Coronavirus: Operatunity performing online concerts to senior citizens

Opera singers are spreading kindness to senior citizens stuck indoors during the lockdown by taking to the virtual stage.

The online concert, called The Happiness Half Hour, is run by Operatunity, who before lockdown toured 200 concerts every year around New Zealand to seniors.

Sue Boland runs Operatunity and has helped stage these tours.

"I was a registered nurse and I have a love of seniors and I'm a professional singer too, so it seemed like a lovely synergy," she says.

But COVID-19 stopped the tours seven weeks ago.

"We are challenged because we're dealing with seniors who are of a more vulnerable group of people, more susceptible to this disease."

With restrictions on gatherings and travel, the company was hit hard. But Boland took the stage online.

"We give happiness through music, so these half-hours are all about doing that."

Twice a week, the Operatunity artists connect with their patrons, crack jokes and reminisce over past concerts.

"We talk to people in their own homes. We have people saying how incredible that you've come into my bubble," Boland says.

Kelly Lim Harris is one of the entertainers who is now working from her Auckland home.

"We tour around 24 venues right around the country, so this is the new normal. Performing to nobody but with the magic of technology we can share the happiness that our concerts bring," she says.

With her phone and her tripod, the soprano performs the classics.

"People are so happy that people are thinking about them and caring for them at this time enough to bring them some entertainment in their bubbles."

Lim Harris says she's longing to perform for audiences in person again since it's an experience like no other.

"It's like having thousands of wonderful grandparents around the country."

And for the sake of Lim Harris' adopted grandparents, Boland says we should be taking lockdown rules seriously.

"If we get this right, then seniors are going to be able to start living again," she says.

But for now, she's entertaining them from the comfort of their homes and urging people to follow the rules until we can all meet again.