Stage Door News

New York: David Hyde Pierce, Jamie Barton and Anthony Roth Costanzo headline “Opera Jukebox” benefit

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

"The great mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade once observed that music is 'the art form closest to prayer,'” said Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor David Hyde Pierce. “Our world could use some good prayers right now and the Artist Relief Tree is helping ensure that those prayers keep getting sung.” On Saturday, May 30, Pierce will emcee an Artist Relief Tree (ART) benefit, joined by seven world-class opera singers for Opera Jukebox, an innovative and interactive concert streaming on Facebook, YouTube, and the ART website.

Opera Jukebox will give digital audiences a chance to influence performances by stars fresh from such venues as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Carnegie Hall. Each singer will offer three initial selections, including some non-operatic repertoire, giving viewers a chance to hear their favorite singers in unexpected styles. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzomight reprise “Liquid Days” from his critically acclaimed Glass/Handel show – or he might croon Roy Orbison’s “Crying” as mezzo Jamie Barton gets into character for her hotly anticipated “Habanera” from Carmen.

The choice will belong to audience members, who will vote with their wallets – the more someone gives, the more their vote will be worth. The benefit’s goal is to help ART raise one million dollars toward its grassroots efforts to support artists of any discipline with $250 direct donations. Formed in response to the global COVID-19 health crisis, ART has already given financial aid to more than 1,200 artists worldwide.

“When COVID-19 cancellations started hitting, many lives in our industry were changed overnight,” said mezzo Jamie Barton. “I saw colleagues learn on Twitter that half their annual incomes had just evaporated, and I saw others whose church and choral jobs were abruptly put on indefinite pause. While very few people in the field are insulated from these changes, I do feel that we have a responsibility to take care of each other as much as we can. This benefit concert, like each ART grant, is a show of solidarity.”

Opera singer Aaron Crouch, a recipient of ART funding, agreed. “I suddenly found myself in a very difficult position when I lost multiple jobs as opera performances around the world were canceled,” said Crouch. “The money I received from Artist Relief Tree helped me cover my living expenses and provided me with a sense of hope for the future.”

To support Artist Relief Tree and purchase Opera Jukebox votes for performances by Barton and Costanzo, as well as mezzo Sasha Cooke and baritone Kelly Markgraf (performing duets), soprano Leah Crocetto, baritone Will Liverman, and bass Wei Wu, fans can visit Voting will open Tuesday, May 19, at noon ET and will conclude Monday, May 25, at noon ET. The performances, along with special appearances by opera celebrities, will be streamed on Saturday, May 30.

“The current global health crisis has already had a severe impact on arts and culture, causing many artists to lose economic and social stability,” said ART co-founder Morgan Brophy. “We can’t forget that the arts help us lead more thoughtful, compassionate, and enjoyable lives. We are mobilizing to support artists now – because in the coming months, the world is really going to need us.”

Opera Jukebox Digital Benefit Concert

Saturday, May 30, at 7pm ET,,
Host: David Hyde Pierce Performers: mezzos Jamie Barton and Sasha Cooke; countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo; soprano Leah Crocetto; baritones Will Liverman and Kelly Markgraf; bass Wei Wu


About Artist Relief Tree

Artist Relief Tree is a global online fundraiser established to help support artists affected by COVID-19. ART is a grassroots effort made by artists and for artists, awarding funds to artists of any discipline in the form of a $250 solidarity donation. To date, ART has helped over 1,200 artists, and strives to reach its goal of $1 million to provide 3,500 artists financial support during the global health crisis. ART co-founders Morgan Brophy (Wolf Trap Opera) and Andrew Crooks (Lawrence University) lead a team that includes Tehvon Fowler-Chapman (Vocal Arts DC), tenor Marco Cammarota, and Rachel Stanton (Wolf Trap Opera). 

About Opera Jukebox

The Opera Jukebox benefit was organized by ART Executive Team Member Thomas Morris, Washington National Opera Artistic Administrator Colin Michael Brush, librettist/lyricist Mark Campbell, composer Kamala Sankaram, and conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya, who serves as Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater. The Opera Jukebox format is based on Wolf Trap Opera’s popular annual Aria Jukebox concert, in which audience members vote on the arias to be performed rising stars.

Purchase votes: