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Opera in Baltimore is in full swing this March.  With so many operatic happenings to report, I’ll cut to the chase.

I hope some of you were in the audience when grand opera returned to the Lyric on February 14th with Opera New Jersey’s performance of Bizet’s Carmen. After many seasons on the audience side of the curtain, I had the distinct pleasure of my making my Lyric Opera House debut…albeit as a supernumerary.  It was an incredible feeling watching the curtain rise and seeing a packed Lyric Opera House, all while sitting next to my wife, Soprano Suzanne Balaes-Blair, in the bull ring bleachers.  Suzanne last sang at the Lyric in the chorus of Baltimore Opera’s production of Norma in November 2008, which we all know sadly turned out to be their swan song.

I have received quite a few e-mails with feedback on Carmen at the Lyric. Some talk about the wonderful upbeat feeling of having grand opera back at The Lyric, if only for one night.  Others were a little disappointed in certain aspects of the production.  What did you think? If you were there, take a moment and share your thoughts by commenting on this blog post at the bottom..  

Looking ahead, Opera Vivente will continue their performances of Impressions of Pelléas (Debussy/Constant) tonight and Saturday night at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon.  OV has generously offered a special BOGO promotion for BaltimoreOpera.com subscribers.  Just call the OV box office at 410-547-7997 and mention "BaltimoreOpera.com" and you will get a free ticket with each ticket you purchase, while supplies last.

Also this weekend, you will have the opportunity to catch not one, not two but THREE cabaret style performances of opera here in Baltimore. Tomorrow night at 7:30pm, Baltimore Concert Opera returns to Germano’s for an evening of wine, food and opera favorites, all sung by members of the BCO board and special guests. If you made it to BCO’s last Germano’s Cabaret night in November, you’ll know this is not-to-be-missed entertainment. Call Germano’s at 410.752.4515 to make your reservations. Not to be outdone, The Lyric is continuing their L3 series at Meli on Friday night at 5pm and has their Germano’s Cabaret night on Saturday evening at 6:30pm. Conceivably, you could make all three of these performances (Friday night’s performances are scheduled 30 minutes apart and are only blocks away from each other). If you do make all three, please buy Maestro Jimmy Harp a drink…he’s the pianist for each of them!

Next up is Peabody Opera Theatre’s performances of Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, March 10th-13th. Also during that time, Baltimore Opera Theatre returns to the Hippodrome for their second performance, this time of Verdi’s Rigoletto, on March 11th. To round out the weekend, Annapolis Opera brings Puccini’s Tosca to the stage at Maryland Hall in Annapolis on March 12th and 14th.

Opera fans are in for a special treat on March 19th and 21st with Baltimore Concert Opera’s third performance of their season with Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana & Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. This special pairing of two one act operas is sure to be a season highlight for Baltimore opera fans as BCO audience favorites Michael Mayes and Francesca Mondanaro return to Baltimore for two nights only. Baltimore Concert Opera has offered a 10% discount to BaltimoreOpera.com subscribers on ticket purchases to CavPag. Just enter promo code BOCAVPAG at checkout to take advantage of this special offer.

There are two new young opera groups that are performing in Baltimore. Chesapeake Concert Opera is performing Verdi’s La Traviata on March 26th & 27th at Memorial Episcopal Church in Bolton Hill. The Figaro Project has also started performing at Germano’s Cabaret and plans to raise the curtain on May 16th with their first performance of The Figaro Project based on Le nozze di Figaro at First English Lutheran Church. If you’ve been to any of their performances, please do chime in with your thoughts by commenting at the bottom.

Finally, at the end of the month, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is performing Stravinsky’s Pulcinella under the baton of Marin Alsop. This is a great chance to see this rarely performed piece which was written to be performed as a ballet, featuring local Bass-Baritone and impresario Brendan Cooke.

As always, BaltimoreOpera.com is up-to-date with information and links for all of these performances. If you have any suggestions or comments, please drop me an e-mail, or discuss your operatic experiences by commenting below. I hope to see you at the opera!