New Opera Company Formed in Rochester | Playbill

Classic Arts News New Opera Company Formed in Rochester
A new opera company, to be called Mercury Opera Rochester, has been founded in Rochester, New York, the Democrat and Chronicle reports.
The company, formed from a merger of Rochester Opera Factory, Opera Rochester, and Opera Theatre Guild, will debut next fall, with a season of three original productions. According to the paper, one will be a grand opera staged at Eastman Theatre and featuring the Rochester Philharmonic, and the other two will be smaller, community-style productions.

In subsequent seasons, the company plans to offer more grand-opera productions.

Benton Hess, music director of the Eastman School of Music's Eastman Opera Theatre, and Gerard Floriano, from Rochester Opera Factory, will share conducting duties.

One rationale for the merger was to provide more performing opportunities for local artists, including student singers from the Eastman School.

Kristen Kessler, the company's new executive director, said, "We're forming this company because Rochester is a music town, and there is a huge need and audience here for more and better opera. This area is home to a huge number of great professional singers, voice students, and theater people, and having a local company staging local productions will give them the opportunity to work."

Mercury Opera Rochester is beginning with a budget of $300,000, mostly from individual donations, with an as-yet-undetermined amount from a bequest called the Fund of Opera in Rochester. James Undercofler, dean of the Eastman School, has also agreed to help the company raise money.

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