Few regional arts organizations exude the steady passion, commitment, and love of an art form that Boheme Opera NJ has for 30 years. Seeded in the 1980s in the Italian Chambersburg section of Trenton, Boheme evolved to become an accomplished producer of main stage opera, a source of opportunity for career artists, designers, and directors from across the United States, and a conduit to opera lovers and new opera audiences through outreach and collaborative programming.
Currently New Jersey’s longest-standing year-round opera company, Boheme has been recognized and funded in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for more than 23 years.
Its history has shown the weathering of periodic economic challenges and changes in performance venues. The company initiated its first season in 1989 at the site of the old Trenton Central High School. In 1991 its third season moved productions to the old Trenton War Memorial Building. In 1994, while the War Memorial was receiving a long overdue renovation, Boheme performed for five seasons at Villa Victoria Academy, returning in 1999 to an impressive refurbished Patriots Theater at the War Memorial. In 2011, focusing a more educational eye on its art form, Boheme moved its main stage to its current home, Kendall Main Stage Theater at The College of New Jersey, where it has developed new staging, technological and audience development components.
Co-founders Joseph and Sandra Pucciatti, together with its board of directors headed by Boheme president and opera aficionado Jerrold Kalstein, have assembled a season of diverse themes and expanded outreach. Two stagings are at the core of Boheme’s 31st season. A unique performance on Saturday, December 7, at 6 p.m. of Gian Carlo Menotti’s iconic “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” followed by the delightful choral work, Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria” featuring the Boheme Opera Chorus and Chamber Orchestra. This takes place at one of Trenton’s largest churches, Immaculate Conception Church of Our Lady of the Angels Parish.
The highlight of the season is a fully-staged production of Giuseppe Verdi’s gritty “Rigoletto” with performances at TCNJ’s Kendall Main Stage Theater on Friday, April 17, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 19, at 3 p.m. A masterpiece of extremes, the popular Verdi work has a sense of moral ambiguity. With a fantastic balance between the grand and the intimate — from the nasty world of the Duke of Mantua to the tranquility and isolation of Gilda, Rigoletto’s innocent daughter — “Rigoletto” is an opera that has it all.
Boheme Opera’s fall 2019 is busy with an array of events up close and personal. An on-site live four-event free performance series with narratives is being presented on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. at Monroe Township Public Library. Septe,ner 11 features That Touch of Genius, highlighting three operas, each created by two separate composers. October 2 offers a look at the creating of an opera titled Worthy of Note, as composer Scott Wheeler talks with Jerrold Kalstein about the different aspects of modern opera. November 13 spotlights the music of Lerner and Loewe in I’ve Grown Accustomed. December 11 presents From Opera to Broadway, about modern Broadway’s genesis from 200 years ago.
Additional events include a concert-staging of Gaetano Donizetti’s comic Don Pasquale on Saturday, October 5, at 7 p.m. at Monroe Township Senior Center and Boheme’s 8th Annual Holiday Presentation on Friday, December 13, at 7 p.m. at Hamilton’s Grounds For Sculpture.
Join Boheme as it kicks off its fourth decade of an amazing art form. Visit www.bohemeopera.com.