Barber, Books & Baltimore


Welcome to Fall, and a plethora of operatic and cultural events in the Baltimore region. We are busy compiling a list of all of the upcoming performances, but didn’t want you to miss out the exciting events over the next couple of day

The opera season in Baltimore opens this Friday evening with Baltimore Concert Opera‘s much-anticipated Il Barbiere di Siviglia in the grand ballroom of the historic Garrett Jacobs Mansion (home of The Engineers Club). BCO’s performances of Rossini’s comedic masterpiece take place on Friday evening (9/24) at 7pm and Sunday afternoon(9/26) at 3pm. Featuring perhaps the most recognizable opera tune ever written, this Barbiere is a treat for opera fans and novices alike. BCO’s exciting cast features Peabody grad David Krohn as Figaro, Heather Johnson as Rosina and BCO favorite Tim Augustin as Almaviva. As always, the atmosphere is casual (business casual actually) and there is a cash bar – and you may bring your cocktail with you into the ballroom. Also, you can SAVE 25% when you buy season tickets to all three of BCO’s performances, which also includes La Bohème and Le Nozze di Figaro. This offer ends this weekend, so act now!

And while you’re at BCO’s Barber, why not take in some of the events at the Baltimore Book Festival which is also taking place in Mount Vernon this weekend. Here’s a link to the schedule of events and, for those foodies in the audience, some tasty dining options for your pre or post Barber outing.

Coming up tomorrow evening (9/23), Annapolis Opera is hosting a Celebrate Opera! fundraiser of small plates and wine pairings at Wine Cellars of Annapolis. There will be operatic performances by Jason Stearns and Colleen Daly. Proceeds will benefit Annapolis Opera. Call Kelly at 410-267-8135 to make your reservation. More information can be found by clicking here.

Looking ahead, don’t forget to buy your tickets to Opera Vivente’s “Good vs. Evil” season, which opens with Lucy of Lammermoor on October 22nd. Check out the entire season on their brand new Web site!

15% Discount on BCO’s A Flight of Verdi Program May 21st and 23rd


Baltimore Concert Opera presents A Flight of Verdi

Baltimore Concert Opera Invites Public to Hear Auditions



About 50 opera fans gathered in the Grand Ballroom of Mount Vernon’s Engineers Club on Monday for the first of two evenings of Baltimore Concert Opera’s open auditions entitled So You Think You Can Sing Opera? And that’s exactly what happened as 22 artists sang a cumulative 30+ arias over the course of the evening. The highlight for me was at the end of the first half when soprano Rachel Joselson and mezzo-soprano Laura Zuiderveen offered their auditions.  Joselson sang the “Salce, salce/Ave Maria” scene from Act IV of Verdi’s Otello with beauty and finesse. Joselson is obviously a very seasoned artist as she created a stunning arc musically and dramatically from beginning to end. Zuiderveen, rich-voiced and theatrically commanding, sang Wagner’s “Weiche Wotan weiche!” from Das Rheingold and “Mon Coeur s’ouvre a ta voix from Samson and Dalilah. Other standouts of the evening include Kevin Wetzel’’s rendition of Valentin’s “Avant de quitter ces lieux” from Faust and Theresa Bickham’s Silver Aria from The Ballad of Baby Doe.  BCO’s General Director Brendan Cooke offered his usual witty commentary, helping the audience and singers release any tension or preconceived notions they may have had about this format.

Due to a previous engagement, I had to leave before the last three singers took to the stage.

Auditions continue tonight starting at 7pm.  For $10 at the door, you can experience when American Idol meets opera in an up-close and personal setting.  The Engineers Club is business casual, so remember, no jeans or Simon Cowell black t-shirts.  For more information, visit

Monica Boldt sings at BCO's open auditions Monday evening.

Monica Boldt sings at BCO's open auditions Monday evening.

