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Berkshire Opera Festival announces its 2023 season


Brian Garman & Jonathon Loy, Co-Founders • Abigail Rollins, Executive Director

announces 2023 season

The ambitious company, which has restored world-class, fully-staged opera to the Berkshires with savvy productions and superlative casts, mounts one of the most beloved operas of all time on its Mainstage:


August 26 & 29 and September 1
The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA
Conductor Brian Garman and director Jonathon Loy create an
exciting, new adaptation of Giacomo Puccini's timeless love story from 1896


BOF also presents two wide-ranging concerts this spring and summer:


To Paris with Love:
Opera in the City of Light

Sunday, April 16, 2PM
Saint James Place, Great Barrington, MA


Breaking the Mold:
Baroque, Bel Canto, and Beyond

Saturday, July 22, 2PM
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, MA


This fall, BOF is thrilled to present the
workshop performance of a brand new opera:


November 16, 2023 in New York City (full details and on-sale date TBA)

A new opera by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis
Libretto by Joan Ross Sorkin
Adapted from the novel by Edith Wharton  





Pittsfield, MA — The "innovative, clever and thoroughly professional" (Bachtrack) BERKSHIRE OPERA FESTIVAL (BOF) announces its 2023 season in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, MA, and for the first time in New York City. The only company of its kind in the Berkshire 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). Both Opera News and Classics Today have 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." 

For its 2023 season, BOF mounts a mainstage production of Giacomo Puccini's beloved opera LA BOHÈME, which comes to the Colonial Theater—Pittsfield's Gilded Age jewel of a venue—on August 26 and 29 and September 1. The season also features two concerts that survey the vast operatic repertoire on April 16 at Great Barrington's Saint James Place and on July 22 at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. On November 16, the company travels to New York City to give a workshop performance of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis's THE REEF, a new opera written in collaboration with librettist Joan Ross Sorkin.

In a recent interview with The Berkshire Eagle, Brian Garman and Jonathon Loy talk about their vision for BOF. Garman says, “If we intend to keep this art form alive and draw new audiences into opera, we can't treat these operas like museum pieces. Our first goal is always to try and find the best possible artists to perform these roles, but we also try and have a fresh take on all the operas that we produce.”



Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
Saturday, August 26, 1pm
Tuesday, August 29, 7:30pm
Friday, September 1, 7:30pm
The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA
Approximate running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes including one intermission
Sung in Italian with projected English translations

Tickets from $20-$120 will be made available for purchase
through the Colonial Box Office starting Feb. 15.

Tenor YONGZHAO YU - Rodolfo
Baritone BENJAMIN TAYLOR - Marcello
Bass-baritone EVAN LAZDOWSKI - Colline
Baritone ETHAN VINCENT - Schaunard
Bass-baritone JAMES DEMLER - Benoit/Alcindoro

and featuring the

Stage Director JONATHON LOY
Scenic Designer STEPHEN DOBAY 
Costume Designer BROOKE STANTON 
Lighting Designer ALEX JAINCHILL
Hair and Make-up Designer BECKIE KRAVETZ 
Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master GEOFFREY LARSON 
Assistant Director CHRISTIAN ROZAKIS
Principal Coach and Rehearsal Pianist TRAVIS BLOOM 
Chorus Rehearsal Pianist NOAH PALMER 
Supertitles Author CORI ELLISON 
Production Stage Manager CINDY KNIGHT

On the BOF mainstage this year is a new adaptation of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème, one of the most beloved operatic love stories of all time. Based on Henri Murger's 1851 novel, Scènes de la vie de Bohème, which follows the lives of young people living in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the piece tells the story of Rodolfo and Mimì, two lovers who meet by chance and change each other's lives forever. Puccini’s soaring, aching melodies perfectly capture the emotion of every moment, from the exhilaration of young love at first sight to the story’s heartbreaking conclusion.

Of BOF's new production, Stage Director and BOF Co-Founder Jonathon Loy says: “This will be a production with a fresh take that will center on the epic love and loss of innocence that these characters face in one of the greatest and most widely-known operas in the canon." BOF Artistic Director and Co-Founder Brian Garman adds: “I am so proud to present La Bohème to our Berkshire audiences, featuring an absolutely top-notch cast that has received praise for their performances around the world. An ideal opera for first-time operagoers and seasoned opera veterans alike, this production is sure to capture your heart.”

Three performances take place at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. Playing Rodolfo is tenor Yongzhao Yu, who makes his BOF debut. An expert La Bohème interpreter, he has sung the role of Rodolfo at opera houses across the country, including Houston Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Arizona Opera, and he covered the role for The Metropolitan Opera. Opposite Yu is soprano Whitney Morrison, who also makes her BOF debut in the role of Mimì. The rising star from Chicago has been praised for her “vocally sumptuous” performances (Chicago Tribune). Of her performance in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s virtual concert, “Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter,” Opera News said, “Whitney Morrison was simply astonishing in everything she sang…This is a voice we need to hear live.”

In the role of Marcello, a painter and roommate of Rodolfo, is baritone Benjamin Taylor, whose "beautiful baritone seethe(s) with emotion" (Seen and Heard International). Véronique Filloux plays Musetta, the neighbor of Rodolfo and Marcello. The French-American soprano has been praised for her “expressive, lovingly shaded soprano” and "dazzling coloratura and lithe stage presence [used] to piquant comedic effect" (Opera News).