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 »

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.”

Financial uncertainties prompt TCO restructuring

The Tri-Cities Opera Board of Directors and TCO General Director Reed Smith presented a major restructuring of the 61-year-old opera company at its annual board and guild meeting on June 22. The following is a press release issued by TCO: 

“The Board of Directors of Tri-Cities Opera have announced a variety of changes to better position the company financially while improving its service to local and regional audiences .As a result, the following changes have already taken place.

Months of research have examined opportunities to reduce expenses, off load costs and provide better efficiencies. Most recently TCO concluded a workshop looking at these issues with the President and CEO of OPERA America.

1) The development of new partnerships through Binghamton University’s School of Music.

2) Peyton Hibbitt, Co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, has been offered an adjunct faculty position as part of the MM-Opera program at Binghamton University.

3) Duane Skrabalak, Senior Artistic Director, has retired. Read the rest of this entry »

YNN reports impending changes at TCO

Did you catch this YNN item about Tri-Cities Opera earlier this month? (YNN is Your News Now, the Time Warner 24-hour news channel.)

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Changes could be coming to Binghamton’s Tri-Cities Opera.

The opera company has been a local fixture for more than 60 years and announced its lineup for next season just a couple weeks ago. But a source with close ties to Tri-Cities tells YNN the opera company is now dealing with fiscal difficulties. The source says a number of options are being considered. Some may involve personnel.

We contacted General Manager Reed Smith. He says the Opera’s board is looking at some changes, but declined to get into specifics. Smith said any announcements about decisions made would come in June. He added the Opera’s next season will go on as planned.

Tri-Cities Opera runs an artist training program and holds several full-scale productions each season.

Here’s a link:

http://centralny.ynn.com/content/all_news/504497/changes-could-be-on-the-way-for-tri-cities-opera/

TCO ‘Elixir’ should prove aural and visual treat

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reviewer Tony Villecco attended Wednesday’s final dress rehearsal for the Tri-Cities Opera production of “The Elixir of Love” and heard the opening night cast. Performances are at 8 p.m today (April 30) and 3 p.m. Sunday (May 2) at The Forum, 236 Washington St., Binghamton. Tickets: Call 772-0400, or visit www.tricitiesopera.com.

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

The first time I saw Donizetti’s comic opera “The Elixir of Love” was in the ’80s, and Richard Leech sang Nemorino, the romantic tenor lead. He then went on to both national and international acclaim. I predict the same will happen with Tri-Cities Opera Resident Artist Kirk Dougherty. Make no mistake — Dougherty has the goods, and then some. Not only is he in procession of an exceptionally beautiful tenor, but he projects well, is a very capable actor and has stage presence to boot. The opera’s most famous aria, “Una furtiva lagrima,” was delivered beautifully. Read the rest of this entry »

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