Celebrating the Spring Equinox recital will be available on-demand until April 22nd when we premiere Close Up: Celebrating Earth Day with Tiffany Austin, Jazz Soprano and Marcus Shelby, Double Bass. If you haven’t done so already, sign up here to receive the links in an email reminder an hour before the recital begins.


Bernice Lindstrom (OP Board Member) has graciously opened her home to host this first recital. “I am really looking forward to Close-Up because it will be so fantastic to hear singers and their pianists — even more so during this pandemic…. It will be so special and amazing, especially since Shawnette Sulker is singing.”

We also spent some time reconnecting with Shawnette as she prepares for her upcoming performance: 

Shawnette Sulker, SopranoMeet Shawnette Sulker

How has your relationship with OP influenced/impacted your career?

While I’ve sung contemporary/new operas before working with OP, it’s been great to have even more exposure to new works. Singing new music helps me access my musicianship and creativity in a way that’s different from singing tried and true works in the operatic repertoire.

Also, it’s refreshing to look over to the podium and see Nicole, an accomplished, inspired female conductor steering the ship, who is incredibly passionate about championing these works. I also love crafting a role in collaboration with Brian, who has a great eye and feel for creating the most impactful performance for both those of us onstage and those in the audience.

Are there any personal tie-ins to the spring/spring equinox theme in your Close-Up recital?

I think after the year we have all collectively experienced, the ideas associated with the vernal equinox (new beginnings, surviving winter — both the literal and metaphorical meanings, rebirth, rejuvenation, gratitude for making it through the darkest of times, etc.) are probably more poignant and deeply felt than ever before. Seeing the buds on the trees, hearing baby birds in nests, feeling the change in the air, and seeing daylight waxing instead of waning, makes me feel lighter, more optimistic, and more grateful for the smaller things in life.

Hopefully, we will be seeing more of a shift with the pandemic as well in terms of decreasing numbers and one day, total eradication of this disease. It’s time we all get back to what we really love, which is the business of making music and exchanging energy and conversations with our audiences through theater.

Have you made any new discoveries about collaboration from working remotely with other artists? In what ways is it the same and different? 

One of the things I’ve had to learn to do is how to be expressive even when locked into a pre-recorded track. Playing more with dynamics, shaping of a phrase, etc. And for video recordings, how to reach beyond the camera and try to connect with an audience you can’t see or feel. It’s definitely been challenging, especially at the beginning. It’s just a completely different way of doing music.

I guess it’s the same because at the end of the day, you’re creating music. But the major difference is that aliveness and spontaneity you get when collaborating with fellow musicians and a live audience just aren’t there. It’s impossible to recreate that communication virtually.

How have you been spending time during the pandemic? Have you picked up any new hobbies?

Pandemic time has been a blur in many ways. First there was the onset when no one knew what to expect. Then the severity of the situation slowly began to dawn on us. After that, at least for me, there was a period of numbness and almost disassociation. This was followed by grieving the complete and utter stop of musical activities (in the beginning months), which is so soul-sustaining for most musicians and artists in general.

Once I went through the aforementioned stages, I slowly started to adapt to the new reality. I began to go out more into nature, play piano for its own sake (not just for the purpose of learning music), call friends and family more often to reconnect, and streamed a lot of shows! My gratitude practice has definitely deepened as well as my ability to stay in the now.

What are you most looking forward to post-pandemic?

Hugs and traveling! And dinner parties with close friends. And of course, singing without masks with and to real, live humans!

Join us later this Spring for these Close-Up Free Online Performances

Sign up here to receive the links in an email reminder an hour before the recital begins.

With a spirit of new and light, Opera Parallèle is thrilled to launch a free online series to give our community a chance to get Close-Up and personal with OP’s talented artists. Each short program will fuse music and stories in an intimate setting, celebrating art and life. The performances will be given at 5 PM PDT Thursdays, April 22, May 6 and June 17, and OP artists and staff will lead informal conversation in the online chat at the time of each recital. The “Close-Up” performances can be viewed on Facebook or YouTube. The programs are free of charge and will be available to view until the next “Close-Up” recital is released, or for approximately one month. Specific links for each release date will be made available here at 4 PM PDT on the day of each performance. 

Tiffany Austin, jazz soprano

Marcus Shelby, double bass

Thursday, April 22

First performance at 5 PM PDT

Facebook and YouTube links will be posted here.

Kindra Scharich, mezzo-soprano

Jeffrey LaDeur, piano

Thursday, May 6

First performance at 5 PM PDT

Facebook and YouTube links will be posted here.


Kenneth Kellogg, bass-baritone

Kevin Korth, piano

Thursday, June 17

First performance at 5 PM PDT

Facebook and YouTube links will be posted here.