In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Boston's Year of Opera in 2016

Dec 27, 2016 12:23:52 PM
By BLO Staff

The Boston Opera Alliance (BOA) is a consortium of Boston-based opera companies and producers that have come together to enhance and support visibility of opera in the Greater Boston area.
BOA is not a producing organization; rather, the BOA is a community-driven group, collectively interested in increasing awareness of the wide variety of opera events happening in the city.
To learn more about upcoming opera productions across the city, visit the Boston Opera Calendar.
In celebration of all opera in Boston, members of the Boston Opera Alliance have compiled some of their favorite operatic events of 2016:


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Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte"
Presented by Boston Baroque
April 15 and 16, 2016 at NEC’s Jordan Hall
Conductor: Martin Pearlman
Director: Mark Streshinsky

"Boston Baroque continued its annual tradition of their final season offering for the year with a semi-staged opera production of Mozart's "Die Zauberflote" (The Magic Flute) at NEC's Jordan Hall. Director Mark Streshinsky returned to direct an all star cast complete with full costumes, puppetry, children's ensemble and a cast and chorus of almost 40!"



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Versailles: Portrait of a Royal Domain
Presented by Boston Early Music Festival
November 26 - 29, 2016 at NEC's Jordan Hall
Composers: Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Musical Directors: Paul O'Dette & Stephen Stubbs
Stage Director: Gilbert Blin
Concertmaster: Robert Mealy
Dance Director: Melinda Sullivan
Choreographer: Carlos Fittante
Executive Producer: Kathleen Fay

"The Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series production of
Versailles: Portrait of a Royal Domain was one of our most ambitious chamber opera productions. The French Baroque has become one of our signatures at BEMF, and this collection of works associated with Louis XIV and his magnificent palace was an incredible showpiece for our world-renowned singers, instrumentalists, and dancers. For the first time, we took our production immediately to New York City after its Boston début on Thanksgiving weekend, giving two sold out audiences at the Morgan Library & Museum a taste of what Boston's opera community has to offer."




A co-production between Boston Lyric Opera and San Francisco Opera
September 23 - October 2, 2016 at the Boston Opera House
Composer: Georges Bizet
Libretto: Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Conductor: David Angus
Production: Calixto Bieito

"In celebration of our 40th Anniversary Season, BLO debuted at the Boston Opera House—bringing opera back to this iconic venue for the first time in over 25 years. This Season's Carmen was perhaps the largest production BLO has ever staged, and it paid off: three of the four performances sold out, and we were particularly proud to welcome hundreds of young people through our offer of 40 free student rush seats per performance, as well as a special in-school performance for Boston public high school students. This production also reaffirmed our commitment to our community through the 40 Days of Opera initiative, a city-wide celebration that culminated in the launch of the Boston Opera Calendar. With that incredible start, BLO enters 2017 with renewed excitement and dedication to uphold our mission of building curiosity, enthusiasm and support for opera throughout Boston and beyond."



Love Italian Style: Donizetti's Il Campanello | Mascagni's L'amico Fritz
Presented by Boston Midsummer Opera
July 20, 22 & 24 2016 at the Arsenal Center for the Arts
Composers: Gaetano Donizetti | Pietro Mascagni
Conductor: Susan Davenny Wyner
Stage Director: Antonio Ocampo Guzman

"We chose to do two operas that are rarely done in the United States: L'amico Fritz and Il Campanello. After we chose the operas we found that we needed to move from our longtime home at the Tsai Center (large stage and pit) to a small space without a pit (Arsenal Center for the Arts). This move made us rethink how opera with orchestra could be presented in an alternative space without losing what is unique to the art form. While the process was not easy, we think that through this move we were able to make the audience feel as if they were part of the operas rather then 'apart' from the operas. It made our 2016 production the most successful we've ever had."



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Opera Bites
Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
November 11 – 13, 2016 at Longy School of Music of Bard College
Composers: Jonathan Bailey Holland, Tom Cipullo, Daniela DeMatos, John Greer, Eva Kendrick, Rhiannon Randle, Tony Solitro and Jeremy Van Buskirk
Librettists: William Carpenter, Garret Groeneveld, Jon Jory, Jack Neary, Lila Palmer, Alexander Pushkin, Sylvia Reed, Daniel Solon, Sheri Wilner
Music Directors: Jean Anderson Collier, Patricia Au, Monica Daly, Stephanie Mao, Brendon Shapiro
Stage Directors: Kristin Holland Bohr, Adrienne Boris, Tommy Neblett, Greg Smucker, Patricia-Maria Weinmann

“Boston Opera Collaborative’s 2nd annual production of eight 10-minute operas featured six new commissions and the talents of 40 singers, composers, playwrights, music and stage directors.”



 Boris Godunov
Presented by Commonwealth Lyric Theater
May 20 & 21, 2016 at Opera Garden
Composer and Librettist: M. Mussorgsky
Music Director and Conductor: Adrian Bryttan
Artistic Director and Stage Director: Alexander Prokhorov
Executive Director: Olga Lisovskaya

“In 2016 Commonwealth Lyric Theater did a 'potent' production (The Boston Globe) of the Russian epic, Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov.  This was the first time that the opera was staged in Boston.  Being part of the Newton Festival for the Arts, the production boasted an international cast of soloists, adult and children's choruses, original orchestration, and a unique staging concept: Tsarist Russia set in the timeless dimension, depicting a political leader, who encompassed the characteristics of many Russian political leaders, from the ancient past to present.”




