Will Crutchfield conducting Guillaume Tell, photo © Gabe Palacio

Dear Bel Canto fans,

Around this time last year, we were finalizing plans for an opera season so radical that it was difficult even to describe it to supporters and interviewers.

I talked about giving orchestral musicians an "ownership stake" in the operatic drama, about putting Bel Canto singers "in the driver's seat" for their own arias, and...ok, sure, but wait, isn't that what happens anyway when a good opera orchestra plays? Isn't that what happens already when good Bel Canto singers meet a good accompanist on the podium?

Well, yes, in a way, and sometimes it's great. But still, I had a feeling there was something different and new to be discovered.

There was - and our listeners "got it." I urge everybody to have a look at our press page, especially the reviews from Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Musical America, and the article from Early Music America. Even more, I urge you to come hear us this summer, in some of the most gorgeous Bel Canto music ever written, and join in the "transformative" experience!

Our radical premise: by imitating the physical setup, the instrumental sonority, the decentralized responsibility, and what we know of the musical style surrounding Bel Canto opera at its creation, we might unlock new expressive impulses in ourselves and new delights for the audience. By binding ourselves to the limits the original interpreters faced, we might be forced into spontaneous discovery of some of their secrets. By mixing some different ingredients, we might set off a new chemical reaction.

Bel Canto was creative, free-wheeling, loose, open-ended, unpredictable. We want to make it that way again, and we invite you along for the ride!


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p.s. For those who might want an up-close view of the process, please have a look at our Ornamentation Bootcamp. A very limited number of seats for observers are available, so book quickly if this your idea of a fun time - it is definitely ours!