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Berkshire Opera Festival Announces Indoor Full Capacity Summer Season


Featuring new productions of Falstaff and Glory Denied.

Berkshire Opera Festival Announces Indoor Full Capacity Summer Season

The fast-growing Berkshire Opera Festival moves full steam ahead after last summer's pandemic cancellations and virtual programs. In accordance with Massachusetts' revised reopening timeline, the two featured operas this summer-at both venues-will be offered at full capacity. Tickets are on sale through the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office.

The only company of its kind in the region, Berkshire Opera Festival has restored fully-staged opera to the Berkshires, with savvy productions and superlative casts under the vision of co-founders Brian Garman (Artistic Director) and Jonathon Loy (Director of Production). Just a few years after its founding in 2016, Opera News declared "destination status" on the Festival, and Berkshire On Stage wrote "No longer need we confine our opera-going to HD films-now we have the highest quality productions and performers in our own backyard." The New York Times called BOF's Ariadne auf Naxos "one of those productions that change the way you think about things."

This summer, Berkshire Opera Festival presents its first-ever Second Stage production: Tom Cipullo's powerful Glory Denied, based on the true story of America's longest-held prisoner of war. It kicks off the season on July 22 and 24 at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington. Next, the Festival heads to The Mount (Edith Wharton's gorgeous Lenox estate) on August 11 for a free concert, Much Ado About Shakespeare, exploring the world's most famous playwright's influence on opera. Its celebration of the Bard culminates with the season's crown jewel-BOF's new mounting of Verdi's Falstaff August 21-27 at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. This opera-Verdi's last, and one of the world's greatest comedies-will also feature the Berkshire Opera Festival Orchestra and Chorus.

Berkshire Opera Festival recently launched an exciting new digital series on YouTube, OperaLens, which gives audiences an inside look at the inner workings of BOF. The series features conversations, interviews, and presentations with the company's luminary artists, musicians, and staff. BOF's summer fundraiser, Falstaff's Feast, will be held on June 27 at The Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough, MA.0

Berkshire Opera Festival's mainstage show will be Giuseppe Verdi's brilliant comic opera FALSTAFF, which was adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV. One of only two comedies written by Verdi, and his final opera (written when Verdi was almost 80 years old), Falstaff tells the story of Sir John Falstaff's fruitless search for money by writing love letters to wealthy women.

Three performances take place at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. Toronto-born Joshua Major, Chair of Opera Studies at the New England Conservatory, stage directs. The internationally acclaimed cast will star Sebastian Catana, who returns to the BOF stage after a 3-year hiatus. One of the world's most sought-after Verdi baritones, this marks Catana's debut in the role of Falstaff. After his memorable performance in the title role of BOF's Rigoletto in 2018, Opera News wrote "Catana, a Romanian baritone who has sung Schaunard and Valentin at the Met, has genuine Verdian amplitude and attack that few in the world today can match." Seen and Heard International wrote that "his characterization of the hunchbacked court jester was shattering in its intensity."

The cast also features renowned soprano Tamara Wilson as Alice Ford. With a voice described as a "veritable force of nature" (Chicago Tribune), she is the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, and is gaining international recognition for her interpretations of Verdi. BOF Artistic Director and Co-Founder Brian Garman remarked, "I am absolutely thrilled that Tamara will be joining us for this production. Not only does she have one of the world's greatest Verdian voices, she's also a magnificent artist and musician."

Tickets for Falstaff go on sale to the general public on June 25, and start at $20. To purchase in advance, visit the MPAC website or call the MPAC Box Office at (a??413) 528-0100, Wednesday - Saturday, 12 PM to 4 PM.

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