In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

The 40 Seasons of Boston Lyric Opera: A History Part VI

Sep 29, 2016 10:08:15 AM
By Jane Pisciottoli Papa

Each week during 40 Days of Opera, check back on the BLO blog for a new installment of this in-depth history of BLO!

At the end of Part V, Esther Nelson had assembled her leadership team, committed the Company to bold and thoughtful artistic choices, and reinstated a fourth production through the launch of Opera Annex, which quickly became a highly anticipated annual presentation in a nontraditional or found space.



BLO celebrates its 40th Anniversary in the 2016/17 Season, opening with Jennifer Johnson Cano in the title role of Carmen. Liza Voll Photography.

As BLO has continued to evolve from its origins as a small municipal endeavor, through its long run as an ever-improving regional company, and now as it reaches a significant level of national recognition, Esther Nelson’s leadership has proven visionary, in ways even beyond the founding of the Opera Annex, and over and above the powerful, probing interpretation her team affords each work. She and her team have put forth a vigorous effort to frame musical works in fundamentally new ways, as the Company has sought maximum engagement with the shaping of individual operas and with the molding of the future of the operatic art form. A considerable number of the productions offered by the Nelson team have been operas either musically or dramatically reconfigured to a greater or lesser extent, highly original interpretations.[1] Five works have involved direct collaboration with living composers, two of whom were commissioned or co-commissioned to write for BLO;[2] and additionally the Company has commissioned a scaled-down chamber version of an already existing larger work,[3] and a translation of yet another opera.[4] Of course this group is complemented by the less frequently performed versions of well-known operas that the Company has offered,[5] which often represent the composer’s own attempt at reconfiguration, and which can deepen an audience’s understanding of the work of the composer.


Two especially important examples of innovative attempts to dynamically shape the impact of a work on its audiences were the 2011 Annex production of The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits,[6] presented with the newly commissioned The After-Image[7] as prologue, and the 2013 Annex pairing of Schubert’s Hagar’s Lament[8] with Clemency,[9] a BLO co-commission.


The Emperor, created by Ullmann and Kien in 1943-1944 while they were interned in the Nazi concentration camp at Terezín, makes an important statement about the moral and ethical responsibility of the individual[10] with relevance for modern audiences that was greatly enhanced in performance by the work being joined with the Beaudoin After-Image. Designed as both prologue to and reflection upon the Ullmann/Kien work, The After-Image provides a modern day lens for viewing the past from the point of view of the daughter of a participant in World War II, now deceased,[11] effective as both framing and interpretive device.


In presenting the North American premiere of MacMillan’s Clemency, a major co-commissioning by BLO, the Company created its own staging and preceded the MacMillan piece with Schubert’s Hagar’s Lament as prelude. Joining with MacMillan and librettist Symmons Roberts, BLO’s David Angus discovered musical as well as thematic links between the two and worked to build additional musical bridges.[12] BLO then released a CD of this musical pairing, the first commercially produced recording in Company history.[13] Like the juxtaposing of The After-Image with The Emperor of Atlantis, the pairing of Hagar’s Lament with Clemency succeeded in finding resonance between the work of a living composer and that of one whose death had occurred many decades ago. By such means BLO has demonstrated its commitment to presenting opera as a living art form.


Despite audience behavior suggestive of an age of resistance to the less familiar, Nelson has sought as well to spark Boston audiences’ appreciation for a broad range of opera. To date during her term twelve works have marked their BLO debut[14] and seven other works have reappeared in new productions after an absence of between ten and 20 years from BLO stages,[15] all these operas having been scrutinized with the fresh set of eyes her team characteristically focuses on each work it presents and prepared with the usual attention to detail. A striking example of the potential result of such diligence is a discovery that occurred during preparation for Massenet’s Werther,[16] BLO’s penultimate offering of the 2015-2016 season. Music Director David Angus had determined that the composer’s autograph version of the orchestral score had been made available online for public use. In studying it, he discovered there vocal lines for Werther and Charlotte near the end of the piece, at the emotional climax of the opera, that don’t appear in the published orchestral score, nor in any known printed version of the vocal score. Musicologists and Massenet scholars were consulted – no one could find an instance of these lines ever having been sung onstage before. With the collaboration of the artists the decision was made to include them in BLO’s performances. If this wasn’t a historical first – although it very well seems to have been – at the very least Boston audiences were treated to a rare and deeply moving vocal moment and an insight into what must have been the composer’s earliest thoughts on his characters’ relationship.


