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In 1986 I co-founded Longwood Opera with John Balme. The original concept of what and how we should be as a company changed quickly and has morphed over the last 27 years. Hard to think that 27 years of my life has been pushing this little bus up the hill... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2013 at The Longwood Opera blog
The Barber of Seville (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) which was originally known as known as The Useless Precaution (Almaviva, ossia L'inutile precauzione). Historically, barbers were the precursors to surgeons and as such they were much respected by their community. Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia is a two-act comic opera founded... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2012 at The Longwood Opera blog
August 25, 1918 - October 14, 1990 Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was educated at Boston Latin and Harvard University. He was a noted pianist, conductor and composer. As a composer he wrote music for orchestra, chorus, ballet, chamber ensembles, band & wind ensembles as well as... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2012 at The Longwood Opera blog
If this had only occurred once this week, I would have shrugged and said, "Oh well." But I have now heard the same thing from three unrelated people, so I felt an urge to write something in the Longwood Opera blog. Maybe someone will read it. Maybe someone will have a solution to offer. Maybe not."Ohhhh! I LOVE LA BOHÈME!!!! OOOOH! It is one of my favorite operas! Sorry I can't go, but I already have tickets for the Met HD this weekend.""Really? What Met HD are you going to see?""Unh, I'm not sure, but it is the Met HD and should be really good. Don't you think so?""I am sure it will be splendid, but it is not the same as live intimate theatre which is what we do.""Maybe not, but it is the Met HD and it is live streaming! So it will be just like being there, without having to travel and the theatre is only about 10 minutes from my house with free parking!"Well indeed the new production of Donizetti's Anna Bolena is sold out in NYC, but one can still go on-line and buy tickets for $23 (senior discount) at eight locations around the Boston area or splurge for the Lux level and pay $33.50 and for this Saturday.Visiting the Legacy Mall theatre in Dedham on-line for the production, 60K people have already pressed their "like" buttons.What's a small opera company to do? How can we compete at this level. Granted the Met HD is prime time Saturday at 1:00pm and we are performing Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, so there is no conflict of date or time. I forgot to add. Our performance of La Bohème runs a little over two hours including one intermission. The Donizetti (according to the on-line information) runs 4 hours and 20 minutes.But the end of the story goes like this:"Sorry! I cannot go to an opera twice in one weekend. It is too costly and I don't have time in my busy schedule to attend two productions the same weekend."Let's take my predicament a bit further. What is live theater? If you are sitting in a theater, watching a streaming performance, that is occurring somewhere else on the planet at the same time, are you really experiencing live theater? If you are sitting at home, watching something on Netflix, cable, or on your computer, is it the same as sitting somewhere else and doing the same thing?What are you going to do this coming weekend? You have lots of choices. As an operaphile, I hope you watch at least one opera this weekend. As a producer of live theatre, I hope you get out of your house and see something live and in person. As the general director of Longwood Opera, I hope you attend our performance of La Bohème at Christ Episcopal Church in Needham on Friday at 8:00pm or Sunday at 2:30pm. This just might be one of your last chances to see local, live opera performed by local, living young singers. This unique experience is priceless.J. Scott Brumit Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
LA BOHÈME SYNOPSIS:Opera in four acts, text by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica after Henri Muger's novel Scènes de la Vie de Bohème (1848). The World Premiere was in 1896 and conducted by Toscanini. LA BOHÈME makes its effect atmospherically in scenes, like a series of impressionistic paintings, and not by the usual development of dramatic action. In fact there is really no dramatic development of any of the characters and huge chunks of the action occur off stage. However, it continues to be one of the most popular operas performed globally in spite of the defects held by many to be stereotypical of opera. The exuberant spirit of youth, happiness, pathos and love, as found in Muger's original sketches, is reproduced brilliantly in this masterpiece by Puccini.ACT IIn their chilly attic, three of the four bohemians attempt to keep warm. The painter Marcello is prevented from burning a chair by the poet Rodolfo, who instead sacrifices his manuscript to the pot-bellied stove, while the philosopher Colline jokes about the love scenes in flames. Schaunard, a musician, arrives with food and drink. Schaunard attempts to tell the long, involved story about how he earned the money from an Englishman, but no one listens. As the three start to eat, Schaunard stops them: "On Christmas Eve drink at home, but eat out!" As they are about to have a toast, Benoit the landlord appears looking for the overdue rent. Marcello shows him the money, and the four bohemians, after many more drinks, lure Benoit into boasting about his extramarital conquests. They all feign horror and throw him out. All leave for the Cafè Momus except Rodolfo, who stays to finish an article. Mimì, who embroiders flowers, comes in looking for a light for her candle. When she is about to leave, she realizes that she has left her key. Both candles accidentally flicker out, and when Rodolfo finds Mimì's hand in the dark he describes himself to her. Mimì tells him of herself and her longing for warmth and spring. They join in a love duet before