“In the best of times, opera companies struggle for survival. In the worst of times,
they perish. Which is why it seems miraculous that Berkshire Opera Festival is still with us. Their return to live performance has made it clear that BOF is going to be a major presence in the Berkshires far into the future.”
— The Berkshire Edge, 8/23/21
The “innovative, clever and thoroughly professional” (Bachtrack) BERKSHIRE OPERA FESTIVAL announces its 2022 season in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, MA, and for the first time in Chatham, NY. The only company of its kind in the region, BOF produces opera at the highest level under the vision of esteemed co-founders Brian Garman (Artistic Director) and Jonathon Loy (Director of Production). Just a few years after its founding in 2016, Opera News declared “destination status” on the Festival, and Berkshire On Stage wrote “No longer need we confine our opera-going to HD films—now we have the highest quality productions and performers in our own backyard.”
Last summer Berkshire Opera Festival “roared back to indoor performance life” (Opera Magazine) amidst the pandemic with its most robust season to date, pressing ahead with its mission: to bring live fully-staged opera—safely but thrillingly—to the Berkshires. The Boston Globe reported that the company’s ambition remained “undimmed” by these difficult times, mounting a major Falstaff with powerhouse international singers, launching its Second Stage (BOF’s new vehicle for works that require smaller forces), planning strategically for the future, and growing its board of directors.
BOF moves full steam ahead in 2022. In a first, PS21—the “beautiful, reconfigurable indoor-outdoor space that appears to have landed like an exotic bird in the midst of a 100-acre former apple orchard” (Jesse Green in The New York Times) in Chatham, NY—joins forces with Berkshire Opera Festival to present a new production of Jake Heggie‘s intimate Three Decembers on July 21 and 23, conducted by Christopher James Ray and directed by Beth Greenberg, This contemporary American opera is based on Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally’s original script for Some Christmas Letters. The story, which takes place over two decades during the AIDS crisis, follows Broadway star Madeline Mitchell and her adult children as they struggle to connect and heal old wounds while family secrets are revealed. This marks BOF’s 2nd Second Stage event, following Tom Cipullo’s highly praised Glory Denied last summer.
From Berkshire Opera Festival Artistic Director and Co-Founder
“We are thrilled to present Mozart’s Don Giovanni on the mainstage this summer, which we’ve rescheduled from our canceled 2020 season, and doubly thrilled to present it with nearly all of our original cast. These exceptional artists will be remembered by BOF audiences from our digital concert two summers ago, and now they can be heard in person performing Mozart’s masterpiece. Don Giovanni has it all — intrigue, duplicity, and even the supernatural — in a perfect balance of comedy and tragedy. In our second-stage series, we present Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, an intimate and compelling American opera about families and the secrets we keep. Finally, our free concert celebrates a variety of music by Black composers. So many of these composers have been historically neglected, and BOF is proud to shine a spotlight on their outstanding work.”
Next, the Festival heads to the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA on August 10 for a free concert that spotlights a wide swath of works by Black composers. Finally, on August 20, 23, and 26, the season culminates with the summer’s most ambitious undertaking: a new staging by Jonathon Loy of Mozart’s comedy-tragedy masterpiece Don Giovanni at the historic, intimate Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA. Brian Garman conducts the Berkshire Opera Festival Orchestra and Chorus. After last season’s Falstaff at the Mahaiwe, Bachtrack raved: “Garman was a wizard with this challenging, everything-happening-at-once work. Verdi’s witty and evanescent score rang clear as a bell. The opera flies by on the wind; Maestro Garman kept it aloft.” Don Giovanni, which is often considered to be Mozart’s greatest work, tells the story of antihero Giovanni’s demise. This production was originally scheduled for the 2020 fifth anniversary season, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a quick pivot, the cast collaborated on a virtual concert recorded in their homes and studios, which streamed in August 2020. The majority of this original cast returns to present the opera in person this summer.
THREE DECEMBERS (2008)
Music by Jake Heggie • Libretto by Gene Scheer • Based on a Terrence McNally play
An intimate, compelling chamber work in one act,
conducted by Christopher James Ray in a new production by Beth Greenberg.
The story follows a family (a fading Broadway actress and her two adult children)
through 3 decades—1986, 1996, 2006—as they grapple with
AIDS, addiction, dysfunction, and deceit.
Jump to Cast/Team
July 21 & 23 at PS21 in Chatham, NY
DON GIOVANNI (1787)
Conductor Brian Garman and director Jonathon Loy put their spin on Mozart’s
celebrated tragicomedy, capturing the downfall of
a “charming” wealthy sexual predator.
(This is a rescheduled Mainstage production from 2020,
featuring nearly all the originally announced cast.)
Jump to Cast/Team
August 20, 23, 26 at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA
A Spotlight on Music of Black Composers
Soprano Kearstin Piper Brown and tenor Joshua Blue perform
works by trailblazing Black composers spanning two centuries.
August 10 at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA
(BOF’s annual free concert)
TICKETS FOR DON GIOVANNI GO ON SALE MARCH 23
TICKETS FOR THREE DECEMBERS GO ON SALE THIS SPRING