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Regional Opera Company of the Week: Boheme Opera, NJ

Related: Boheme Opera Company New Jersey

BroadwayWorld.com, the largest theatre site on the net, continues its expansion into other areas of entertainment with our latest feature -'The Regional Opera Company of the Week'.

This week's featured Opera Company is Boheme Opera New Jersey

Boheme Opera’s history began in the most unassuming of places: a simple church parking lot. The company took its first steps in 1982, seven years before it was officially launched, with an outdoor production of I Pagliacci. The formative years that followed saw small milestones that helped to set the stage for 1989, when Boheme Opera ushered in its inaugural season as a producer of opera theater with productions of Verdi’s La Traviata at Trenton Central High School and in Truman High School in Bristol, Pennsylvania.

Within its first five main stage seasons, Boheme Opera developed its repertoire and mission, offering growing audiences pre-curtain talks, projectEd English supertitles, original sets and costumes, casting of accomplished artists from the rosters of major U.S. companies and abroad, collaborative classic ballet sequences and open invited dress rehearsals. During this time, the company also established its model for educational outreach, including its High School Apprenticeship Program, backstage tours, a visiting opera program with local middle schools and college course presentations. During this period, the company established its new home at the Patriots Theater of the War Memorial in Trenton.

In recent seasons, Boheme Opera has shown its stage versatility by presenting works that embody the spectacle of opera, but are not recognized as traditional opera:

• The American opera Susannah, by Carlisle Floyd
Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (which received American Masterpiece Program funding from the National Endowment for the Arts)
• The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan

West Side Story exemplified Boheme Opera’s goal of broadening its programming to cultivate a new generation of prospective opera goers. The Company gave a free daytime performance of the production to over 1,100 students from 17 schools and education groups in 5 different NJ counties & Bucks County, PA.

While economic and entertainment trends are changing, the company is seeking avenues to attract younger and more diverse audiences. It recently facilitated an accredited college internship opportunity with Mercer County Community College for students pursuing careers in opera and theater, while continuing to offer professional experience to young choristers, emerging artists, and professional designers and directors.

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by Richard Sasanow