leaving to join the other bohemians.ACT IIAt the Cafè Momus, Marcello is embarrassed by the arrival of his old girlfriend Musetta with a wealthy councilor of state, Alcindoro. Musetta sings a song of her attractions. To get rid of Alcindoro, she pretends that her shoe is pinching her foot. Reunited with Marcello, they all escape, leaving Alcindoro with the bill.INTERMISSIONACT IIIMimì appears shivering and ill and confides to Marcello how difficult life with Rodolfo has become. Pretending to leave, Mimì overhears Rodolfo's complaints about her. Mimì and Rodolfo decide to separate, but not until spring, while Marcello and Musetta have yet another quarrel.ACT IVRodolfo and Marcello recall happy days with their lovers. Spirits are raised by the arrival of Schaunard and Colline. During their antics Musetta bursts in with Mimì deathly ill. Mimì and Rodolfo sing of their love, while everyone leaves for help. When they return with medicine and money from selling what little belongings each had, Rodolfo suddenly realizes what the others have seen, that Mimì is dead. Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
Dear friends,As you may or may not know by now, one of the varied musical hats I wear is that of Music Director of Longwood Opera. To properly conclude this, our 25th consecutive season, it is with great pleasure indeed that I invite you all to attend one of our only 2 performances of Puccini's timeless and primal opera, La Boheme. Themes of new love, end of love, death, springtime, good times all wrapped up in a score that remains a cornerstone of the operatic repertoire since its premiere 121 years ago.Having heard over 200 young singers in last year's auditions, I can safely say that we have fielded an unusually fine cast of young singers. These are the people of whom we will all be saying "I knew them when...."Scott Brumit's experienced and adept staging cuts to the true essentials of telling the story. While not as updated as a recent take of this story entitled "Rent", Puccini's Boheme nevertheless remains timeless in our own contemporary Parisian setting. Do not worry about understanding French or Italian here, this masterpiece of Italian opera set in Paris is, like all our Longwood Opera productions, sung in clearly understood English.In less than 2 hours an entire world of human emotion is displayed here in a concise treatment of the original short story. (Unlike Richard Wagner, who would have taken 4 hours to tell the story and add layers of mythic national consciousness, Puccini works quickly.) Its kind of hard to imagine a dry eye after this show, even in the worst of performances, because it is so elemental and basic. Folks with a knowledge of "Rent" know what I mean).There are only 2 performances of this opera as we no longer take our shows on the road. Please refer to for specific ticket information.Needless to say, I look forward to greeting as many PACC folk as possible at the conclusion of the performance.If one has never attended an opera, if one knows nothing about this art form, indeed even if one dislikes opera because of inherent stereotypes of fat and screaming singers in a foreign language, this work (and I daresay our own production) is the very best possible introduction to the incredibly rich world of the art form called "opera".I hope to see you!All very best,Jeffrey Brody Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
Longwood Opera will present our 7th production of Puccini's LA BOHEME on Friday, October 14 @ 8:00pm and Sunday, October 16 @ 2:30pm. Tickets are available at the door for both performances. We have created our own English translation. This is one of the world's most popular operas, so don't miss it!!Check out our website for more information: or call us at:781-455-0960 Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
A new edition of Oscar Wilde's novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" restores the homoerotic parts his publisher censored -- just like our operatic adaptation, premiering in June. For book info and an interview with the editor, see: Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
I will now know if anyone is actually reading this! I think not!!!! Below is the current staff and cast list. We need to cast (non-paying) the role of Romeo (spoken dialog) and the Housekeeper (tacit) MD Jeffrey Brody Director Scott Brumit ASM Wayne Ward Henry =H Fred Funari Basil... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
We want you to enjoy our presentation. I have borrowed from Wikipedia the following The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde The first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published as the lead story in the July 1890 edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, along with five others.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
What should it be? Gee We are doing our 3rd world premiere in 25 years this June! How many other opera companies can say they are doing that??? We need to have a mainstay October 2011 production that people will want to attend! What immediately comes to mind are: Skazanie... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
It is hard for me to imagine that are already planning for our 25th season. What a milestone for any opera company! We have come a long way since our early efforts in 1986. We have presented 98 major productions. In addition, we have offered 20 summer seasons in Needham,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
Read the librettist's discussion of the creation of this new opera. Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
This may work as our new blog... I'll link it to the Longwood web site ASAP:
Everyone, The location below should be easy to get to for the debut of Jeffrey Brody's opera, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" performed by the Longwood Opera in early June. Please spread the word to any opera lovers (or Dorian Gray fans) of your acquaintance. Having spent many weeks singing... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2011 at The Longwood Opera blog
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Mar 10, 2011