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. If you buy all three diaries, each diary will be mailed out individually every 2 weeks. Orders may be placed until January 24. The pre-recorded audio performances will be available through a password protected page until March 31, 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

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

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

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
January 19 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
February 2 at 1pm EST

Making Anne Sing:
How her words became music

with special guest Juliana Hall, composer of A World Turned Upside Down
February 16 at 1pm EST


Diaries will be on sale from November 2, 2020-January 24, 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. If you order an individual diary, it will be mailed out within 1-2 weeks. Due to COVID19 Production Delays and the Holidays, shipments are taking longer to arrive.

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 31, 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.

Can I get a refund?
All sales are final per On Site Opera box office refund policy. If you need to cancel your purchase, we invite you to convert your ticket purchase into a tax-deductible donation.

I would like to GIFT The Beauty That Still Remains as a Gift to someone else. How does this work?

  • To purchase any of the diary opera experiences for someone else and have it mailed to them directly, please check the box, This order is a gift” during the purchase process.
  • Be sure to enter your contact info in the Billing section and the recipients’ Shipping Address and Email Address in the Shipping section.
  • If you want to keep the purchase a surprise, be sure to enter your own contact info in the Billing section and the recipient’s contact info in the Shipping Section. Your gift recipient will not receive an email notification until after January 4 when we send the shipment tracking information.
  • You (the purchaser) will receive an automated email confirmation as soon as you place the order. If you entered a shipping email address for the recipient, the recipient will also receive an email confirmation a few days after purchase. If you do not want the recipient to receive an email confirmation from On Site Opera, please leave the shipping email blank.
  • Orders are processed as they are received, and shipments are made every 1-2 weeks. You cannot select a specific shipment date. Gift orders placed after December 15 will be shipped beginning the first week of January.
  • If you ordered the whole series (all three diaries), each diary will be shipped individually every 1-2 weeks. The order of the diary shipments is based on purchase date and cannot be changed.
  • If you would like to send your recipient a token to let them know about the packages they will receive, please download or print one of the gift cards here: ALL 3 DIARIES GIFT CARD or SINGULAR DIARY GIFT CARD.
  • If you have any questions regarding GIFTING, please email Pooja Saha at

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!

  • [OSO’s] latest project, “The Beauty That Still Remains: Diaries in Song”, creates an emotional landscape for all of us confined to our homes. Three sepia-toned, handwritten diaries arrive in the mail. Each looks like a relic, dug out of an attic or an archive. You follow an internet link to an audio recording, and the first-person account on the pages becomes a haunting voice, the dead speaking from the distant past.

    The Wall Street Journal
  • Even for those already familiar with the song cycles, the diaries open a beguiling new entrance. Their physical heft in your hands lends the music a new, tactile dimension, and the private ritual of listening and leafing through the pages imparts an uncanny intimacy that extends beyond the crisp closeness of the recordings.

    The Washington Post
  • Homebound by the pandemic, so many of us have turned to deliveries to get by. The package room in my apartment building has been filled with shipments as surprising as a greenhouse, a room-spanning rug and a pallet of paper towels.
    If you can mail all those, why not opera?

    The New York Times

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