The Magic of BCO? Hear 19th c. operas in your own ‘Downton Abbey’!

by John Shields, BCO Board Member

Knowing many of the singers and pianists of the young Baltimore Concert Opera since the beginning, I wanted to support the company from their first year, 2009. Single tickets led me to become a subscriber and I was thrilled when a friend asked to come along - and then she became a long-term subscriber. We now enjoy four operas per BCO season.

When I first started attending opera in NYC in the late 1960s, I always wondered what the on-stage, piano rehearsal sounded like, especially for complex orchestral works. Who knew that many years later I would have this intimate experience! At the BCO, the absence of 80+ instrumentalists is never an issue. The piano vocal scores are extremely rich in their own way and one can focus on the beauty of the voices with all of their colors and vocal shadings. The young, talented soloists travel from all over to perform here in Baltimore and this makes for a great opportunity to hear emerging talent in a gorgeous, nineteenth-century environment (think Downton Abbey) and at reasonable prices.

Patrons have the chance to hear little-known operas, such as Amleto, Edgar, and Tancredi. Join us on a Friday evening and if you love it, return on Sunday for the second performance while the music and singing are still fresh in your mind.

As a new board member, I would love to share my enthusiasm and admiration for BCO with you. We can all be part of the magic of our Baltimore Concert Opera!

- John Shields, BCO Board Member

After seeing his first opera in high school (Carmen in English by the Met Opera National Company at Lincoln Center; I still have the program!), John, overnight, became an opera fanatic. Later that same year he saw La Fanciulla del West at the old Met right before it closed. He recalls straining to see the tenor’s blood fall from the hayloft in the second act from his high-in-the-sky Family Circle seat, next to a column. No such luck! After that he went to the opera as much as possible.  Changing careers mid-life from telecommunications sales to museum work, John was the Docent Manager at the Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame, IN and moved to Baltimore in 1992 to take the position of Manager of Docent and Intern Programs at the Walters Art Museum, where he currently works. John was instrumental in organizing our four Silent Auctions and he participated in our Free Fall Baltimore Aïda presentation in 2015. He has been a long-term BCO subscriber and looks forward to seeing the company expand and enliven the city arts’ scene.