Berkshire Opera Festival Announces Season

Mark Your Calendars

By: - Feb 21, 2024

Berkshire Opera Festival  (BOF) announces its 2024 season in Great Barrington, MA and New York City. The only company of its kind in the Berkshire region, BOF produces opera at the highest level under the vision of esteemed co-founders Brian Garman (Artistic Director) and Jonathan Loy ((Director of Production). The highest quality productions and performers are around the corner.  

For its 2024 season, BOF mounts a mainstage production of Charles Gounod's Faust, which comes to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on August 24, 27, and 30. This spring, they'll also travel to New York City to give a workshop performance of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis’s The Reef, a new opera written in collaboration with librettist Joan Ross Sorkin, on April 10 at Merkin Hall. 

Of BOF's new production of Faust, Stage Director and BOF Co-Founder Jonathon Loy says: “I’m very excited to produce Faust this summer, BOF’s first time ever presenting a French opera. Gounod’s romantic music is exquisite, and everyone will be familiar with the tale of the old man, Dr. Faust, who sells his soul to the devil, for a chance to be young and fall in love, just one more time. You won’t be surprised that this deal does not work out so well for the mortal parties involved.”

The production will also use a newly created orchestral version of the score, made by Artistic Director and Co-Founder Brian Garman, who will also conduct. Of the score, he says: "Like many companies that perform in small to medium-sized theaters, BOF sometimes has to perform with slightly reduced orchestrations so that all our (roughly 35) musicians can fit in the space.  There weren't any published reductions that pleased me, so I wrote a new one which best suits our needs."

Three performances take place at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. All artists in the esteemed cast are making their BOF debut. In the title role is tenor Duke Kim, 2021 winner of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. Kim also performs with Seattle Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) and Pittsburgh Opera (La Traviata) this year, following Glimmerglass last summer (Roméo et Juliette). In the role of Marguerite is Raquel González, whom Opera News called a “true artist," and is a returning roster member of the Metropolitan Opera. She sings with Houston Grand Opera (Madama Butterfly) this season, and previously Lyric Opera of Chicago and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Méphistophélès will be played by Justin Hopkins, whose bass-baritone was described by the Los Angeles Times as "beautifully focused." His recent engagements include La Monnaie, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Bard Music Festival, and Austin Lyric Opera. Jarrett Porter, described by Opera News as "a supple, vibrant lyric baritone" and who will perform in five operas at Oper Frankfurt this year, will play Valentin. In the role of Siébel is Sun-Ly Pierce, who recently wowed audiences and critics in Rodelinda at Hudson Hall. Pierce has been praised by Opera News for her “lush, flexible mezzo-soprano,” and this season she also stars in productions at Houston Grand Opera (Suzuki in Madama Butterfly), Des Moines Metro Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), and makes her Metropolitan Opera debut in La Rondine. In the role of Marthe Schwerlein is mezzo-soprano Abbegael Greene, who received a Master's degree in voice performance from Bard College Conservatory. Kyle Dunn, 2024 Apprentice Artist at Sarasota Opera and a graduate of Peabody Institute, sings Wagner.