Vermont Opera Theater

P.O. Box 869
Montpelier, VT 05601

History :

Vermont Opera Theater, based in Central Vermont, has been producing works of musical theater since 1984. Although small it strives for professional quality, and provides opportunity for local Vermont singers as well as singers from "away," as we say in Vermont. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, incorporated in the State of Vermont, and an Affiliate Member of OPERA America.

Our history begins with The Merry Widow, followed by such works as Orpheus in the Underworld, The Threepenny Opera, The Barber of Seville, scene shows, and La Perichole. More recent productions include a program of three one-acts in repertory (Argento's The Boor, Puccini's Suor Angelica, and the G&S classic Trial by Jury), Cosi fan Tutte, I Pagliacci, and the premiere of Vermont composer Ernest Stire's Pablo's Circus.

In 1998 the company indulged its interest in chamber opera and works seldom (if ever) seen in Vermont by presenting three contemporary pieces by Judith Weir, Paul Hindemith and Dominick Argento in a program called Baby Grand Opera. Another chamber piece, Mozart's The Impresario, followed, in an interesting double-bill along with a short play performed by Montpelier City Hall Art Center's resident acting company, Lost Nation Theater.

Vermont is dotted with "opera houses" dating from the nineteenth century that maybe have never seen an opera (until this company performed there) but much of the musical life of the State is lived in its village churches, the only place in town large enough to hold a performance, and Vermont Opera Theater has sung in its share of them. In the photo above in Montpelier's Unitarian Church, the cast is bowing after an intriguing opera recital, an original compilation by Tim Tavcar based on an account of an actual visit of Wagner with Rossini called "Musical Musings from Paris 1860."

Encouraging the art of singing is the company's chief goal. Since 1991, we have been proud to host two renowned performers and teachers of song, Dalton Baldwin and Lorraine Nubar, in an annual Foliage Art Song weekend of master classes and performances of art song, mélodie, and Lieder, to which many fine singers from Canada and the Northeast US have come to polish their craft.

Summer Opera Workshops are a newer venture. Our first ones were held in 2000 and 2001. For them we were fortunate to have been able to invite the very experienced Maestro Leonard Dumitriu, conductor at the Iási Romanian Opera House in Iási, Romania, and a composer himself of some well-received operas and other works.

For the Millennium Year, Vermont Opera Theater commissioned Vermont composer Erik Nielsen to create an opera, A Fleeting Animal: An Opera from Judevine,which had its world premiere in October 2000. For Christmas 2001, in honor of its 50th anniversary, we mounted (for the second time) Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. That season ended with everyone's favorite opera, Carmen, in a chamber version that concentrated on the lyrical "heart" of the opera. More recently, we produced a concert version of an old charmer, an operetta "The Blonde Donna, or the Fiesta of Santa Barbara" by Ernest Carter, whose grandson Ted Richards was the narrator.
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