The Case for Concert Opera

by Courtney Kalbacker, Managing Director

I am an opera performer/director, a lover of music-theatre and drama-driven spectacle. I am also a fervent supporter of the concert opera form. My last two years with Baltimore Concert Opera have helped me understand concert opera's unique value in the general operatic landscape. As I become more involved with opera companies internally, I realize what streamlined concert opera can do to support our art form and boost audience development. Besides the obvious appeal of hearing fantastic singers perform gorgeous music in our own neighborhood, the concert format has an important place in the operatic scene at large.  1.) BCO can produce roughly four operas in concert form for less than the cost of one grand opera.  2.) Because of this cost structure, concert opera can afford to take chances on rarely-heard works and rising young singers. 3.) Concert opera can give full productions a head start on cast cohesion through collaborative co-productions. 4.) Most importantly, Baltimore Concert Opera gives Baltimore more opera. More singing. More operatic options. More chances to connect with audiences. This is a very, very good thing. So often, our art is overlooked, misunderstood, or just unknown. Baltimore Concert Opera has reached hundreds of new patrons this past year through 4 mainstage productions and 3 "Thirsty Thursday at the Opera" events. Some of these new patrons will prefer Falstaff over Lakme, or Amleto over Die Fledermaus, but the point is - folks can have choices, develop opinions, and learn about opera in Baltimore. This is a valuable chance for Baltimore's lucky opera lovers, singers, and producers. I am all three -- but if you identify even as one of these, you can be proud to join me in my support of BCO.

-Courtney Kalbacker, Managing Director

Courtney Kalbacker is a dedicated opera performer and producer based in Baltimore, MD. She has taken on many roles both on and off stage including currently serving as Managing Director of Baltimore Concert Opera and Director of Production at UrbanArias. She is also a freelance stage director with Maryland Live Arts, Victorian Lyric Opera, UrbanArias, Silver Finch Arts Collective, Unmanned Stagecraft, Oklahoma City University and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. She performs as a coloratura soprano with many local companies including Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, The Victorian Lyric Opera Company, Harford Choral Society, HUB Opera Ensemble, Silver Finch Arts Collective and at venues abroad including the Warsaw Chamber Opera and Kingshead Theatre (London). More info at