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Behind the Curtain at Annapolis Opera

Feb 14, 2012 07:53PM ● By Anonymous
If you’d like to include the performing arts as part of your Valentine’s Day (or weekend) celebration, then Shakespeare in Love, a collaborative performance by the Annapolis Opera and several artistic groups, at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, fits the bill.

This Sunday matinee event takes place February 12th, allowing you plenty of time to make post-performance dinner plans. Annapolis Opera has joined forces with the Bay Theatre Company and the Ballet Theatre of Maryland to create a stage event that utilizes the talents of three Annapolis-based performing arts groups. The operatic portion of the performance will feature Danielle Pastin, star of the Metropolitan Opera and Santa Fe Opera, who will perform alongside Elizabeth Pojanowski and tenor Sean Arnold, who returns from the opera’s 2011 Opera Amore! Concert.

The audience will be treated to scenes from Bernstein’s West Side Story and Bellini’s version of Romeo & Juliet, I Capuletti e i Montecchi. The theatrical portion of the show will include excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays and the ballet selection will recreate the balcony scene from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo & Juliet. Artwork by local students will be projected as part of the backdrop.

Elizabeth Pojanowski

Shakespeare in Love is one of several concerts this season that team the Annapolis Opera with other performing arts groups. “The key to the collaborative nature of our concerts this season was to cross-pollinate our audiences, and hopefully gain new opera fans,” says General Manager Jennifer Fletcher. “Opera is made up of theatre, music, dance, visual art, and song. By dissecting the art form in this manner we can show audiences how all the components come together to create grand opera. In turn, opera fans would be exposed to the other wonderful arts organizations in Annapolis and possibly become supporters of those organizations.”

Danielle Pastin

The theme for the 2011–2012 Annapolis Opera season is Shakespeare Goes to the Opera and several new concepts are being introduced to attract a larger audience. “We needed something that tied the entire season together,” explains Fletcher. “So that people would want to see all of it and would feel left out if they missed a single component. Something our previous seasons lacked.”

In reorganizing the season’s schedule this year, the full opera production is at the end of the season. “As the climactic finale,” says Fletcher, “This way everything over the course of the season is leading up to the big finish. Since there are 26 operatic works influenced by the works of Shakespeare, it seemed a good choice of theme. As a side note, the very first opera I worked on administratively when I began my career was Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet. It seems fitting that for my first season [with Annapolis Opera] I am putting my stamp on company [with Shakespeare].”

Next month—March 16–18th— there will be a series of concerts at Maryland Hall connected with the opera’s annual vocal competition. To begin the three-day event, Zach Borichevsky, tenor and winner of the 2011 vocal competition, will star in a solo recital featuring popular song cycles. Then on Saturday and for the first time, the semi-final round of competition is open to the public and admission is free. The Sunday competition will feature the eight finalists and, as in previous years, is also free to the public (although donations are accepted). The winner of the vocal competition will be invited to return in the 2013 season to do the 90-minute solo vocal recital of non-operatic works.

For the children, the Annapolis Opera has commissioned a new Shakespeare-inspired work by a Baltimore composer entitled Ariel’s Tempest, based on The Tempest, which will be performed on April 28th. And to top off the season, Annapolis Opera will premier a fully-staged version of Romeo & Juliet, on May 18th and 20th. For complete information about the Annapolis Opera’s season, visit