While continuing to meet all the perennial challenges that producers of opera in Boston must face – balancing the range of repertory offered each season, building new audiences, maintaining a unique Boston identity, becoming an increasingly essential part of the city’s artistic life, broadening and deepening its funding community, all while performing in an inadequate mainstage venue – BLO has made the local[17] and the national arts communities[18] take notice of the quality of its artistry. And given the grave financial uncertainty of the national economy during her first few years at the helm, it is most remarkable that Esther Nelson has been able to move the Company steadily forward. But by building on the firm foundation she had inherited from the Del Sesto era and never losing sight of what had already made BLO distinctive and successful, she has guided the Company to ever rising levels of artistic accomplishment. Additionally and quite significantly, she has been effectively stewarding the evolution and growth of the institution itself that is BLO.


In both recognition and furtherance of these efforts, the Calderwood Charitable Foundation presented BLO with a gift of $5 million in April of 2015, the largest single institutional gift the Company had ever received.[19] Her position now endowed, Esther Nelson had become Boston Lyric Opera’s Stanford Calderwood General & Artistic Director.


Gradually during Nelson’s term BLO had been turning a new face toward the public, seeking greater engagement and dialogue, refining its image and its brand in ways that are both symbolic and functional. First came a new streamlined logo in the 2010-2011 season, a bold and vigorous form. The same season saw the creation of the Orfeo Society, a fresh way of recognizing major donors, offering them privileges over and above those granted to subscribers, including opportunities to socialize with artists, staff, and each other. There followed in 2013-2014 a shift away from a reliance on Playbill to the publication and distribution of the Company’s own performance programs, wherein all the information, articles, and images would pertain directly to the opera, unlike the Playbill format, where the contents had to be shared with numerous other performing arts groups and commercial backers. Also in 2013-2014 BLO began scheduling its annual fundraising galas to coincide with the season’s Opening Night, allowing the Company to showcase its work to gala attendees through the performance that immediately followed the dinner portion of the evening. With the 2015-2016 season came the creation of a new bi-annual magazine called Coda, designed to be mailed to subscribers and other friends of the Company prior to performances. Coupled with the new-style programs it offered opera-goers an unprecedented range and depth of information designed to enhance and inform their experience of the Company’s work.


The most notable change in BLO’s updated interface with the public, however, would be the implementation of a completely redesigned website, proffered midseason in 2015-2016, one greatly more responsive to users of all types of electronic devices, more visually attractive, and offering superior connectedness to the Company. The inauguration of the new website would correspond perfectly with, and ultimately support, the most strikingly momentous change the Company would make since its 1998 move to the Shubert Theatre – the non-renewal of its contract with the Shubert and its parent company, Citi Performing Arts Center.


For an extended period before the contract expired, BLO and Citi had been trying to negotiate a new arrangement, one that would be of greatest possible benefit to both parties, although artistically the relationship had not been an ideal fit for a number of years. BLO productions had long since outgrown the performance-related spaces of the Shubert Theatre – stage, backstage, wing space, orchestra pit. Audience complaints about comfort and amenities had grown more frequent and more numerous as well, but there existed little or no possibility of improvement in those regards. Thus financial and business aspects of the contract remained the only areas in which change could occur, and there were a number of provisions in the contract that did not work to BLO’s advantage. For instance, associated costs greatly limited the amount of time a work could actually be rehearsed in the theater, forcing the Company to lease rehearsal space elsewhere. And perhaps most significantly, the contract as written did not allow BLO to manage and control its own single ticket sales, a situation that severely impacted its ability to maximize marketing efforts and contact with potential future subscribers. When more advantageous conditions in the contract could not be negotiated, BLO made a bold move – it opted not to renew.[20]


When the termination of the relationship with the Shubert Theatre was announced, BLO acknowledged that while there were possibilities under consideration, there was no new accommodation waiting on the immediate horizon.[21] Nevertheless Company leadership was certain that the time was right for a change of such magnitude. Where some saw risk, BLO saw opportunity. That which frightened others in the community excited Esther Nelson and her Board of Directors. With the exercise of installing seven Opera Annex productions in non-traditional performance spaces had come the knowledge and confidence that now underlay the Company’s ability to stride forth unflinchingly, prepared for a nomadic existence if necessary, all in the name of artistic and institutional growth.


