Boston is certainly not New York or Milan and it’s always had only relatively limited operatic offerings. Many local opera buffs have been known to head to New York on weekends when nothing is on.
Now, thanks to a number of upstart fringe companies dedicated to producing new work for admission prices less than most box office fees, there’s a lot to see, and it’s more accessible than it has ever been. Include the reliable work of Boston’s two operatic warhorses, and the local opera scene appears to be in a state of perpetual growth.
By Bryce Lambert
Boston Lyric Opera
45 Franklin Street
Boston, MA 02110-1316
Boston Lyric Opera is New England’s largest opera company, with four splendid productions each season, three of them in the opulent setting of the Shubert Theater, and a fourth in a different annexed space each year. In 2009-10 it was the Park Plaza Castle, originally built as an armory. If ticket prices exceed your entertainment budget, try their free educational series at the Boston Public Library that includes performance excerpts. If children are keeping you home, try their annual open house and family-friendly opera.
25 Kingston Street, 3R
Boston, MA 02111-2200
Younger than the BLO, but no less a mainstay in the local opera scene, Opera Boston produces three full-scale operas each season on the lushly restored stage of Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theatre. The company has experienced exponential growth over recent years and garnered itself international acclaim for inspired productions and premieres. For something more casual, mark your calendars with their annual Opera Underground performance, where they present an unconventional repertoire in even less conventional club spaces.
Boston Midsummer Opera
Box 513, 66 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
In recent summers, when every other opera company in town is on break, Boston Midsummer Opera has been bringing audiences critically acclaimed productions.
Sung in English and produced with an eye towards contemporary relevance and appeal, BMO’s productions are ideal for casual opera-goers seeking low ticket costs and accessibility.
Charles Street Station
PO Box 140377
Boston, MA 02115
Young and youthfully edgy, OperaHub’s MO is to shake things up and they’re incredibly successful at it. Their unique cocktail of cabaret and opera brings new work to audiences and new audiences to opera throughout a free season of operas staged at intimate venues about Boston. OperaHub is the first stop for young audiences seeking a fresh voice in opera that saves some money for dinner and drinks.
Bryce Lambert blogs on the Boston arts scene at BostonLowbrow.com, offering the occasional review and commentary on local shows, concerts, and art exhibitions.