On Boston’s Opera Past & Future
Over the past century, Bostonians have seen many opera companies come and go, leaving artists and audience goers alike wondering “is Boston really an opera city?” We’ve seen small and large opera companies and organizations fall due to slow fund-raising in a down economy, budget cuts, and lack of appropriate venue spaces. Those of us in the arts community know that there is a presence of opera in this city. We know that Boston is a city with a thriving arts scene, and electrical musical talent.
The bigger question circulating in the opera community these days is how to reach an audience that has developed a mindset that opera is not their cup of tea. For some, opera is intimidating and too grand. Sitting in a 4 hour opera, in a language one might not recognize seems to place the art form just out of reach for some. But all the reasons one chooses not to attend an opera, should be the exact reasons one actually uses to attend! Opera grants audiences a unique opportunity to immerse themselves into a different culture and period of time. It gives one an opportunity to be exposed to different languages and dialects and to witness storytelling strictly told through song and dramatic characterization. Companies and organizations across the world are constantly finding ways to take classic traditional opera, and adding a contemporary modern spin, making opera more accessible and relatable. It can be, simply put, one of the most engaging experiences you can find inside a theatre.
This season, local opera companies and organizations from across the city are teaming up to bring opera to the forefront in Boston again. In celebration of Boston Lyric Opera’s 40th season, organizations small and large in the opera community of Boston are collaborating to present a series of live concerts and events, along with film and other engagement activities.
Join us this season as we take part in this collaborative celebration, by bringing our audiences opera in various forms. To kick off the ArtsEmerson presentation of opera, we are excited showcase in partnership with BLO, a weekend series of stage-to-screen opera performances captured on film, screened in The Paramount’s 4th floor movie theater. The incredible lineup includes:
August 26th, 2016
La Damnation de Faust
August 27th, 2016
Lucia di Lammermoor
August 28th, 2016
Le Nozze di Figaro
We are also excited to present the world premiere of the Ouroboros Trilogy: Madame White Snake, Gilgamesh, and Naga in partnership with Beth Morrison Projects. All three productions have casts full of world class artists, as well as choristers from around the Greater Boston area, and voices of the Boston Children’s Chorus. As executive director David C. Howse put it in his program note for the trilogy: “Opera is no stranger to the Cutler Majestic Theatre. Truth be told, the theatre was built in 1903 for the broad range of European operas of the day. More than a one-hundred years later, we sit here together to experience the most contemporary opera of 2016.”
Madame White Snake, Gilgamesh, and Naga will be shown separately, as well as in full day, seven-hour marathon events. Gala tickets to benefit Ouroboros Trilogy are also on sale for Opening Day, September 10.
Opera in Boston is making strides, becoming versatile and flexible, while drawing in more diverse crowds. The music scene in Boston has formed a sort of nomadic alliance, sharing venues and spaces, coming together to give opera-goers compelling productions filled with intimacy and beautiful sound.
We are honored to join forces with many of Boston’s leading producers with hopes of creating opportunities for opera-goers and novices to experience opera throughout Boston.
For more information on where you can see opera happening this season, check out http://40days.blo.org. There you will find an interactive calendar of opera events running between the 23rd of August and 2nd of October. Also when attending these various events, be sure to use the #40DaysofOpera on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to connect with other opera and art supporters.
-Todd McNeel, AUG 17, 2016