SUNSET PARK — For a half century, the Regina Opera Company has been staging acclaimed opera performances throughout Brooklyn at a reasonable price. Over the years, it has also provided a showcase for singers to perform standard operatic repertoire primarily in the original language, in fully staged productions with orchestral accompaniment and English supertitles.
Founded in 1970 by Marie Cantoni and Nicholas Tierno, Regina Opera began as a small group of dedicated singers who gave recitals in a tiny auditorium at the Regina Pacis-St. Rosalia Parish Youth Center in Dyker Heights.
The following year, the group produced an abridged stage version of “La Traviata” with piano accompaniment. In 1976, it began performing on the larger stage at Regina Hall (the auditorium of Regina Pacis School), and acquired an orchestra in 1982.
In 2012, the Regina Opera moved to its new home: the Our Lady of Perpetual Help School auditorium, whose more professional stage facilities and comfortable audience amenities inaugurated a new era in Regina Opera’s history.
The beloved Brooklyn institution recently announced its upcoming lineup, which includes a classic tragedy, a double bill of a comic opera and a golden jubilee concert and a company premiere of Puccini’s last great opera.
“This is an exciting season, it is Regina Opera Company’s 50th season of bringing great opera to our Brooklyn friends and neighbors,” Regina Opera Company’s Executive Vice President Francine Garber told this paper.
“This season, as in all seasons, we will present a group of the most talented musical artists — singers and orchestra players – in New York City. Regina Opera has presented the first two operas of the season, ‘Carmen’ and ‘Gianni Schicchi’ previously, but this will be the first time that we will present ‘Turandot,’” added Garber.
The season’s first opera is Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” the tale of a soldier and the gypsy who beguiles him. The production is conducted by Gregory Ortega and staged by Linda Lehr. There will be a free sneak-peek performance with piano on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances with orchestra on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 3 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 24 at 3 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 1 at 3 p.m.
Next up is Giacomo Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi,” a classic comedy that features a death, greedy relatives and a forged will. The performance also includes a golden jubilee concert. The play is conducted by Elizabeth Hastings and staged by Lehr. The concert is conducted by Ortega. The free sneak preview with piano is on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. Performances are on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 1 at 3 p.m.; Sunday, March 7 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m.
The last performance of the season is a production of “Turandot,” Puccini’s final work, which tells the story of a mystical prince who seeks the love of a cold princess. It is conducted by Ortega and staged by Lehr. The sneak-peek performance is on Monday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances take place on Saturday, May 9 at 3 p.m.; Saturday, May 10 at 3 p.m.; Saturday, May 16 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, May 17 at 3 p.m.
All performances will be at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy of Brooklyn, 5902 Sixth Ave. For tickets and more information, go to www.reginaopera.org.