The Ouroboros Trilogy: Naga | Madame White Snake | Gilgamesh
Presented by ArtsEmerson
Produced by Beth Morrison Projects and the Friends of Madame White Snake
September 10 -17, 2016 at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre
Creator/Librettist: Cerise Jacobs
Director/Designer: Michael Counts
Composers: Scott Wheeler (Naga), Zhou Long (Madame White Snake), and Paola Prestini (Gilgamesh)
Conductors: Carolyn Kuan (Naga), Lan Shui (Madame White Snake), Julian Wachner (Gilgamesh)

Ouroboros Trilogy is unique for its audacity to dream big. Comprising three grand operas performed in an all day marathon — Scott Wheeler's Naga and Paola Prestini's Gilgamesh and a remount of Zhou Long's Pulitzer Prize winning Madame White Snake — Ouroboros combines cutting edge technology and breathtaking visuals to tell the story of a white snake demon who enters our world to experience love. Her human lover, her nemesis, her son and his wife reincarnate from opera to opera in an eternal story of life, death and rebirth.”



Presented by Guerilla Opera
May 20-22, 27 & 28, 2016 at Boston Conservatory at Berklee
Composer & Librettist: Hannah Lash
Director: Andrew Eggert

"Guerilla Opera's first production of 2016 was "Beowulf" by Hannah Lash. It wasn't large or extravagant. It told a simple, beautiful and resonant story that was expertly played. The audience so close they could reach out and touch the action. Stage director Andrew Eggert (Giver of Light) returned to lead a small cast of Guerilla Opera's All-Stars with scenic design by Julia Noulin-Merat and lighting design by Daniel B Chapman."



King Arthur
Presented by The Henry Purcell Society of Boston
November 19, 2016 at the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul
Composer: Henry Purcell
Lyricist/Librettist: John Dryden
Musical Direction: Ian Watson
Stage Direction: Bob Scanlan

“Our recent, very successful, presentation of John Dryden’s and Henry Purcell’s baroque opera, King Arthur, staged in the magnificent setting of the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, on Tremont Street at the top of the Boston Common. The performance was the culmination of months of preparation, fundraising, collaboration and study of the score and script, and we had several of Boston's finest actors and musicians collaboration together on this Restoration English baroque 'hybrid' entertainment. Our musical director Ian Watson, with his extensive study and understanding of English Baroque — and Purcell specifically — brought off such a joyous week of music making for the artists, and Poet's Theatre's actors brought the script to life educating us all in real time on this rarely performed piece. Bob Scanlan added delightful staging ideas such as placing King William of Orange and Queen Mary in the audience as listeners, and it really added to our being fully engaged in this 3 hour long piece throughout. It was a great honor and boon to the Purcell Society to be the first group since 1995 to do a staged performance of the piece.”



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The Body Politic
Presented by Juventas New Music Ensemble
May 5-7, 2016 at the Plaza Theater, Boston Center for the Arts
Music: Leo Hurley
Libretto: Charles Osborne
Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Director: Giselle Ty

"Juventas New Music Ensemble was particularly proud of our 2016 Opera Project, a performance of The Body Politic which we performed May 5-7 at the Plaza Theater. We were honored to present this new opera as it tells the story of a transgender man from Kabul who emigrates to the American South at the height of the Afghan War. This world premiere opera explored the complexities of gender and national identity as the main character sees his world reflected through the contrasting lenses of a conservative parent, a drag queen, a young child, and the fearless mother who raised him."



Presented by Longwood Opera
November 4 & 6, 2016 at the Christ Episcopal Church
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Librettist: Francesco Maria Piave
Musical Director/Pianist: Jeffrey Brody
Producer/Director: J. Scott Brumit

“To celebrate Longwood Opera's 30th consecutive season, we presented Verdi's Rigoletto, costumed, staged and in English on November 4 & 6, 2016. With some of the finest Boston based singers available to sing these arduous roles, we realized this was the best choice to end our season. We had not presented Rigoletto since 1990. The performances were well attended and the audiences were enthusiastic with their responses.”




La Cenerentola
Presented by NEMPAC Opera Project
June 23-25, 2016 at the Faneuil Hall's Great Hall;
June 26, 2016 at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
Composer: Gioachino Rossini
Libretto: Jacopo Ferretti
Music Director, Dr. Tiffany Chang
Stage Director, Rebecca Miller
Artistic Director, Rebecca Rapoport-Cole

“NEMPAC Opera Project's 2016 production of Rossini's La Cenerentola dazzled audiences at Faneuil Hall's Great Hall and Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park in June 2016. The production showcased some of Boston's finest singers and instrumentalists and connected the North End Waterfront Community to the arts.”




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El Gato con Botas
Presented by OperaHub
in collaboration with Puppet Showplace Theater and The Boston Conservatory
Composer: Xavier Montsalvatge
Librettist: Néstor Luján
Music Direction: Lina Gonzalez
Stage Direction: Roxanna Myhrum

"We were proud to reach new family audiences with this intimate and accessible Spanish-language production of El Gato con Botas/Puss in Boots and to test out a touring model at several locations around Boston."



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"Alice in Opera Land"
Presented by Opera on Tap
June 4, 2016 at Cambridge Riverfest
Singers: Christina English, Wes Hunter, Valeska Cambron, Erin Anderson
Pianist: Leah Kosch

"Opera On Tap was thrilled to participate in the annual Cambridge Riverfest this past June, and we were so excited to perform for kids and adults alike in this fairy-tale mash-up. Four talented roster singers and pianist journeyed down the rabbit hole as we presented some of our favorite storybook characters from Disney's Beauty and the Beast to Dvorak's Little Mermaid (aka Rusalka). We enjoyed a large and enthusiastic crowd, beautiful weather, and of course - telling our operatic story in the Opera On Tap way!"


Topics: BLO, Boston, opera, Boston Opera Alliance, Boston Opera Calendar

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