One reason for such an optimistic outlook was the heightened and intensified relationship between the arts community and city government that had begun with the mayoral election of 2013. During the administration of Thomas Menino[22] there had been much positive growth within the arts community that had merited his support and approval,[23] but critics complained about the lack of long range planning and his project-specific approach to the arts.[24] From the inception in 2014 of his administration, and even during his campaign for office, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Menino’s successor, had stressed his belief in the importance of the arts to the life of the city and in the need for support and advocacy from City Hall.[25] Signaling his commitment to the arts community, Walsh had appointed Joyce Linehan, an arts public relations consultant who had served as his spokeswoman during the mayoral campaign, to his transition team; and after taking office he named her Chief of Policy.[26] In a further demonstration of his intent, he created a Cabinet-level position entitled Chief of Arts and Culture. Under Menino the office of the Arts, Tourism, and Special Events had been a broad umbrella grouping, but now the arts community would have special advocacy and a much stronger voice in city government.[27] In September of 2014 Walsh appointed Julie Burros, who since 2000 had been Chicago’s director of cultural planning, to the position, with a mandate to create a cultural master plan for the city and eventually a financial plan to support it.[28]


However, BLO’s announcement in October of 2015 that its 2016-2017 season’s performances would be presented in an as-yet unidentified venue coincided with the public disclosure of other major performing arts venue issues within the city. Emerson College, owner of the historic Colonial Theatre,[29] was considering converting the building into a student dining area. Boston University announced its plan to sell its Boston University Theatre[30] to a private developer, potentially leaving the Huntington Theatre Company homeless. And in a twist, Citigroup Inc. terminated its sponsorship of the Citi Performing Arts Center, which of course included the Shubert Theatre.[31]


Shortly after this shifting of the landscape of performance venues was revealed, The Boston Foundation[32] released a just-completed study it had commissioned on the topic of arts funding in Boston. In it, TDC, a consulting and research firm, reported the results of its comparison of Boston’s non-profit sector to those of ten other metropolitan areas. In essence it determined that while Boston’s arts scene was vibrant and thriving, there had been a relatively weak level of institutional financial support, and that the three largest cultural organizations – the Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Symphony, and WGBH public television station – accounted for “more than 40 percent of all dollars spent in the cultural sector.”[33] Relating these statements to the fortunes of BLO and other mid-sized cultural groups, the report suggested that heavy reliance on earned income, such as ticket sales, can make companies risk-averse, strategically programming only known best sellers.[34] Calling to mind past criticisms of BLO’s repertoire and planning choices as stodgy and unadventurous, but contrasting with the Company’s current sound, creative, and vibrant status, this conclusion of the report underscores how deftly and successfully BLO has been steered by its leaders, entering its 40th anniversary season in the best fiscal and artistic shape of its history.


At this crossroads moment in the Boston arts community’s direction and in BLO’s very own course, the Company also underwent a major internal change in leadership as Steven Akin, who had held the position of Board Chair for ten years, stepped down in accordance with his plans to retire and relocate out of state.


To honor the extraordinary leadership and generous support that Steve Akin and his wife, Jane, also a long-time member of the Board of Directors, had provided to BLO over many years, the Company proclaimed a tribute to them at its Opening Night gala of the 2015-2016 season. Henceforth BLO’s roster of emerging artists would be known as Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artists.[35]


On October 21, 2015, BLO announced that Michael Puzo had been elected the next Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors, succeeding Akin, who had held the position since 2006. Puzo, a trust and estate attorney with “a deep history of supporting Boston-area organizations, particularly music and opera,”[36] had been a member of the Board since 2010. He vowed to continue the upward artistic and institutional growth curve that had characterized the Akin years,[37] and made it known that he was proud of the Company’s resolve to move beyond the Shubert Theatre.[38]


As the 2015-2016 season progressed with no 2016-2017 venue information being made public, much speculation and some anxiety arose in the arts community. Identifying a future home for BLO and determining the fate of performance venues such as the Colonial Theatre and the Boston University Theatre were related issues in the minds of many, part of the pervasive problem that affected numerous performing arts organizations of all sizes. Finally, in March of 2016, BLO made the much-anticipated announcement, and a stunning one it was – the next season’s four operas would each be performed in a different venue.[39]


