, but our financial habits (not income) were well established BEFORE those announcements were made. You might want to go back and read that sentence again.

I encourage you to sit back and evaluate whether you’re a: SAVER (and I know you’re out there - I’ve seen your finances) or a SPENDER, and how one might be more helpful than the other.


Just check in with yourself and:

  • make sure you’re not literally banking on the potential of our artistic industry (spending more than you make)

No matter what the health of the artistic industry is dictating (and I admit, it ain’t pretty) WE are in charge of how we prepare ahead, react in the moment, and make things better for ourselves.

If we get too caught up in the details that drag us down,
instead of in the solutions that will lift us up, we’ll never survive.

Thanks for reading!
Go Jays, go!