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DVO begins 25th season: It ain’t over ‘till (somebody) sings

By Jonathan Fox
July 21, 2011

NARROWSBURG, NY — I was exposed to the world of opera at an early age. Inspired by the grandeur and incredible music, I became a fan quickly, and remain so to this day. So I was delighted to discover, after moving to the region, that the Delaware Valley Opera (DVO) and a company of talented, driven professionals is dedicated to presenting quality productions right here in the Upper Delaware region.

I had heard that there was new blood infusing the company with excitement, and I decided to start my researches by checking out the website. (delawarevalleyopera.org). I found out, among other things, that the DVO is a nonprofit regional professional opera company that will celebrate its Silver Anniversary in 2011, and that it is a Professional Company member of Opera America. With that background under my belt, it was time to sit down with DVO general manager Carol Castel to get an insider’s view on what the company is doing and where it is heading.

“We’re turning a corner,” Castel said. “It’s time to get back to our roots: the community.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the DVO is their company, not an exclusive club. Whether you’re an opera fan or not, our not-for-profit company is for everyone. Our focus this year is community involvement, and we’re very excited to share this experience with the seasoned opera fan, as well as those who have yet to explore what we have to offer.”

Branching out is clearly key to the mission of the DVO. Staging performances throughout the region will give the company an opportunity to diversify and reach more audiences, including students who have yet to be exposed to this art form. The ambitious calendar includes upcoming shows at the Tusten Theater in Narrowsburg, Sullivan West High School in Lake Huntington and Wallenpaupack High School in Hawley, PA, among others.

“Both Sullivan West and Wallenpaupack house gorgeous, state-of-the-art, air conditioned theatres,” Castel told me over breakfast. “Our communities have paid dearly for these facilities and we want to celebrate the DVO’s ‘dawning of a new day’ by bringing the opera out into the public in a way we have not explored in the past.”

With a calendar of events that includes Tchaikovskys’ “Eugene Onegin” (currently running), Gaetano Donizetti’s “The Elixer of Love” (the first two weekends in August), a “Young Singers of the Valley” concert and, for the first time joining up with the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (www.bethelwoodscenter.org), an upcoming winter holiday performance of “Hansel and Gretel,” these folks are busy.