Opera in ME

Community Programs

Opera Maine seeks to make opera fun, approachable, and affordable to audiences old and new.  Many of our events take place at locations around the state where the public can experience opera in familiar settings they frequent for business or pleasure.

What is it about Opera? The answer is here!

For several years, Opera Maine has offered an in-home program that answers many of the questions you and your friends and family have about opera. The program is called “What is it about Opera?”. It’s free, it’s entertaining and exposes many of the mysteries of this sometimes bewildering art form. The result is that attendees leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation of opera, particularly the opera that is being presented by Opera Maine in this season.

Here’s how it works: The program is given in your home to as many people–neighbors, friends, co-workers–as you are comfortable with. 10 or 12 is a good number, but the program has been presented to groups of all sizes, up to 60 or 70. You set up a date with Opera Maine (call 1 (207) 879-7678). An Opera Maine representative comes to your home and gives the program, usually 45 minutes to an hour. DVDs are used to show excerpts of the operas in question. It helps if you have a TV with a DVD player. Wine tastings work well as do morning coffees, brunches, and cocktail hours. Some hostesses have even had groups over for full dinners! The only qualifications are that your guests have at least a mild interest in the arts, thus a potential interest in opera.

The goals for “What is it about Opera?” are to demonstrate the elements of opera that inspire so many people, create “converts” and persuade listeners to attend our performances. You are our best ambassadors! The programs are given by Opera Maine co-founder Jack Riddle, Opera Maine dramaturg Calien Lewis and other opera-knowledgeable people. Their approach is light-hearted, not serious or bookish, occasionally humorous (there is much to be humorous about!), and interactive, so the audience is encouraged to participate.

This program also works well with book clubs, libraries and other groups you may be involved with. Did we tell you it’s free?

Some upcoming community programs:

Opening of Opera Maine’s Exhibit at the Lewis Gallery in the Portland Public Library
July 5, 5:00 p.m.
Admission is free of charge

Come enjoy this free opening event for Opera Maine’s exhibit in the Portland Public Library’s Lewis Gallery!

Bravo!  Celebrating 25 Years of Opera Maine
This lively exhibition celebrates the artistry of Opera Maine, with video recordings and colorful photos from the company’s wide-ranging operas, recitals, and educational programs performed in and around Portland over the past twenty-five years.  Don’t know much about opera?  The basics of opera’s music, stories, and staging are displayed through models, costumes, and famous scenes of high drama, comedy and tragedy.  Opera Maine will present one of Mozart’s most charming operas, The Magic Flute, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland on July 24 and 26.  The exhibition introduces this beloved opera with illustrations for exotic sets and costumes dating from the years when it was first performed.  The long tradition of opera in the state of Maine is reflected in famous opera divas such as Lillian Nordica, born in Farmington, who rose to international fame on stages all over the world.  The exhibition showcases a collection of antique postcards highlighting some of the many opera houses that were built in cities and small towns all across the state.

This special project is made possible thanks to the generosity of the following foundations:

ART WORKS National Endowment for the Arts
Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust
Davis Family Foundation
The Robert & Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation
Morton Kelley
Opera Volunteers International