Better Together: Why BCO loves to collaborate! by Julia Cooke

Originally posted 5/24/16.  Updated 4/28/17.

We’ve made a major effort over the past few years to collaborate in various ways with other artistic organizations. With children’s and student choruses in our productions (Children’s Chorus of Maryland, Maryland Boychoir, and Towson University opera students) we are able to educate and offer transformative musical experiences to young artists. By working with other local arts organizations (The Walters Museum, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company), we highlight the connection between opera and other art forms.

However, the most expansive way we collaborate is by presenting co-productions with other companies, where the cast rehearses and gives concert performances at BCO, then travels to the partner company to prepare and perform a full production with staging, costumes, sets and orchestra.

These artistic partnerships have been an instrumental part of BCO’s evolution, keeping us at the top of the opera game and in the news! Our co-productions with Opera Southwest (Albuquerque, NM) and OperaDelaware (Wilmington, DE) enable us to bring more variety to our programming, always offering our audiences top talent on stage. These collaborations also allows BCO to support the art form of opera at large, since the BCO component cements artists’ ability to get straight to the work of staging as soon as they arrive at the next company for the full production, enhancing their musical security when all the other elements are added.

It is because of these collaborations that we are able to add very complex, or rarely performed operas to our repertoire, which our short rehearsal period wouldn’t allow time to prepare if they were solely BCO productions. It is our goal to continue to offer a combination of collaborations AND BCO solo productions in the coming years, fulfilling our mission to bring opera to Baltimore and beyond.

Our Semiramide cast and chorus, who closed at BCO just a few weeks ago will open the fully staged production at OperaDelaware this weekend (performances 4/29 at 7:30pm and 5/7 at 2pm at The Grand in Wilmington). When I saw the principal cast after their final room run at OD, I told them how great they were and asked if having had that extra week at BCO had been helpful. They all gushed about how wonderful it had been, and what a luxury it was to be able to work together musically before moving to staging rehearsals at OD!

Last year, we had another successful collaboration with OperaDelaware: Verdi’s Falstaff. The top-notch cast arrived in Baltimore, spent five days rehearsing the “fiendishly complicated” score (Gail Obenreder, Delaware News Journal) and smoothing through the tough spots, getting to know one another and creating a tremendous team spirit, and enjoying Baltimore and everything it has to offer!

After the last of the glowing concert performances in Baltimore, our casts travel to our partner company, and get straight to work on staging. The fruits of the collaborations are vast and shine brightly both at the BCO performances and at our partner companies - a win-win for all!


Luckily, Baltimore continues to get the first taste of these partnerships. Stay tuned for more next season!

Opera Delaware, Semiramide and Arsace. Photo: Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography.

Opera Delaware, Semiramide and Arsace. Photo: Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography.

Baltimore Concert Opera, Arsace and Semiramide. Photo: Courtney Kalbacker

Baltimore Concert Opera, Arsace and Semiramide. Photo: Courtney Kalbacker

Baltimore Concert Opera, Falstaff and Dame Quickly. Britt Olson-Ecker Photography.

Baltimore Concert Opera, Falstaff and Dame Quickly. Britt Olson-Ecker Photography.

Opera Delaware, Falstaff and Dame Quickly. Photo: Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography.

Opera Delaware, Falstaff and Dame Quickly. Photo: Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography.