René Coronado “I think the formula is to work with honesty, humility and definitely with a huge desire to work for others.”

We talked with René Coronado, executive director of the Ópera de Colombia, in “about opera y others herbs”, about the company’s 45th anniversary, the challenges it proposes this new year, the legacy of Gloria Zea and the current panorama that she lives the art scene of your country.


How are the celebrations of the 45 years of the Colombian Opera coming up?

We began with the transmission of our most recent co-productions with the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo on the public television channel Canal Capital. This will happen on public holidays (according to the Colombian calendar), between the months of May and August. Then we will launch the second phase of the interactivity, the platform aimed at children and adolescents, who will now have fun with a great audiovisual production of El barbero de Sevilla. To finish off this celebration, in September we will launch the digital book “45 years of the Colombian Opera”, a publication that will be available for free; and closing, a concert at the Cafam Theater in Bogotá, with the promising young Colombian lyrical singing who already enjoy international projection.


Within the special program for the anniversary, which show would you highlight?

Each component of this celebration has been defined with all the special attention that a celebration of this level deserves, of course, in the midst of the pandemic, such a complex situation for everyone. I want to highlight the closing concert with the young Colombian singers because we intend to finish with a message of hope and faith in a better future, with the certainty that this complex moment for all will be overcome.


How has it been for you to face new ways of showing shows, now through the screen?

It was a challenge that we had pending to face for years and today, given the restrictions so that the public can attend the theater en masse, it becomes a reality that must be faced. Last year we dared together with the Teatro Mayor to produce and videotape the opera Gianni Schicchi by G. Puccini. Then we shared it with the public on the Digital Theater platform with an overwhelming success, in just one week it was seen by more than 250,000 people. We must add to this the creation of the interactive platform, which has allowed us to develop a strategic alliance with twenty primary and secondary schools in the city of Bogotá. This interactivity has become a vital pedagogical tool when it comes to talking about music and opera at school.


How have they dealt with the pandemic?

Like everyone else, this took us by surprise, but thanks to the solidarity work with our strategic allies and the National Government, we have continued with our activities, which for now we share with the public in a remote way.


What challenges does the music scene in Colombia face today?

It is a really difficult situation. Most of the agents in the sector live in informality and the support strategies implemented are not enough. To this we must add the unfortunate abandonment of private enterprise that today argues that it is in such a dramatic economic situation that it cannot continue to support the cultural sector. We face great challenges: on the part of the National Government, strengthening the implemented measures, getting the attention of private companies that must understand their vital importance in supporting the sector and a public that we hope will be in solidarity with those who have always been there to nurture inspire their lives, we need your support today more than ever.


What do you stand out from the Colombian music and cultural scene today?

An immense capacity for resilience but today you need to understand that if we do not act together it will be much more complicated for everyone.


What has it been like to keep alive the legacy that Gloria Zea left?

Gloria Zea worked for art and culture in Colombia for more than fifty years. Without a doubt, his legacy has left an indelible mark on the history of national art. The challenge is enormous and these last two years have added an external ingredient that makes it much more challenging. I think the formula is to work with honesty, humility and definitely with a huge desire to work for others.


What do you think is the greatest contribution that the Colombian Opera makes to the country?

Without a doubt, the Ópera de Colombia is the most important lyrical company in the country in the last century. We have been indisputable protagonists in the history of this beautiful art in Colombia. This company has been the platform for more than two hundred Colombian singers who have later managed to forge important professional careers.


What have been your greatest achievements this year?

Last year we were able to confirm a hunch around the question, how do we get more Colombians to get to know this genre? And the answer is that if we do not have the appropriate scenarios at the national level, if it is challenging to circulate opera productions due to their production costs and artistic and technical challenges, we were able to verify that we can bring this beautiful art to the comfort of their homes. . Although opera is enjoyed in all its splendor live, the screens of televisions, computers and any type of mobile device give us the possibility of having a first contact and surely many of those who today see us for the first time in a virtual way , surely at the slightest opportunity they will attend the theater room.


What are the artistic projections of the Colombian Opera for next year?

We will consolidate our non-face-to-face activities and we will return with important productions to theaters. We will worry about not only thinking about the repertoire titles, but also being a window for new creators and for those who want to share a new look at a genre that deserves constant renewal. We are already working under the hypothesis of a year 2022 with relative normality.