Boheme Opera NJ received an Emergency Federal CARES Act Award through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, as well as a grant award from Roma Bank Community Foundation.
Boheme Opera NJ (BONJ) has been busy with its virtual programming, much of which highlights productions, singers and professionals from a 31-year history, according to information provided by Boheme Opera NJ.
Although live performances are currently prohibited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to date the company has completed the first two of its podcast series, as well as the first three in a series of educational streaming events and is now preparing more events in both series.
The audio podcasts are entitled “Worthy of Note: Conversations” and are hosted by BONJ President Jerry Kalstein and BONJ Artistic Director Joseph Pucciatti. The first podcast is a conversation with BONJ Artistic Director Maestro Joseph Pucciatti, an overview of the founding and evolutionary history of Boheme Opera Company, AKA Boheme Opera NJ, now entering its 32nd season. The second podcast is a conversation with U.S. bass-baritone Edward Bogusz.
The educational video streaming events are entitled “Who’s Afraid of Opera” and are hosted by Pucciatti, while being engineered by Johannes Lang.
The first streaming event gives a narrated account of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” with background and synopsis, plus archive photos and recorded live excerpts from BONJ’s 2002 main stage production in the historical Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial, starring soprano Yunah Lee as Cio-Cio San and tenor Ronald Naldi as Pinkerton.
The second streaming event, titled “Youth in Opera,” was co-hosted by Boheme Opera NJ and its newly established partner, the Boheme Opera NJ Guild, a 501c3 non-profit event-fundraising organization supporting BONJ. This event presented recorded live performances by seven of the company’s professional choristers, featuring various opera composers and demonstrating one of the company’s mission components: career advancement. Featured are tenor Emmanuel Acosta, soprano Cecelia Tepping, tenor Mathew Tartza, soprano Lara Gaare, soprano Rachel Cetel, bass-baritone Kevin Patrick, and soprano Amber Nicole Johnson.
The third streaming event visits the intense story and impact of Puccini’s “Tosca,” with excerpts from BONJ’s 1995 production featuring the debuts of now-international stars baritone Mark Delavan as Baron Scarpia, soprano Stephanie Friede as Tosca, and tenor Antonio Nagore as Cavaradossi.
Currently on Boheme Opera YouTube, Spotify, Boheme Opera NJ Facebook, Friends of Boheme Opera, Google Podcasts, and www.bohemeopera.com, both series are planning to announce continuous episodes into 2021.
BONJ is hoping to perform its main stage production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” in spring 2021 on the campus of The College of New Jersey, based upon pending governmental directives, according to the statement.
Funding for BONJ programs is made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State with additional funding from the Emergency Federal CARES Act, Princeton Friends of Opera, Boheme Opera NJ Guild, Dorothea Van Dyke McLane Association, Roma Bank Community Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, corporations, businesses, individuals and collaborative/corporate matching gift contributions.