Many of you know that the Baltimore Concert Opera had its beginnings during a very difficult time for opera lovers in Baltimore. We began shortly after the former Baltimore Opera Company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, or protection from creditors. Soon after that, and much to our dismay, the storied BOC filed for Chapter 7, or complete liquidation. We formed the Baltimore Concert Opera as a way to keep people interested in opera, and hopefully, to reach a new audience…until grand opera returned.
That time is NOW! I’m personally over-the-moon to have the priveledge to be involved in Lyric Opera Baltimore’s innaugural production of La Traviata. For me, it truly is like “old home week,” with many friends who are downright giddy to return to their home-field. There is an almost indescribable positive energy surrounding this project, I feel it from the cast, the crew, the orchestra, and I’m all but certain that we’ll feel it from the audience this weekend.
My hope is that the anticipated public response outweighs all of the negativity, disappointment and despair that surrounded the collapse of the former BOC. I know that patrons lost money on subscriptions, that donors saw donations and assets flushed, and that the general public felt a little…well…screwed (for lack of a better word). My advice to those folks is simple:
Take a look a who lost the most in the collapse of the Baltimore Opera Company. I lost a good bit of income as a member of the chorus, but nothing I couldn’t survive. Full time employees found themselves out of a job, many have landed on their feet elsewhere. One person, who in my mind was the heart and soul of the former company (no offense to the many other former employees that kept that company going!) is Jim Harp. Those that know Jim, know that he lives and breathes opera….it is not just a job, it is his life. A lesser man could have sunk into a deep depression, having the operatic carpet pulled out from under him…but Maestro Harp got to work….doing what he does best, bringing opera to the people of Baltimore.
As one who has been fortunate enough to have a birds-eye view of rehearsals this week, I am comfortable stating that this production will not only be on par with what patrons of the former opera company experienced, it will be even more grand. If you haven’t already purchased a ticket, don’t miss your chance to get in on the ground floor with this exciting new company housed in familiar surroundings!
So what does this mean for the Baltimore Concert Opera? We’ve learned in the past three years that we are much more than a “placeholder.” We’ve no intention of closing up shop now that grand opera is back in town…in fact, we plan to work harder, in order to help find a new audience for this art form that we love so much…these are indeed exciting times, please get involved!