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Berkshire Opera Festival (BOF) is a fully-producing summer festival that presented its first season in 2016. BOF presents operatic productions in addition to recitals and other related musical events. By adhering to the highest standards of artistic excellence, BOF has restored fully-staged opera to a place of prominence in the Berkshire arts community.  ​

We believe opera is a living, breathing, relevant art form, and must be nurtured for it to survive and thrive. There is no substitute for experiencing the power of the live, unamplified human voice in a theater, and opera has the inherent, transformative ability to greatly enhance one’s quality of life. BOF seeks to be an integral and vital part of our community by producing world-class programming that is musically and dramatically compelling, encompasses the entire operatic repertoire, and fulfills our mission to be accessible and affordable to all Berkshire area residents.  Find out more about BOF's history on our Previous Seasons page.

 

BOF is committed to inclusion, diversity, equity and access, and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and affirm all individuals, including those who have been historically marginalized. We strive to create art where all members of our community see themselves and their stories reflected on stage. 

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of Berkshire Opera Festival (BOF) is to entertain and enrich the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds throughout the Berkshire region by providing accessible and affordable performances of a broad range of operas with the highest artistic standards.

Berkshire Opera Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Copies of BOF's recent financial statements, conflict of interest policy, and other governing documents are available upon request.

LEADERSHIP AND STAFF

Executive Director

Abigail (Abi) Rollins is an arts executive and nonprofit leader with nearly 20 years of experience in the nonprofit performing arts sector. Her track record as a strategic thinker, creative problem-solver, and "Jane of all trades" administrator, has enabled her to successfully manage and grow small, founder-led arts companies into professional mid-size organizations. She studied Dance and Psychology for her undergraduate studies at Kenyon College and earned a Master's of Arts Administration from Boston University.


Abi moved to Pittsfield, MA, in the fall of 2019 to join Berkshire Opera Festival (BOF) as Executive Director, and was elected President of the Board of Directors in 2023. Together with BOF's co-founders, she has led BOF through the uncertainties of the global COVID-19 pandemic, formalized and professionalized many of the company's administrative operations, grown its Board of Directors, and expanded and diversified contributed revenue sources.

Artistic Director and Co-Founder

Maestro Brian Garman is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Berkshire Opera Festival, where he is responsible for all musical and artistic facets of the company.  After over a year spent auditioning and establishing the Berkshire Opera Festival Orchestra and Chorus, he conducted the Festival’s inaugural production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in summer 2016, subsequent productions of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Verdi’s Falstaff, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and returned to the podium for last summer’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème.  He also joined the Crested Butte Music Festival in summer 2018 as the new Music Director of Opera, leading Verdi’s Falstaff.  Previously, he opened Seattle Opera’s season conducting Verdi’s La Traviata, and earlier was named the inaugural Music Director of the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program, a position established for him that he held for five years.  His skills as an orchestra builder assisted him in creating the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program Orchestra – a process that resulted in giving Seattle Opera the only full-season training program in the country with its own permanent orchestra.  He led the members of that program in a Verdi bicentennial concert and several fully-staged productions.  One season prior to his appointment in Seattle, he was seen with the Palm Springs Opera Guild leading a gala parks concert.  He was previously on the conducting roster at New York City Opera, and made his debut with that company at the VOX Showcase in May 2006, the first of two such showcases he conducted.  He returned to the podium for City Opera’s production of Bizet’s Carmen in October and November of the following year.  In the summer of 2008, he led a highly-successful run of Verdi’s Un Giorno di Regno at the Wolf Trap Opera Company, prompting The Wall Street Journal critic Greg Sandow to write that Maestro Garman was “one of the best bel canto conductors I’ve ever heard.”  His acclaimed debut at Wolf Trap occurred the preceding summer leading Chabrier's L’Étoile.

Maestro Garman was previously the Resident Conductor and Chorus Master at Pittsburgh Opera for ten years.  While so engaged, he led Pittsburgh’s productions of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte, and Massenet’s Werther, among others, to unanimous praise.  Additionally, as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Opera Center, he was at the helm for several productions with that company, including Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Puccini’s La Rondine, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Verdi’s Il Corsaro, and J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus.  Also a senior member of the music staff of The Santa Fe Opera for six years, he served as associate conductor for numerous productions, and assisted in the musical preparation of more than 25 different operas, including two world premieres.

As a pianist and coach, Maestro Garman is sought after by numerous signers of renown, and has been called upon often to give recitals and master classes around the United States and Europe.  He received a Master of Music degree in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying from the legendary John Wustman, and recently completed a guest engagement at the University of Michigan.  He served an interim appointment as the Music Director of the opera program at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as previous educational engagements at Peabody Conservatory, Mannes College The New School for Music, the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and Duquesne University.

 

Recent summers also found Maestro Garman at Opera Saratoga for Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Charlottesville Opera for a parks concert, while this summer sees him back on the podium at BOF for Gounod’s Faust.