AOT presents Jephtha this Friday and Saturday–Discounted Tickets Here


Today we ran the show for the first time. It is hard to beat a brilliant cast and musical team like we have assembled, but today the work came into its own. It is devestatingly beautiful, more than that it is powerful. The entire cast was in tears after the second act. This a deeply human drama to music that only man facing mortality could write. It is tranfiguring and transformational. It is something not to be missed.
-Timothy Nelson (Artistic Director)

As the second installment in its provocative and gripping Handel series which began with Messiah in 2007, and will culminate in 2010 with Giulio Cesare, American Opera Theater ends this season with the master’s last great work.

Jephtha explores the furthest reaches of human faith in an explosive score widely considered to be the summation of Handel’s life. In his final days, forced to stop several times due to impeding blindness, Handel composed this ultimate testament to the mysterious relationship between God and man. American Opera Theater is proud to collaborate with the Handel Choir of Baltimore, its own nationally acclaimed baroque orchestra Ignoti Dei, and a dynamic international cast of soloists in this most powerful and human of Handel’s compositions.

As a subscriber to, you are entitled to a 40% Discount on your entire ticket purchase for Jephtha. Just buy your tickets here and enter code MRHANDEL to receive the discount.

In Other News:
OT’s annual event, Wine and Music at THE ELM, has been postponed from its April 18th date until the Summer, to celebrate AOT’s participation in Artscape. In the meantime, the exciting and exotic online silent auction (including everything from AOT and opera paraphanalia to vacations, safaris, and luxury items) has been extended through the end of this month. You can view and bid on the variety of objects, still at unbelievable discounts at:

The “Real” Marriage of Figaro


You’re probably thinking I’m writing today to inform you of the next great operatic performance in Baltimore. Or to ask you for your financial support of one of the fine opera companies our city is lucky to have. In fact, I am simply asking for 5 minutes of your time and, if you are willing, a vote for someone who has touched many people in Baltimore, bass Jason Hardy. Many of you know Jason from his many performances with the Baltimore Opera Company or when he sang Leporello in Baltimore Concert Opera‘s inaugural performance of Don Giovanni in March 2009.

Everyone has a story, but there is none more amazing, devastating, encouraging, hopeful, touching and worth sharing, than the Jason’s story. Jason attended the Peabody Conservatory here in Baltimore. As our mutual friend, Brendan Cooke, would say, he spent much of his time pining away for his then girlfriend, Bevelyn…who also had quite a story.  Bevelyn had lost her husband to brain cancer, just a few days before their son was born.  She met Jason when her boy, Luke, was an infant.

Jason’s career was on the fast track, when they found out that Bevelyn had breast cancer.  They, of course, were shocked and terrified.  A few days later, they received even more news that they’d have to digest, Bevelyn was pregnant!  They found doctors that were willing to treat her cancer “around” the pregnancy…and soon, their miracle baby, Sabrina was born.  Bevelyn continued her treatment, and was ultimately given a clean bill of health.

Tragically, Bevelyn’s cancer returned. Treatment after treatment, set-back after set-back, Bevelyn remained an inspiration to everyone who knew her.  In 2007, Jason (and the rest of us) lost Bevelyn and leaving Jason a single parent.

Fast forward a couple of years…because this story has a happy ending, and you can help make it even happier.  Like his wife Bevelyn, Jason too was able to find love after devastating loss.  In 2007, he met a wonderful woman named Carrie. Many people search their whole life to find a soul-mate…Jason found two, and those that know him are eternally grateful that he has found Carrie.

Jason proposed to Carrie after opening night of a production of Le Nozze di Figaro…and she said YES.  Some charming video of the proposal can be found here:

Jason Hardy Proposes at the end of Le Nozze di Figaro

So, what does this have to do with you? Jason and Carrie have been entered into Crate & Barrel’s Ultimate Wedding Contest to get their dream wedding. I can think of no more deserving people. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Vote for Jason and Carrie by clicking here
  2. Post their story to your Twitter account, Facebook page or Youtube channel
  3. Sign-up to follow progress on Twitter @JasonHardyATL or #FigaroWedding

Thanks for your time and as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this story.

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