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 »

Contemplating opera in the ‘Age of Surtitles’

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of BAMirror’s goals is to be an online salon, a place where you can join in a conversation about the arts. I’m going to share some of my recent reflections and hope that you will chime in (like that musical allusion?) with some thoughts of your own.

Ever since the final curtain call of Tri-Cities Opera’s recent production of “The Elixir of Love,” I’ve been thinking about surtitles (those subtitles “over” the stage that translate the lyrics) and how they have affected my opera-going experience. I saw my first opera, “Tosca,” at TCO at age 10. I read the synopsis in the program, which gave the plot and a general gist of the famous arias. After that, I had to rely on the staging, the singers’ body language and the emotion of the music to follow the story, because I didn’t speak Italian. But that was fine. I was swept up, transported and completely hooked into a lifetime of loving opera.

As an adult, I joined the TCO chorus and found myself learning some of the scores twice, because shows were offered in both the original language and in English.  (There were six performances over two weekends in those days.) Comedies were always in English so that you could catch the verbal humor, a programming decision I heartily supported despite the sometimes awkward phrasing. But the dramas, the tragedies? Couldn’t they just let things be? Read the rest of this entry »

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

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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Were you active in the arts this past week?

Share the things you liked (or didn’t). Give suggestions for shows to see. Help start a dialogue among the art lovers of Greater Binghamton.

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 »

Hoffman talks about managing Forum, Arena

After hearing Brian Hoffman’s speech, “A Delicate Balance,” on Tuesday, it is tempting to start referring to The Forum and the Broome County Arena — the facilities for which Hoffman is general manager – as “the little venues that could.” As Hoffman pointed out to members of the Communications Association of the Southern Tier, “shows keep getting bigger and bigger,” but Broome’s two county-run performing arts spaces remain the same. Read the rest of this entry »

A Wonderful ‘Figaro’ at Tri-Cities Opera

Review submitted by Tony Villecco

To open its 61st season, Binghamton’s Tri-Cities Opera has produced a visually and vocally sparkling “Le Nozze di Figaro.” Mozart’s perennial favorite, based on the story by Beaumarchais with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, has retained all of its humor and pathos, commenting on the division of class structure with as much relevance today as when it premiered in 1786. But make no mistake, it is the music that shines, and the majority of these young singers rose to its challenges. Read the rest of this entry »

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