Opera Columbus

DiBlasio Photography / catco.org

It's a torrid late-summer day as I type these lines. I equate the cooler weather and the longer evenings with opening nights!

Columbus looks forward to plenty of first nights in the next several weeks, as the new arts season begins.

Opera Project Columbus / Facebook

A number of years ago, two dedicated opera lovers — Julie Castrop and Heather Spence — built a new company called Opera Columbus around Alessandro Siciliani, then conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

journal.juilliard.edu

Opera Columbus presents Benjamin Britten's operatic horror story The Turn of the Screw in the Southern Theatre, Wednesday, Sept. 27, Friday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Oct. 1.

Based on the novella of the same name by Henry James, The Turn of the Screw concerns a governess employed at a crumbling Victorian era mansion and the two children in her care. Miles and Flora appear to be charming, boisterous kids.

But all is not as it seems.

Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington Facebook page

One of the many joys of this job is seeing locally based talent grow to become a thriving entity. Such is the case with Antoine Clark, a young clarinetist and conductor who holds a doctorate in musical arts from Ohio State University.

Five years ago, Clark formed the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra. The chamber orchestra is now entering its fifth season, in residence at the eponymous performing arts venue in Worthington.

operacolumbus.org

The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts take a summer break, and I step in to bring you grand opera, both favorites and the unexpected. Opera and More returns to Classical 101 at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20, followed by every Saturday afternoon through the fall.

Photoplayers Studio / Wikimedia Commons

Most people know the ditty about the toreador not spitting on the floor. 

Carmen, filled with tunes long made popular, has a foolproof story—sultry gypsy seduces clueless corporal and dumps him for a bullfighter. Wouldn't you? Unhappy corporal follows Carmen and the toreador to the bullring and stabs her to death while the crowd cheers on the the bull—the animal, I mean. Curtain. Applause.

But there's a lot more to it than that.

balletmet.org

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful," Mae West once said.

Can one city have too many performances of symphony, opera, ballet, theater and chamber music?

Absolutely not.

April has always been a busy month for the local arts calendar, but this month may be record-setting in the variety, quantity and sheer quality of local offerings. And it's just the beginning of what's to come this spring.

Recently I was reminded that Mozart wrote his final opera, Die Zauberflöte "The Magic Flute," as entertainment for a suburban theater outside Vienna. He expected the audience to be engaged, energetic and joyful. After all, those elements are clear in Mozart's music, and Emanuel Schikaneder's Theater auf der Wieden included a tavern and a casino. Between wine, billiards and Mozart, a good time was had by all.

No wine and no billiards, but Opera Columbus did a smashing job last week with an abridged Magic Flute adapted for kids.

Opera Columbus

Opera Columbus presents Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio in an updated staging, complete with James Bond, dry martinis, beautiful people and villains just waiting to be vanquished.

Showtimes for Mission: Seraglio include 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 (Mozart's 261st birthday) and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29th at the Southern Theatre.

The opera is sung in German, with English-language dialog.

In baseball, when your team needs a good batter at the last minute— either due to another batter's injury or just strategy— you enlist the help of a pinch hitter.

Last week, when the young male soprano soloist cast in Twisted 2 started to undergo a sudden voice change, the CSO, Opera Columbus, BalletMet and the Columbus Children's Choir needed a pinch hitter to step up to bat. Luckily, they have seasoned soprano, Claire Ferguson.

All Sides Weekend: Arts

Sep 16, 2016
Jrdphotography / Wikimedia Commons

For the second time, the Columbus flagship performing arts organizations are joining forces. Opera Columbus, BalletMet, and the Columbus Symphony will come together for a sequel performance of their successful show, Twisted. Also, VSA will be hosting an Arts and Autism Conference next week.

operacolumbus.org

Opera Columbus has pulled La Boheme into the 21st century. Their modern, new production of the Puccini classic is set in the wreckage of post-Katrina New Orleans.

Artistic Director Peggy Kriha-Dye and soprano Talya Lieberman - winner of the 2014 Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition - joined me live on Classical 101 to discuss this production and Lieberman's Columbus debut.

Columbus Southern Theatre looking out at the seating area from the stage
Andrew Blight / Flickr Creative Commons

For the last 35 years, Opera Columbus has provided the capital city with a hometown company and amazing works. However before his fabulous organization was born, Columbus had a long history with opera. 

Opera Columbus asked me to write the following in 1995,  for its 25th anniversary program. I just found this and offer it here as written. Remember this was 20 years ago, and this is a look at Opera IN Columbus, not a history of Opera Columbus.

Opera Columbus / youtube.com

Opera and More, the weekly opera program on Classical 101, presents Mozart's The Marriage of Figarosung in English, Saturday September 5th at 1:00 PM. Jason Hiester conducts members of the Columbus Symphony and Columbus's own Adam Cioffari came home from an international career to sing the title role. Other local favorites in the cast: Leo Welsh, Sam Hall, and Susan Millard Schwartz.

Opera Columbus image / operacolumbus.org

  Opera Columbus and Ballet Met collaborate on a new production of Lully's baroque spectacle, Armide at the Southern theater September 17, 18 and 20. The choreography is by Ballet Met's own Edwaard Liang. The title role is sung by Opera Columbus executive director and hot diva in residence, Peggy Kriha Dye.

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