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Bronx Opera celebrates 50 years with two productions

Bronx Times
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One of the city’s oldest opera companies will celebrate its 50th anniversary season by showcasing two intriguing productions.

This year, the Bronx Opera will present two musical performances based on Shakespeare’s character John Falstaff, Sir John in Love and Falstaff.

‘Sir John in Love’, a Ralph Vaughn Williams production, will be presented on Saturday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 15 at 2:30 p.m. at the Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College.

Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Falstaff’ will be showcased on Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m., also at the Lovinger Theatre.

The Bronx Opera will also host two performances of each production in the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in Manhattan. Cast and staff has not yet been announced.

Last month, the Bronx Opera officially launched the ‘Falstaff Fiftieth’ Season with an event which included performances of past and present performers, along with a look back at the last half century.

“This is not just an art - it’s an art of togetherness, where each individual plays their role to complete a final product that we can be proud of,” said Michael Spierman, one of the original founders of the Bronx Opera, who currently serves as the company’s artistic director and principal conductor. “Lehman College has provided us with a very warm and intimate setting for many decades, and we encourage people, whether new or experienced opera lovers, to come to one of our performances to experience the true nature of this atmosphere.”

This is a great borough - a borough that appreciates all forms and expressions of art,” said Michael’s son Ben, the Bronx Opera’s managing director, who has been with the company for almost 25 years. “We are happy to make our home here - and my time with the company has been both exciting and meaningful.”

The company was formed in 1967 originally known as the Heights Opera and was based at the NYU Bronx campus (now known as Bronx Community College) before the company changed it’s name to the Bronx Opera the following year.

After performing at various locations, the Bronx Opera has called the Lovinger Theatre its Bronx home since 1980.

Over the years, the Bronx Opera has held performances in the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, the Riverdale Y and the Met, to name a few venues.

They’ve also partnered with schools, senior centers and other organizations to introduce and teach students more about the art form. All productions are performed in English.

Manny Madelman, the company’s treasurer, has also been with the company since its inception in 1967, along with Spierman.

Concerts and productions are presented to many areas of New York, including Long Island, Westchester, Sullivan and Ulster counties.

To purchase tickets for ‘Sir John in Love’ or ‘Falstaff, visit www.bronxopera.org/buy-tickets/. Tickets will be available for purchase soon.

Updated 5:07 pm, July 9, 2018
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