‘Don Giovanni’ and Songs by Black Composers End the 2022 BOF Season

Berkshire Opera Festival wraps up its second full season since the COVID-19 pandemic with a fully staged “Don Giovanni,” with Andre Courville as the insatiable seducer, Christian Zaremba as the comic sidekick Leporello, Laura Wilde as Donna Anna and John Cheek as the commendatore.

One of Mozart’s most famous works, “Don Giovanni” is a dark comedy about the titular Don Juan, who mercilessly seduces women as conquests. The story line of a man who would undoubtedly have been quickly canceled in the modern world creates a showcase for beautiful singing.

Berkshire Opera Festival has consistently put on productions with stellar singing and acting, notably in “Rigoletto” and “Don Pasquale.”  The “Rigoletto” got a prolonged standing ovation. The staging of “Don Pasquale,” a comic opera, was both funny and imaginative.

Perhaps because of the social and cultural climate of the past few years, “Don Giovanni” has been featured in several companies’ seasons,  including Tanglewood, which did a staged version last month that was spectacular.

Performances will be on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 26, at 7:30 p.m., at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass.

“Don Giovanni” will be sung in Italian with projected English translations; the Berkshire Opera Festival website also has a summary of the plot. The opera’s running time is approximately three hours and 10 minutes including one intermission.Tickets are from $20 to $120 and can be purchased through the Mahaiwe box office (413-528-0100).

Earlier in the month, on Wednesday, Aug. 10,  at 7:30 p.m. Berkshire Opera Festival will offer a program of art songs by Black composers, an unjustly neglected repertoire. The performers in “High on the Ramparts” are soprano Kearstin Piper Brown and tenor Joshua Blue. The performance will be in the Crane Room at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass.

Tickets are free but this concert is expected to sell out, so reservations are required. Go to www.berkshireoperafestival.org.

Latest News

Pirates win Little League championship

The Pirates pose with their trophies beneath the scoreboard after winning the Northwest District 6 Majors 2024 title.

Riley Klein

THOMASTON — The Steve Blass Northwest Connecticut Pirates defeated the Tri-Town Braves 11-1 in the Northwest District 6 Majors League Championship game June 14.

The Pirates, made up of players aged 10 to 12 from the six Region One towns and Norfolk, won by run rule with a 10-point lead after five innings, a fitting end to a dominant season. The 2024 champs did not commit a single error in the game.

Keep ReadingShow less
‘Old Glory’ finds new home for Flag Day

North Canaan Elementary School students applaud as the flag reaches the peak of a new 35-foot flagpole.

Riley Klein

NORTH CANAAN — Students of North Canaan Elementary School gathered at Sam Eddy Field Wednesday, June 12, to witness the stars and stripes hoisted high on a newly installed flagpole.

Celebrated two days early due to school ending, the Flag Day ceremony took place on a pristine spring morning. Patriotism was palpable as the students sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Grand Old Flag” beneath a clear blue sky.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy at The Playhouse

The Sharon Playhouse honors Bobbie Olsen at its annual Spotlight Gala.

Justin Boccitto

The Annual Sharon Playhouse Spotlight Gala cast their theater light upon a worthy honoree this year: Bobbie Olsen, Bobbie Olsen, former president of The Playhouse board and namesake of a well-known location, The Bobbie Olsen Theatre, where residents pack the seats each summer to see the mainstage production plays and musicals. Held on Saturday, June 1, the dinner, cocktail, and musical review at the Olsen Theatre was a celebration of all she has contributed to keeping live theater active and alive in Sharon, even in the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bobbie Olsen is an incredible supporter of not just this theater, but this community,” said Sharon Playhouse Artistic Director Carl Andress. “She supports the Sharon Playhouse in her leadership, and in the beauty of her person-hood. We’re just so grateful that she’s been in our lives and that she continues to be such a good friend to the theater, Sharon Playhouse, and the theater in general.”

Keep ReadingShow less
NWCT Arts Council: Arts Connected

Matica Circus duo from Harwinton, Connecticut performing at NWCT ARTS Connected event in May

Jennifer Almquist

The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council (NWCT Arts) recently held Arts Connected, their first fundraiser, at the Spring Hill Vineyard in Washington, Connecticut. The evening celebration, a combination of Fellini movie, carnival, and Renaissance Fair, featured an aerialist from Matica Circus in Harwinton, and a flame and flow performer out in the courtyard under the stars. Momix, based in Washington Connecticut, under the artistic direction of founders Moses Pendleton and Cynthia Quinn, also performed. Two dancers wore Jeff Koons-style inflated red dog suits, and Momix dancer Jared Bogart wafted through the space wearing an immense, two-stories tall silk fan. Persian calligraphic painter Alibaba Awrang created a community work of art, while Ameen Mokdad, a violinist from Iraq, made music with Hartford’s Cuatro Puntos Ensemble. A young musician, Adelaide Punkin, performed an original song from the balcony of the vast space, while a giant puppet from Sova Dance and Puppet waltzed through the festivities. DJ Arvolyn Hill from Kent spun the tunes, an African drum circle set the rhythm, and there was abundant food and drink for the gathered crowd.

Keep ReadingShow less