Interim Executive Director
Director of Production and Co-Founder

Jonathon Loy, New York City and Berkshire based, is the Director of Production and Co-Founder of Berkshire Opera Festival.  Mr. Loy is also a Guest Director on the staging staff at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City since 2009 and a 2002 OPERA America Fellowship winner. As a fellow, he focused on stage direction and artistic administration, during which time he completed residencies at New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Memphis, and Cincinnati Opera.

 

Mr. Loy recently made his Canadian Opera Company and Greek National Opera debut directing the revival of Sir David McVicar’s production of Cherubini’s Medea. The 2024-25 season marks Mr. Loy’s 15th season at the Metropolitan Opera, where he has directed the revivals of ToscaCarmenLe Nozze di Figaro and Faust; and his ninth season at BOF, where he has directed new productions of La Bohème, Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale, Rigoletto, Ariadne auf Naxos and Madama Butterfly. Mr. Loy spent five summers directing with Opera Fairbanks in Alaska where, notably, in the summer of 2014 he staged a new production of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri with Vivica Genaux and Barry Banks.

He has also directed Don Giovanni for Opera Las Vegas; Hansel and Gretel adapted by Perry Lorenzo for the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program; and three new operas Golden Gate, Fade, and Hunger Art, as well as La TraviataLa BohèmeRigoletto and more for Center City Opera Theater.  Mr. Loy is also an active assistant director and has worked with such companies as the Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Michigan Opera Theater, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera North, and more.

 

Mr. Loy was the General Director of Center City Opera Theater in Philadelphia from 2003-2007, where he was the first person to produce fully-staged opera in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Perelman Theater.

 

Mr. Loy graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, with a focus on theater, business and Italian.  He had the unique opportunity to work at Pittsburgh Opera for four years while attending the university. There he met the renowned voice teacher Claudia Pinza, who took Mr. Loy to her school in Italy, where he was able to study the operatic repertoire and experience first-hand the vocal training of young singers.

Operations Manager​

Marketing & Communications Manager

Advancement Associate

Engagement Consultant

Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor

ADVISORY COUNCIL

Lynn Baker

Lester Bliwise

William Briggs

Jack Brown

Kenneth Campbell

John Cheek

Rex Hearn

Dr. Eduardo and Dr. Lina Plantilla

Donald Usher

John Wustman

Peter Graber-Lipperman
Chairman

Theresa Cerezola
Secretary

John O’Brien
Treasurer

Ilene Bliwise
Noreen Doyle
Thomas M. Fynan, MD
Brian Garman, Founding Artistic Director

Kenneth Kramer
Yong Kwok

Jonathon Loy, Founding General Director

Vira Slywotzky

 

Directors Emeritae
Clara F. Londoner
Barbara McCullough

TYSON TRAYNOR

Marketing & Communications Manager

KYRA SALTMAN

Operations Manager

CLAUDIA D'ALESSANDRO

Engagement Consultant

GEOFFREY LARSON

Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Berkshire Opera Festival Chorus

2023 SEASON

Berkshire Opera Festival Orchestra

2023 SEASON

BOF is committed to a Board of Directors that reflects the diversity of our community, and we welcome your inquiries. If you have a passion for opera, supporting the arts in the Berkshires, and would like to make an investment in our future by becoming a member of Berkshire Opera Festival’s Board of Directors, contact BOF Executive Director Abigail Rollins to learn more.

OBOE

Paul Lueders, Principal

CLARINETS

Diego Vásquez, Principal

Ye Hu

BASSOON

Zachary Feingold, Principal

     Paul Clark and Carol Parrish Chair

HORNS

Eva Conti, Principal

William Hughes

TRUMPET

Eric Berlin, Principal

TROMBONE

Brian Diehl, Principal

TIMPANI

Deane Prouty, Principal

     Richard and Carol Seltzer Chair

PERCUSSION

Andrew Blanco, Acting Principal

Andrew Beall

HARP

Margery Fitts, Acting Principal​

PERSONNEL MANAGER

Deane Prouty

FIRST VIOLINS

Charles Stegeman, Concertmaster

     Drs. Eduardo and Lina Plantilla Chair

Mitsuko Suzuki, Assistant Concertmaster

Yu-Wei Hsiao

Johnny Weizenecker

Janey Choi

Stephanie Liu

SECOND VIOLINS

Gregory Tompkins, Principal

Gabrielle Faetini

Michael Eby

Audrey Lo

VIOLAS

Orlando Wells, Principal

J.J. Johnson

Maija Anstine

Kristina Hendricks Giles

CELLOS

Hikaru Tamaki, Principal

Jonathan Tortolano

Richard Mickey

BASSES

Joshua DePoint, Principal

Patrick O'Connell

FLUTE

Karen Bogardus, Principal

     Sari Scheer and Sam Kopel Chair

PICCOLO

Karen Bogardus

SOPRANOS

Paula Farbman

Mackenzie Jacquemin

Kalia Kellogg

Sarah Solari

ALTOS

Rachel Abrams

Jessica A. Passetto

Mary Verdi

Lisa Woods

TENORS
Seth Allen

Jacob Hunter

Jacob Kerzner

Kevin Ruby

BARITONES & BASSES
Andrew Boisvert
Campbell Bridges
Jonathan Lawlor
Christopher Price

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