What’s more, the opening work of the 40th anniversary season would be performed in the Opera House,[40] once the domain of Sarah Caldwell, now home almost exclusively to the Boston Ballet and Broadway Across America, an organization that presents touring Broadway shows. There had been no opera performances there in over 25 years, since Sarah Caldwell’s last locally produced opera had closed. Although the Opera House had seemed a logical venue choice for BLO for a number of years, there had never been available dates that could work with the Company’s schedule. But seizing the opportunity that now presented itself, BLO has chosen to open the season with Carmen,[41] in an American version of a Spanish staging, a co-production with the San Francisco Opera. In addition to the historical significance of bringing opera back to the Opera House after a prolonged absence, this marks the first time BLO has partnered with a company of the stature of the San Francisco Opera, a company whose productions’ grandeur of scale would be too large for the Shubert Theatre. Thus BLO’s 40th Anniversary Season will open with an unmistakable reference to Esther Nelson’s vision and hopes for the future of opera in Boston.


The season’s other repertoire choices and corresponding venues are no less inspired. Again matching opera and performance space for scale, the Company will offer two brand new productions in the spring, The Rake’s Progress[42] at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre[43] and The Marriage of Figaro[44] in John Hancock Hall at the Back Bay Events Center.[45] The 2016-2017 Opera Annex will feature the first major US production of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek,[46] to be performed in November at the Emerson/Paramount Center.[47]


In a strangely poetic way BLO will be shaping its future and that of the operatic art form in Boston by revisiting the settings of some of the most successful operatic productions of the 20th century. Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston at the Opera House, the Peter Sellars/Craig Smith-led Boston Opera Theater’s production of The Marriage of Figaro at the Colonial Theatre, BLO’s own numerous productions at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre from 1989 to 1998, even its family performances at John Hancock Hall – BLO is embracing and celebrating the past as it creates the future.


Pursuing artistic and institutional growth while maintaining continuity with its historical ideals is perhaps the greatest source of the strength that the Company has demonstrated repeatedly in the face of adversity. It has adapted continuously to changing times, but has never lost sight of its original goals. This approach has certainly characterized the Nelson era. With a clear vision of what she hoped to accomplish from the outset of her administration – presenting thoughtful interpretations of works from all eras and exploring their relevance to the present by engaging highly accomplished and exciting artists to bring them to life – the Company has consistently reached and grown under her direction. Along the way Nelson has picked up multiple strands of community connection to weave into an ever-stronger Boston identity for the Company. BLO is attaining the desired status of iconic civic institution worthy of widespread community support through its stellar performances and community engagement offerings, through its longevity, now unrivaled by that of any other opera company in Boston history, and through the professionalism of its Board and management, which exists to a degree unprecedented in Boston opera circles.


BLO continually strives to answer all the critical voices it has always heard calling out in its direction, voices demanding that it be innovative without risking financial stability, that it remain true to its Boston roots without compromising excellence, that it prove Boston to be an “opera city.” In 1992 as the entire opera scene in Boston, and BLO with it, underwent massive change by means of institutional reorganization, a critic sermonized on the theme that any Boston opera company that would dare to view itself as a worthy successor to Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston or to compare itself to the short-lived paragon of excellence he found in the Boston Opera Theater would have to “present work that [is] both distinctively Bostonian and world-class.”[48] In 2016 it can be said that Boston Lyric Opera has arrived at that point and perhaps has proved, as Aesop opined in his telling of the fable of the Hare and the Tortoise, that slow and steady wins the race.



