When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down our stage and regular masking protocols became a necessity, San Francisco Opera needed to find a way for singers to rehearse and perform safely. Aware of this problem, San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock reached out to University of California, San Francisco and Professor Sânziana Roman, MD, who endeavored to find a solution for this issue: a mask that is functional, comfortable, effective, and practical. A trained opera singer herself, Dr. Roman developed a design and, together with San Francisco Opera’s Costume Department, created a prototype. The mask was tested formally and independently at University of California, Davis by Professor Christopher Cappa, Ph.D. in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and showed powerful results. The VOXCV (Voice 95) mask reduces aerosols between 100–1000 times compared to wearing no mask both in singing and in talking and is 10–100 times more efficient than a surgical mask (Cappa et al. 2021, read the full study here). San Francisco Opera has made hundreds of masks in house, ensuring the ability for rehearsals and performances to continue during the pandemic.
Christopher D. Cappa, The San Francisco Opera Costume Department, William D. Ristenpart, Santiago Barreda, Nicole M. Bouvier, Elad Levintal, Anthony S. Wexler & Sanziana A. Roman (2021): A highly efficient cloth facemask design, Aerosol Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/02786826.2021.1962795
Download the article here.
For more information on the creation of the mask and our partnership with UCSF, please visit our Opera Blog: Backstage with Matthew