BxO is the only non-Lincoln Center opera company in NYC to have produced each year since our founding in 1967. BxO presents operas as works of musical theater set to great music by great composers, and broadens the audience for opera. This is accomplished by keeping ticket prices low ($40 and under); by performing all operas in English; and by the work we do with Schools and Community Organizations in The Bronx. All of this work strengthens BxO, enabling us to carry the banner of The Bronx throughout the area and beyond. All productions are sung in English and are performed with orchestra and chorus, fully staged and costumed. The company is open to all individuals to participate based on their talent. In the words of Opera News, “The Bronx Opera's crowd, like the company's enthusiastic, sonorous chorus, is (hearteningly) among the most racially integrated to be seen in New York; encouraging the attendance of so many young people marks a positive contribution to the art form.”
Our work is divided into three areas: work on the Mainstage, in the Community, and in the Schools.
Work on the Mainstage
In January and May, we present four performances apiece (plus an abridged matinee for students) of a combination of well-known operas and more infrequently performed works at our home, the Lovinger Theater at Lehman College in the Bedford Park section of The Bronx.
Work in Our Community
We are proud of our work with our partners in The Bronx and elsewhere. Currently, we work with the Amalgamated Housing Corporation, Bronx Community College, City Island Senior Center, Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Riverdale YM-YWHA Senior Center, and Van Cortlandt Neighborhood Senior Center, as well as the schools discussed below. Our partnerships all include the provision of services, including concerts, free tickets, and discounted tickets. BxO has also collaborated with local after-school programs to involve area children in our productions. We also present a wide range of concerts throughout the year. Our artists have been seen in all five boroughs, as well as on Long Island and in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Sullivan and Delaware Counties, and in Pennsylvania. Recent highlights of these events include our annual participation in Hofstra University’s Italian Festival, concerts at the Huntington Free Library and Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in The Bronx and the St. Paul’s National Historic Site in Mount Vernon, as well as partnerships with Long Island’s North Shore Music Festival and the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival in the Poconos. This season, BxO is working with the City Island Senior Center, Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Riverdale Y Senior Center, and Van Cortlandt Neighborhood Senior Center, providing teaching in various artistic disciplines to the people that use those Centers. We have also participated (since 2005) in the Orchestra of the Bronx’s annual BRONX MESSIAH, a performance of Handel's oratorio at Bronx Community College.
Work in the Schools
The Bronx Opera Company works in Bronx Schools through our Opera-in-the-Schools (OitS) Program. OitS, begun by BxO in 1997, will bring cast members to students at P.S. 153 and P.S. 160 (Co-Op City); P.S. 91 (University Heights), the Theodore Roosevelt High School Campus (Belmont) and the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula (Bedford Park) to introduce students to opera and to our current production. Students see a one-hour abridgement of the show during the school day, and are invited to attend full performances at Lehman on the weekend (for free, with reduced prices for accompanying adults; buses are provided from the Co-Op City schools). Weekend attendees get a backstage tour forty-five minutes before each performance. Finally, in our program’s most unique innovation, we return to the schools to take questions and help the students process their experience. OitS seeks to make opera, and the people who do it, less mysterious.