August 4, 2014

Revised, March, 2016

Updated, June, 2016



[1] Reconfigured versions of works produced by BLO under Esther Nelson include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, music by Benjamin Britten, libretto adapted from Shakespeare by Britten and Peter Pears, performed April 29, May 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 2011, at the Shubert Theatre, in “a smaller string group arrangement of the original 1960 Aldeburgh production,” prepared by David Angus, see notes from the General & Artistic Director, p. 6 of Playbill for the Boston Lyric Opera’s production; Carmen (see Part V, note 25); Macbeth, music by Giuseppe Verdi, libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and Andrea Maffei after William Shakespeare’s drama, performed November 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 2011, at the Shubert Theatre, in a version in which the score was “recrafted” to exclude music and repeats originally designed to cover scene changes but which slows down the momentum and is unnecessary in “a swift modern production,” see Music Director’s Notes, p. 18 of Playbill for the Boston Lyric Opera production; The Magic Flute (see Part IV, note 20); I Puritani, music by Vincenzo Bellini, libretto by Carlo Pepoli, performed May 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 2014, at the Shubert Theatre, in a version with a dramatically altered ending; a more recent (new) production of Don Giovanni, music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, performed May 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 2015, at the Shubert Theatre, in a version that eliminated the epilogue; and The Merry Widow, music by Franz Lehár, book by Lillian Groag after the original by Viktor Léon and Leo Stein, with English Lyrics by John Wells, performed April 29, May 1, 4, 6, 8, 2016, at the Shubert Theatre, in which the new book made a statement about Europe on the eve of World War I, an entirely non-traditional setting and approach to the work; also the Opera Annex productions of The After-Image, music by Richard Beaudoin, libretto by the composer after Rainer Maria Rilke, Friedrich Rückert, and William Henry Fox Talbot, performed as prologue to and commentary on The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits, music by Viktor Ullmann, play in one act by Petr Kien, edited from the sources and adapted for the stage by Henning Brauel, performed February 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 2011, at Boston Center for the Arts; Clemency (see Part V, note 24) presented with Hagar’s Lament (see Part V, note 31) as prologue; and Lizzie Borden, a chamber version in seven scenes, music by Jack Beeson, libretto by Kenward Elmslie, orchestration by Todd Bashore, dramaturgy by John Conklin, presented November 20, 22, 23, 24, 2013, at The Castle at Park Plaza.

[2] The After-Image (see note 1) as prologue to and commentary upon The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits (see note 1)  was commissioned by BLO; Clemency (see note 1) was co-commissioned by BLO; The Lighthouse, music and libretto by Peter Maxwell Davies, performed February 8, 9, 11, 12, 2012, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, involved extensive consultation with the composer; The Inspector (see Part IV, note 20) brought John Musto to town for participation in community engagement programs as well as work with the creative team; and Philip Glass consulted with the creative team for the production of In the Penal Colony, music by Glass, libretto by Rudolph Wurlitzer, based on the story by Franz Kafka, performed November 11, 12, 14, 15, 2015, at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts.

[3] Lizzie Borden, see note 1.

[4] Le Vin Herbé, music by Frank Martin, based on the novel Tristan et Iseut by Joseph Bédier, performed in English translation by Hugh Macdonald as The Love Potion, November 19, 20, 22, 23, 2014, at Temple Ohabei Shalom

[5] Don Giovanni, see Part V, note 9; The Flying Dutchman, music and libretto by Richard Wagner, U.S. premiere of the 1841 critical edition by Isolde Vetter, performed April 26, 28, May 1, 3, 5, 2013, at the Shubert Theatre.

[6] The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits, see note 1.

[7] The After-Image, see note 1.

[8] Hagar’s Lament, see Part V, note 31.

[9] Clemency, see Part V, note 20.

[10] Message from the General & Artistic Director from the Playbill, p. 7, for the Boston Lyric Opera production of The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits, and its prologue, The After-Image, see note 1.

[11] Program notes from the Playbill, p. 18, for the Boston Lyric Opera production of The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits and its prologue, The After-Image, see note 1.

[12] Message from the General & Artistic Director from the Playbill for Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Clemency and its prologue, Hagar’s Lament, see Part V, note 24 and note 31. In the same message Nelson notes the unique community partnership established in the course of producing this edition of the Opera Annex. Youth artists of Artists for Humanity, whose Epicenter building became the performance venue, participated in the creative process with BLO professional staff, resulting in valuable learning opportunities for young people who are considering careers in the arts.

[13] MacMillan, James. Clemency. Michelle Trainor (Hagar), Christine Abraham (Sarah), Neal Ferreira, Samuel Levine, David McFerrin (Three Travellers), David Kravitz (Abraham), Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra, cond. David Angus. BIS BIS-2129 (one CD), released November 19, 2014.

[14] Works debuted at BLO under Esther Nelson are Idomeneo (see Part V, note 8); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (see note 1); The Emperor of Atlantis, or Death Quits (see note 1); Verdi’s Macbeth (see note 1); The Lighthouse (see note 2); The Inspector (see Part IV, note 20); Clemency (see Part V, note 20); Lizzie Borden (see note 1); The Love Potion (see note 4); Kátya Kabanová, (see Part V, note 35); In the Penal Colony (see note 2); and The Merry Widow (see note 1).

[15] Operas recently returned to BLO’s stage are The Turn of the Screw (see Part V, note 33); Ariadne auf Naxos (see Part V, note 27); Agrippina, music by George Frideric Handel, libretto by Vincenzo Grimani, performed March 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22, 2011, at the Shubert Theatre; The Flying Dutchman (see note 4) [previous BLO presentation not staged]; The Magic Flute (see Part IV, note 20); I Puritani (see note 5); and Werther, music by Jules Massenet, libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet, and Georges Hartmann, based on The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, performed March 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 2016, at the Shubert Theatre.

