Introducing Ohio's Newest Opera Company: Mid-Ohio Opera
You can't have too much opera. Ohio is blessed with a world class company in Cincinnati, a reborn and fantastic Opera Columbus , Opera Project Columbus, Cleveland Opera, Toledo, Canton and Akron Operas and the latest, Mansfield's Mid-Ohio Opera.
For forty years, The Cincinnati Opera played every summer in the local zoo. You gotta get a gimmick. It may not be a gimmick, but Mid-Ohio Opera's current production of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love is something of a family affair.
The Company went pro last year, and is the brainchild of singer-impresario Joel Vega. Trained at The Ohio State University and Northern Arizona University, Joel keeps busy as General Director of Mid-Ohio Opera, and his brother Aaron is directing Elixir. Keeping peace in the family may mean one or the other brother absenting himself from rehearsals, but from the sound of things The Elixir of Love sounds like a hit.
"My brother and his wife run a theater company in Manhattan called Eureka Suitcase Productions", Joel tells us. "They specialize in accessible productions of Shakespeare and they work all over New York. Their production of 'The Tempest' was recently featured mid -town."
The Vega brothers have come up with a "fairy-tale" interpretation of Donizetti's marvelous comedy. Classic clown costumes come from The Zoot theater in Dayton. Mid-Ohio Opera is obviously bringing a lot of imagination and sparkle to their productions.
"We are using piano for Elixir of Love." True, but not any piano. Paul Chandley, who has coached at the Metropolitan Opera, travels with his own Steinway!
Past productions include Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and a multi-media presentation of Schubert's Winterreise: "We ran around filming the terrible winter weather in black and white. The projections worked well with the bleak German poetry!"
Next March Mid-Ohio Opera kicks it up with a production of Mozart's Magic Flute, in collaboration with the Mansfield Symphony at the Renaissance Theater. This kind of creativity in opera production promises marvelous opera for Mansfield and environs. And why not? You can't have too much opera!
Mid-Ohio Opera presents Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love) at Mansfield High School auditorium July 24 at 7:30 p.m. and July 26 at 3 p.m. www.mid-ohio-opera.org