November 2020- Feburary 2021

The Beauty That Still Remains: Diaries in Song

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The Beauty That Still Remains: Diaries in Song

A three-part series of radio-style song cycle performances based on diary texts

Music by Dominick Argento, Juliana Hall, & Leoš Janáček
Text by Anne Frank, Osef Kalda, & Virginia Woolf

In these times of difficulty and isolation, personal expression through journaling can be an essential and cathartic activity. What can we find in common with those of distant pasts who have sought solace and inspiration in their diaries? Imagine flipping through the pages of an old diary and hearing the voice of the writer come to life with stirring music. In The Beauty That Still Remains: Diaries in Song, we will present three song cycles linked by their use of the diary as libretto. Audience members will receive a keepsake diary in the mail containing the handwritten libretto (the diary contents), access codes to the pre-recorded audio performance, invitations to accompanying virtual events, and insights into the people and places depicted within each of these moving song cycles.

Once you place your order, diaries will be mailed out every 1-2 weeks after each diary’s initial release date (below). Orders may be placed until January 30. The pre-recorded audio performances will be available through a password protected page until March 1, 2021. Each diary runs approximately 30 minutes and is sung in English. Scroll down to the FAQ section for further information.


Just as live performances have limited seating, we are only able to produce a limited number of diary packages.

#1: The Diary of One Who Vanished
Shipments start Nov. 16

A young man’s obsessions with an “untouchable” woman.
Music by Leoš Janáček
Text by Osef Kalda
English Translation by Bernard Keefe
Janicku: Bernard Holcomb, tenor
Zefka: Vanessa Cariddi, mezzo-soprano
Ensemble: Chantal Freeman, soprano; Temple Hammen, soprano; Stephanie Perez, mezzo-soprano
Howard Watkins, piano

#2: From the Diary of Virginia Woolf
Shipments start Nov. 30

A brilliant author’s musings, from creation to imminent death.
Music by Dominick Argento
Text by Virginia Woolf
Vanessa Cariddi, mezzo-soprano
Howard Watkins, piano

#3: A World Turned Upside Down
Shipments start Dec. 14

A voice of hope that will not be silenced.
Music by Juliana Hall
Text by Anne Frank
Cristina María Castro, soprano
Howard Watkins, piano

Virtual Diary Discussions
Live online panel discussions, including audience Q&A, will be held twice in conjunction with each diary, moderated by On Site Opera’s Geoffrey McDonald and Eric Einhorn.

All virtual events are free to ticket holders to any diary; $10 per event for non-ticket holders.

Zefka’s Plight:
The portrayal of Roma people in Janáček’s song cycle
with special guest Dr. Petra Gelbart, Romani educator, scholar, and musician
December 1 at 1pm EST

Some Deep Old Desk:
A closer look at the diary of Virginia Woolf
with special guest Dr. Drew Shannon, Historian of the International Virginia Woolf Society
December 15 at 1pm EST

Making Anne Sing:
How her words became music

with special guest Juliana Hall, composer of A World Turned Upside Down
January 5 at 1pm EST


Diaries will be on sale from November 2, 2020-January 30, 2021

Individual Diaries – $45/each
Complete Set (all 3 diaries plus a keepsake box) – $120
Virtual Diary Discussions – Free for ticket buyers to any diary; $10 for non-ticket buyers

To ensure the safety of our artists, On Site Opera has created strict safety protocols that exceed local, state, and federal recommendations for media production. To learn more about On Site Opera’s COVID-19 policies, click here.


What happens after I place my order?
If you order the complete set, your first diary will be mailed to you within 1-2 weeks from the diary’s release date. The second and third installments will follow in 1-2 week increments. After the release date, if you order an individual diary, it will be mailed out within 1-2 weeks.

What will arrive in the mail?
Each diary will arrive in a custom-made folder that will immerse you in story of each diarist. A replica of the diary will include the complete song texts as well as diary prompts in order to start you on your own writing journey. Also included in the package will be a scholarly article to accompany the song cycle, audio recording access links, artist bios, and production information.

When and how do I listen to the music?
The diary experience is meant to be enjoyed at your own pace. The audio performances are pre-recorded, so you can listen whenever you want, however many times you want. Included in each diary package will be a link to a password protected webpage with the audio recordings of each song cycle. The audio performances will only be available until March 1, 2021.

Can I only attend the virtual panels associated with the diary I purchase?
Ticket holders to any diary can attend any and all of the virtual panels. All ticket buyers will receive a Zoom link to each panel in the days before the panel.

It has been taking a long time for my mail to arrive lately. Will that be a problem?
That won’t be a problem at all. Since the music has been pre-recorded, each diary is meant to be enjoyed at your own pace.

I’m not in the United States. Can the diaries be sent internationally?
Yes! Just select the $15 international shipping option in the ticket buying process.

What if I want to give this experience to someone else as a gift?
There is an option in the ticket purchasing process that allows the diary to be mailed to someone else. Be please sure to double check the shipping information in your order.

What if I have other questions?
Just email us at and we’ll be happy to help!


This production is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


This production is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.




Your contribution today helps On Site Opera turn all of New York City into an opera house!

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