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Every day there are exciting things going on in Rochester's cultural arts community. Classical 91.5 hosts collaborate with and create highlights of various arts organizations, musicians and artists in and around our community.

Opera Companies Sew Masks to Combat Coronavirus

Seattle Opera costumers sew masks for healthcare workers
Seattle Opera costumers sew masks for healthcare workers

Opera companies around the world have seen seasons and countless performances cancelled in an effort to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus. Several costume shops were just days away from final fittings before a performance. Around the nation costumers have been changing their focus and are now sewing masks to donate to help protect healthcare workers fighting the virus. 

Atlanta Opera has paired with the Grady Health System. The costuming team is working from home to sew up to 72,000 masks. These cloth surgical-style masks can be worn over N95 style masks to help the N95 masks last longer. 

Washington National Opera has also shifted from costume-sewing to mask-making. The team was in the process of sewing costumes for a production of Porgy and Bess when the production had to be cancelled. Marsha LeBoeuf, who has been the costume director for Washington National Opera since 1988, has helped sew hundreds of masks already. LeBoeuf said “We’re all feeling a bit lost about this whole thing right now, and it does help to think, ‘Here’s a little something I can do that’s maybe going to help somebody feel a little bit safer.’” 

Seattle Opera is another company that has converted to mask-sewing in an effort to combat the virus. The costume shop is sewing masks under the supervision of Providence Saint Joseph. The costume shop has converted and been modified to ensure proper social distancing can be followed while the workers sew. 

These opera companies are finding new ways to support the community and our healthcare workers. For anyone looking to sew masks themselves, some instructions can be found here