[16] Werther, see note 15.

[17] See, for example, among many other reviews, praise for BLO’s casting, conducting, directing, choral work, visuals, in “Darkening ‘Dream’: Boston Lyric Opera presents Britten’s take  on Shakespeare,” by Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, April 30, 2011, p. B12; “Boston Lyric Opera’s ‘Dutchman’ brings Wagner back to Boston,” by Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, April 29, 2013, p. G3; “Lyric Opera offers energetic and traditional ‘Rigoletto,’” by  Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, March 16, 2014, p. B12.

[18] See similar praise in, for example, “Boston Lyric Opera: Agrippina,” posted by Susan on March 20, 2011, viewed on; “Oppressor’s Tale, Written in Oppression,” by Allan Kozinn, published in The New York Times, February 2, 2011, viewed on; Review: “The Inspector,” by Kalen Ratzlaff, Opera News, August 2012, vol. 77, no. 2, viewed on; “Boston Lyric Opera finds new ways to break hearts in ‘Madama Butterfly,’” by Susan Blood, November 6, 2012, viewed on

[19] “Boston Lyric Opera receives $5 million grant,” by David Weininger, The Boston Globe, April 29, 2015, p. B12

[20] “BLO to part ways with Citi Shubert,” by Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, October 10, 2015, p. A12

[21] General & Artistic Director’s Welcome in program notes for BLO’s production of In the Penal Colony, see note 2.

[22] Thomas M. Menino was mayor of Boston from 1993 through 2013.

[23] See Part III, note 14 for BLO connection.

[24] “Walsh hits right chords with Cultural leaders: Details awaited for arts agenda,” by Geoff Edgers in The Boston Globe, December 5, 2013, p. A1

[25] Ibid

[26]“Mayor fills his first full day,” by Andrew Ryan and Wesley Lowery, in The Boston Globe, p. A1

[27] “Cultural leader in Chicago to be Boston arts, chief; Burros to draw blueprint, vows a welcoming climate,” by Joel Brown, The Boston Globe, September, 24, 2014, p.A1

[28] Ibid

[29] Colonial Theatre, see Part II, note 34.

[30] Boston University Theatre is an 890 seat facility on Huntington Avenue near Symphony Hall. The theater and two adjacent buildings that accommodate scenery shops and storage have been owned by the University for 62 years.

[31] “BLO to part ways with Citi Shubert,” by Jeremy Eichler, op. cit.

[32] The Boston Foundation is a 100 year old community philanthropic organization.

[33] “Boston arts scene gets little institutional funding,” by Malcolm Gay, The Boston Globe, January 20, 2016, p. A1

[34] Ibid

[35] Program notes, BLO production of La Bohème, music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, October 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 2015, at the Shubert Theatre

[36] Boston Lyric Opera media release, October 21, 2015

[37] Ibid

[38] Chairman’s Welcome, program notes for BLO’s production of In the Penal Colony, see note 2.

[39] “New BLO season will put opera back in the Opera House,” by Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, March 24, 2016, p. B12

[40] The Opera House, see Part II, note 24.

[41] Carmen, music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy; production by Calixto Bieito, revival director Joan Anton Rechi

[42] The Rake’s Progress, music by Igor Stravinsky, libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman, last performed by BLO in the 1986-1987 season

[43] Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre, BLO’s home from 1989 to 1998; see page 12.

[44] The Marriage of Figaro, music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, last performed by BLO in the 2006-2007 season

[45] John Hancock Hall is an 800-1,100 seat auditorium (depending on configuration of stage and orchestra pit) within a 1947 Art Deco style skyscraper. When Opera New England served as BLO’s outreach and education division, it performed one hour versions of popular operas for families and school groups there; see page 26.

[46] Greek, music by Mark-Anthony Turnage, based on Steven Berkoff’s stage play of the same title, libretto adapted by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Jonathan Moore

[47] The Paramount Center originally opened in 1923 as a movie theatre. It fell into decline, then was purchased by Emerson College and reopened in 2008 as a 550 seat theater within a complex of performance and teaching spaces.

[48] “Lyric’s welcome move toward peace on the opera front,” by Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe, February 9, 1992, p. B34


Topics: #40DaysofOpera, BLO, BLO history

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