Opera returns to Ozarks for 70th anniversary season

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Opera in the Ozarks, the prominent opera training program and summer music festival in Eureka Springs, is returning to the stage for its 70th Anniversary Season in July.

Opera in the Ozarks will present its 2021 Summer Season “Tying the Knot” from Friday, July 2, through Friday, July 23. A cast of 35 singers and 13 orchestra members will gather to present 19 staged and costumed live opera performances this season.

All performances will be held at the Opera in the Ozarks theater at Inspiration Point, 16311 Highway 62 West, Eureka Springs. Capacity at the theater will be strictly limited. Masks are required.

“We are so excited to be returning to the stage!” general director Nancy Preis said. “While this season is a bit shorter than we usually do, the repertoire still includes two fully staged operas and a family opera — all performed with a chamber orchestra. We are instituting a host of safety procedures, including social distancing and wearing of masks by all audience members. But what will be on stage is the same glorious music and dramatic entertainment we’ve been producing for more than 70 years.”

Tickets are on sale now.

The 2021 Summer Season repertoire includes Massenet’s Cendrillon, the retelling of the beloved fairy tale Cinderella with equal parts madcap comedy and heartfelt romance; Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, the tragic tale of the bride of Lammermoor and an abridged family version of Mozart’s fantastical yarn, The Magic Flute. 

Opera in the Ozarks artistic director Tom Cockrell said the return to stage will be especially sweet after the decision to cancel the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our engagement has been extended for a year, but we are now ‘Tying the Knot’ and the wait will make the musical nuptials all the sweeter,” Cockrell said. “At long last, Cendrillon will get her Prince Charming, Pamina her Tamino, Papagena her Papageno and Lucia, well, Arturo — but it is complicated because she kills him on their wedding night. After all, love is at the heart of opera — even when that heart is stabbed by an unhinged soprano.”

This season’s family opera, The Magic Flute, is an Opera in the Ozarks original adapted by stage director Robert Swedberg, complete with colorful costumes, scenery and some of the best tunes from the opera. Children and the young at heart alike are sure to love this chance to experience live music and theater together.

In addition, two special performances are planned: Crazy Mixed Up Opera on July 17 and Scenes: Opera & Broadway on July 21.

Opera in the Ozarks has not been idle during the pandemic. In March, the organization announced the new Instrumental Academy at Inspiration Point for college-bound musicians, which will be held virtually June 1-19. And last fall, Opera in the Ozarks presented two live socially distanced concerts with visiting alumni for the debut of its Alumni Recital Series. The next recital series performance is May 23, featuring alumni Lorraine Ernest and Neal Long.

“During the pandemic shutdown, we made a concerted effort to reconnect with our over 3,000 alumni,” Preis said. “What we heard over and over was how valuable the experience at Inspiration Point was in helping singers develop their skills. We can’t wait to continue that tradition.”

Single tickets for the 2021 Summer Season performance are $25 and $30 for adults and $10 for children under 18.

Tickets can be purchased online at opera.org or by calling the Opera in the Ozarks box office at (479) 253-8595. For more information, visit opera.org.

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