Were you art-full this past week?

Season subscriber that I am, I spent Sunday afternoon with Violetta and her crew at TCO’s lovely production of “La Traviata.” (See review below.) I’ve also been savoring all the award-winning  movies that TCM annually broadcasts as a lead-up to the Oscars. And speaking of films on TV, HBO subscribers should try to catch “The Sunset Limited,” based on a  play by Cormac McCarthy. This dialogue-driven two-man show about faith (or lack thereof) is a great addition to Tommy Lee Jones’ canon of top-notch performances and a strong reminder of what a wonderful actor  Samuel L. Jackson can be when he’s not asked to carry a lightsaber or spew a string of curses.
What’s been art-full in your life this past week? Join the conversation.

TCO ‘La Traviata’ is a feast for the ear and eye

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

Attending Tri-Cities Opera’s final dress rehearsal Wednesday (Feb. 9) for Giuseppe Verdi’s perennial favorite, La Traviata, I did not believe this production could surpass the excellence of last fall’s Cosi Fan Tutte. I was wrong. What maestro John Mario Di Costanzo has done is to, literally, transform the opera’s orchestra to such a high level of playing that it’s hard to imagine these already fine musicians could sound even better. Read the rest of this entry »

Joint fundraiser to benefit TCO and The Forum

Barbara Fiala and Friends of the Forum

r-l Barbara Fiala, TCO Director Reed Smith, Forum Friends Ron Sall and Sue Kirkland, TCO Board Member Dr. Michael Bogdasarian

Tri-Cities Opera and the Friends of the Forum are teaming up Saturday, Feb. 5, for what is being billed as a “gala cocktail party fundraiser” to benefit the Friends’ efforts to finance improvements to the downtown Binghamton theater. Invitations already have been sent to TCO subscribers, but the event, built around an “operalogue” preview of TCO’s upcoming production of La Traviata, was announced to the general public today (Jan. 13) at a press conference on the Forum stage, hosted by Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala.

“I love this theater,” Fiala said of the onetime vaudeville house and movie theater now managed by the county as a performing arts center. “We want to preserve it and even make it better.”

The Friends of the Forum, comprised of government, business and cultural leaders, began in 2009. A previous fund-raising event, tied to the Broadway Theatre League’s presentation of Mamma Mia!, brought in $50,000, Fiala said. The opera collaboration is on a smaller scale; however, TCO General Director Reed Smith expressed hope that it would call attention to the “distinctive cultural experience” of attending a performance in The Forum. Read the rest of this entry »

TCO names stage director for fall show

 Nelson Sheeley has been engaged as stage director for Tri-Cities Opera’s production of “Così fan tutte,” which will be presented Oct. 15 and 17 at The Forum in Binghamton.  Sheeley was most recently stage director at Lake George Opera. He also has  directed at the National Opera Compay, Opera Naples, Whitewater and Sorg Operas, Nevada Opera and the Orchestra of St. Lukes. He has worked in professional theater since 1970 as an actor, director and stage manager.

The announcement today (Aug. 27) was described in a TCO press release as an “unusual change in the production staff (that) occurred as a result of the unexpected late withdrawal by (former TCO Artistic Director) Peter Sicilian.”

“We were very sorry that Mr. Sicilian decided not to go forward with us as our stage director as we had planned,” said TCO General Director Reed W. Smith. “We’re delighted that we could retain Mr. Sheeley’s services. His experience is vast and will fit in nicely with our company and our Resident Artist Training Program.”

John Mario Di Costanzo has been engaged as music director for the entire 2010-2011 TCO season, which also includes “La Traviata” (with Guido LeBron) and “The Tales of Hoffman.”

TCO presents a stunning “Tosca”

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

Tri-Cities Opera last weekend presented a vocally and dramatically searing production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” at The Forum in Binghamton. From the beautiful sets and lighting right down to the smallest details, TCO successfully proved that, with mature adult voices, the difference really is in the singing. Read the rest of this entry »