Community Concerts

Bronx Opera presents concerts of all different sizes throughout the year. We’ve performed in all five boroughs of NYC, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Sullivan and Delaware counties, as well as Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Highlights include our annual participation in Hofstra University’s Italian Festival, concerts at the Huntington Free Library and Bartow-Pell Mansion in The Bronx, at the St. Paul’s National Historic Site in Mount Vernon and at the historic Walton Theatre in Delaware County (NY). BxO has collaborated with Long Island’s North Shore Music Festival and Pennsylvania’s Poconos Music Festival, and our chorus is part of the Orchestra of the Bronx’s annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.


We’re looking forward to resuming our Opera-in-the-Schools in 2021-2022. Before the pandemic interrupted this work, BxO had brought opera to Bronx schools every year since 1997. Through our Opera-in-the-Schools program, BxO works with 4-5 schools each year, working with 450-500 students through a three-pronged program. BxO brings cast members to Bronx schools, introducing students to opera and to our current production. Students see a one-hour abridgement of our production during the school day, and are invited to attend full performances at Lehman on the weekend for free (with reduced prices for accompanying adults). Weekend attendees get a backstage tour before each performance. Finally, in our program’s most unique innovation, we return to the schools to take questions and help the kids process their experience. Opera-in-the-Schools’ goal is to make opera, and the people who do it, less mysterious.

In its first 24 years, OitS worked with an average of 975 kids each year, for a total of over 23,000 Bronx students served. Among those students are many who have returned as audience members over the years, in addition to several who have worked with us onstage and backstage.

Over the years, BxO, has partnered with several schools for long periods of time. Partners have included the following 23 Bronx schools:

PS 5 – K-8 (Port Morris)
PS 19 – K-8 (Woodlawn)
PS 31 – K-8 (Concourse Village)
PS 46 – K-5 (Fordham)
PS 81 – K-5 (Riverdale)
PS 91 – K-5 (University Heights)
PS 153 – K-5 (Co-op City; currently)
PS 160 – K-5 (Co-op City; currently)
PS 277 – K-5 (Mott Haven)
PS 280 – K-8 (Norwood)
Saint Brendan’s School – K-8 (Bedford Park)
IS 219 – 6-8 (Claremont Village)
JHS 80 – 6-8 (Norwood)
JHS 162 – 6-8 (Longwood)
KIPP Academy Charter Middle School – 5-8 (Concourse Village)
School of Diplomacy – 6-8 (Williamsbridge)
Theatre Arts Production Company School – 6-12 (Fordham)
Academy of Mount Saint Ursula – 9-12 (Bedford Park; currently)
Bronx High School of Science – 9-12 (Bedford Park)
Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music – 9-12 (Bedford Park)
Harry S Truman High School – 9-12 (Co-op City)
DeWitt Clinton High School – 9-12 (Kingsbridge)
Morris High School – 9-12 (Longwood)

After-School Work

From 2010 through 2014, we received funds from the New York City Council to work with Junior High School 80 in Norwood. Between 5 and 10 BxO Teaching Artists worked with students, teachers and staff, facilitating the preparation and presentation of After-School musical theater productions. Our teachers assisted in the audition and production planning process; gave individual coachings; taught choral music; prepared spoken dialogue; and choreographed dance selections. We also ran most vocal and physical warm-ups, and ran sound equipment for the performances. Productions took place in June of each year (before the school discontinued its after-school performing arts program).

The following shows were produced:
June 2010 – Annie
June 2011 – Alice in Wonderland
June 2012 – Fame
June 2013 – Thoroughly Modern Millie
June 2014 – The Immigrant Experience (A Musical Revue)

Ninety (90) students were involved in all aspects of each production. When added to the 550-600 non-participating students who attended the school each year (all of whom attended either at school assemblies or at after-school performances), this program reached well over 600 students each year. This work began BxO’s deeper involvement in community teaching, and led to the work described below.

Senior Citizen Choruses

Since 2015-16, BxO teaching artists have led senior citizens choruses at Senior Centers throughout The Bronx. The flagship of this program is Hudson River Voices at the Riverdale YM-YWHA Senior Center, which was created by BxO and the Riverdale Y in 2015. In recent years this chorus has been joined by choruses from the Mosholu-Montefiore and Van Cortlandt JASA Senior Centers.

BxO Teaching Artists work with groups of senior singers on songs which include standards, musical theater pieces, 1960s rock, and songs of the various cultures represented by the members of each chorus. Some senior singers have previous musical experience (some of it 30 and 40 years ago), while some are singing in public for the first time.

In addition to the artistic aspect of this work, we’ve found that the social and physical aspects are crucial to the seniors as well. This impression is borne out by multiple studies, which show the benefits of artistic activity to older adults’ the quality of life. According to the web site of the University of California (San Francisco), a 2006 study found that “people age 65 or older participating in weekly arts programs, including choir, had fewer trips to the doctor, used fewer medicines, fell less, expressed less loneliness and were more active than control groups.” Another study, carried out at George Washington University, also found that choral singing impacts the mental health of older adults. This study found that seniors who sing in choruses experience less depression; fewer hospital visits and eyesight problems; improvements in the tone of their speaking voices; easier breathing; and improved posture.

We have found this anecdotally; participants have told us that their lives have been given a sense of purpose through their work with us, and that their “humdrum” existences have been given color and creativity by the opportunities we have provided. It’s clear that choral singing creates and maintains linkages between people, and within each individual’s mind. In the words of Dr. Julene Johnson of the University of California, “We tend to be limited in what we think people should be doing when they’re older, [but] the potential for creativity in the advanced years is enormous, and often goes untapped. This needs to change.”

These health benefits (physical and mental) led us to ask another question: could this work, so beneficial to senior citizens in general, help another group? Could people recovering from COVID see benefits from this work as well? This led us to create our newest program.

BxO Breathes

We are living at a time that is dominated by COVID. This pernicious virus has taken so much from everyone all over the city, the country, and the world. As time passed, we wondered what we could do in some small way to make at least some things better for a few people. BxO Breathes is the result of that thought. We take the basic building blocks of a singing warmup, the breathing that enables singers to fill a theatre, and use that to help recovering COVID patients rebuild their breath. The program will pair a BxO teaching artist with 10 or more people who need this kind of help. This Spring into summer will see the beginning of BxO breathes at St. Helena’s Catholic Church, as well as at Shear Bliss Hair Salon in Manhattan. Anyone who has a group that would benefit from this work should email us at