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Review for Hillhouse Opera Company, New Haven, CT, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Hillhouse Opera Company represents a coalescence of professional opera talent with local amateur musicians and singers. If Lincoln Center has been criticized for putting opera on a pedestal -- quite literally, given that it floats on platform plaza elevated up from the sidewalk -- then Hillhouse Opera Company is the exact opposite: a way to make opera fresh and accessible without compromising quality. It brings opera into the heart of Connecticut communities by inviting people from all walks of life to participate in a myriad of ways, ranging from set designer to chorus member to cellist. This engages not only those who directly participate in productions, but also their friends, family, and colleagues, who now have a "hook" into the world of opera that makes them more inclined to attend. As such, Hillhouse reaches out to whole new audiences who may have overlooked (or been intimidated by) highbrow performances by the likes of the Met or even Yale's own opera company. At the same time, by bringing in professionals for strategic jobs such as lead roles, stage directors, and conductors, Hillhouse ensures that performances are executed with the craft, precision, and polish that opera -- that most multifaceted of the performing arts -- demands. With its judicious pairing of professionals and amateurs, local and regional talent, and with its efforts to bring opera into neighborhoods throughout the region, Hillhouse Opera Company is an asset to Greater New Haven that is ripe for growth. After only two years of productions, it already stands a worthy model for those who aspire to broaden the appeal of this wonderful art form.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

attending wonderful performances. Being involved as a rehearsal pianist, a role I would never have been able to play in a more traditional opera company.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Volunteer & I was a substitute rehearsal pianist for the company's debut production of Don Giovanni.