Opera Theater of Connecticut, founded in 1986, provides professional artists with the vital opportunity to realize their talents in the practice of their crafts, provides access to the Performing Arts to a wide audience by presenting high quality productions at an affordable price and brings the Performing Arts into communities not regularly serviced by Performing Arts companies. Our MainStage productions are fully mounted and accompanied by our orchestra of professional musicians, giving the artists (singers, musicians, designers and support staff) the chance to expand their potential by experiencing an actual performance. By keeping the ticket prices for our high-quality, fully-produced operas at about half the cost of other professional opera companies in Connecticut we bring in an audience otherwise unreached in the state.
Our MainStage theater, Clinton’s Andrews Memorial Theater, at 500 seats, provides an incredibly intimate setting for our presentations, a truly moving experience when audience and performers connect, an event rare in the larger halls in which most operas are performed. The small stage has technical limits, not so severe as to hamper a full production, but definite enough that we will never be able to put more emphasis on production values than on the true heart of opera, the voices and the music.
We are proud of our reputation for hiring Connecticut residents and singers and vocal students at Connecticut universities in principal and secondary roles while also casting nationally known artists. We also introduce Connecticut audiences to young singers who are on the cusp of major careers. Performers such as Jane Dutton, Carl Tanner and Bradley Garvin sang at the Andrews Memorial Theater soon before their debuts at the Metropolitan Opera. Many emerging Connecticut artists have developed their talents as performers, conductors and designers with Opera Theater of Connecticut before their professions took them from the state so we also make the effort to bring back to Connecticut many singers whose families, friends and fans have not been able to hear them once their careers have developed to national status.
We focus our attention on the standard and appropriate repertoire since it provides emerging singers with the roles they will need to enter the professional marketplace and since, in a state with so little professional opera, it also provides the audience the chance to hear excellent singers in live opera productions.
We also collaborate with other performing groups when needed, primarily incorporating dance into our productions, and are proud of our multi-cultural and non-traditional casting.
Our educational outreach program, Overtures, has organized, through various School Boards, Parent-Teacher Associations, Libraries, Historic Sites and Community and Service Agencies, programs that presented not only Music Theater pieces written for children but also scenes from classical and modern opera. We also organize projects that include the students in the actual presentation of music-theater at their schools. To date, some 10,000 audience members, from school children to seniors, have been to Overtures presentations.
ur first fully produced opera, in 1987, was Madama Butterfly which sold out completely. Most of our shows since have played to full houses. Our productions have received critical acclaim from audience and press and our attendance has continually grown. In 1990 Opera Theater began informance lectures (Opera Talk) before each show, offering a chance to hear the director talk about the specific performance.
Since 1989 we have provided seniors with free attendance to our dress rehearsals, which has given them access to opera presentations that they might not have been able to afford. These rehearsals are very well attended and have become a tradition for many seniors and senior organizations.
Opera Theater of Connecticut’s Amici Vocal Competition, run by the Amici, our guild—Opera Theater of Connecticut’s network of volunteers—provides a competition venue, monetary awards as well as performance opportunities to young Connecticut singers. Many winners go on to perform nationally and internationally in major opera houses, while others have benefited from participating in a competition.
In December, we present a reduced version of Hansel and Gretel in English. The opera is sung in English, accompanied by piano and features a children’s chorus and dancing angels. Abridged to run approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, including intermission, this is the perfect Holiday show and Christmas gift for the entire family.
Our slogan, “Experience affordable opera in an intimate setting.” is more than just a catchy phrase for Opera Theater. It represents the artistic vision, as well as the history, of the company.
visit us @ www.operatheater-ct.org contact us at OTCsings@aol.com