Published May 15, 2007
Volume 15, Number 5

Livermore Valley Opera Eyes Future Growth with Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center

As the Livermore Valley Opera prepares for its upcoming 16th season, it is facing a new and exciting stage in its history: it will move its productions to the new Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, scheduled to open this fall.  In fact, the Opera will be the first arts group to perform at the center opening their season on October 20, with the first performance of the world’s most popular opera, Puccini’s La Boheme.

“We’re ecstatic!” exclaimed Opera President Jim Schmidt.  “We’ve always put on a quality performance at Livermore High School, but now with the Performing Arts Center as our new home, we can do so much more.  The costumes and sets will be better and our opportunity to share our art with more people will be better. The center will help us to grow in the future and become the regional opera company we want to be.”

The Livermore Valley Opera is an all-volunteer, non-profit group supported by ticket sales, fundraisers, grants and donations.  Each spring and fall, the opera presents a locally produced, fully staged opera with orchestra, and promotes local talent and attracts outstanding Bay Area singers, directors and conductors.  Other than the all-volunteer opera chorus, all performers, orchestra, soloists, directors and conductors, are hired for each opera. 

“We have some regular professional orchestra players that we hire but the soloists are frequently new to us,” explains Schmidt.  “Soloists audition for us from all over the country.  Often we use singers from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music because we like to give opportunities to young professionals.”

Schmidt explains that, with the attractiveness of the new Performing Arts Center, he hopes more people will discover how wonderful opera can be. “We are seeking to popularize opera as it is a new trend across the country.  Because it is a musical drama with moving scenes and a story to follow, it captures the interest of many people.” 

To reach this goal, Livermore Valley Opera plans to perform the more popular operas, which appeal to broader audiences.  In March, the Opera performed Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, which brought in a record audience totaling more than 1,450.   “We set a new attendance record with Mikado,” said an excited Schmidt.  “This tells us that the more popular operas are the way to go.  That is why we also chose Bizet’s Carmen for our March 2008 performance.  It’s probably the next best known opera after La Boheme.” 

Other events that have proven popular for the Opera is its annual fundraiser Opera in the Vineyard, which will take place next month on Sunday, June 24, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Cedar Mountain Winery in Livermore.  The Opera invites you to bring a picnic basket and blanket or chair and enjoy beautiful music and wine.  Drawings and silent auction will also be held.

For more information about the Opera in the Vineyard event, as well as the Livermore Valley Opera’s performances, visit www.livermorevalleyopera.com.


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