The Bronx Opera turns 47
The Bronx Opera Company opened their 47th season on Saturday evening, Jan. 11, with the New York premiere of Kirke Mechem’s The Rivals at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre.
Founded in 1967 by Michael Spierman, the company’s artistic and music director, the Bronx Opera is thriving as the company approaches its golden anniversary.
Thanks to Mr. Spierman’s artistic intuitiveness, hard work, foresight and sound business sense, the Bronx Opera continues to provide the borough and New York City with some of the highest quality operatic productions in the country.
The opera company’s stage is widely recognized as one of the few places today where young, gifted singers and musicians can launch their careers — many have gone on to appear in roles at the Metropolitan Opera and other famed operatic venues. It is also a place where talented, dedicated and seasoned performers can continue to demonstrate their skills.
Mr. Spierman has applied an eclectic approach to presenting the borough with opera, choosing to perform the works of living composers as well classics from the repertoire that still have massive appeal and lesser known operas from the past that he believes deserve more attention. All of the company’s productions are performed in English.
This season is a fine example of how Mr. Spierman applies his vision to the company’s program. In addition to the work of Mr. Mechem, who is 88-years-old and resides in San Francisco, Calif., the group will perform Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata later this year.
While City Opera sadly went of business in 2013 and smaller opera companies come and go, the Bronx Opera charges ahead despite a sputtering economy and plummeting funding for the arts.
With an annual budget of just $220,000, it is rather amazing that Mr. Spierman not only produces superior opera but brings it to elementary and high school students across the Bronx.
Mr. Spierman credits the many individuals who contribute what they can to his company, as well as public officials like former Councilman Oliver Koppell, Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz and recently elected Councilman Andrew Cohen, who has pledged his support to arts groups in our community.
We encourage everyone to support the Bronx Opera to ensure future generations can enjoy the company’s productions as many of us have.