Boston Conservatory and Boston Lyric Opera Announce New Partnership
Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) announce a new educational and artist development partnership. The partnership, which launched at the start of the fall 2022 semester, unlocks incredible opportunities for Boston Conservatory students and members of BLO’s Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artists group, including a new Opera Innovators Series at the Conservatory that engages some of the most innovative and sought-after figures in the opera world.
This fall, the Opera Innovators Series welcomes Detroit Opera Artistic Director Yuval Sharon on September 23, whose production of La Bohème will be produced by BLO September 23 through October 2, and Metropolitan Opera soprano superstar Karen Slack on December 9, who is also performing in Boston Conservatory’s Center Stage concert Song of Hope on December 8. In the spring, the series will engage mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen, cofounder of the Asian Opera Alliance and BLO artistic advisor.
“In a rapidly changing industry, the opportunity for emerging professional singers to hear and engage with significant waymakers and innovators in the field is of crucial importance,” says Boston Conservatory at Berklee Chair of Voice Isaí Jess Muñoz, who is leading the partnership initiative and codirecting the Opera Innovators Series with BLO Acting General and Artistic Director Bradley Vernatter. “Many of these leaders are here with Boston Lyric Opera, and I’m thrilled for this partnership to formally connect our students to them.”
Boston Conservatory and BLO have much in common. Both institutions are historic, enrich the Boston community, and share artistic talent—several Boston Conservatory faculty members and alums work regularly with BLO, and students learn from watching their productions. The institutions are also aligned in their commitment to preserving the integrity of opera as an art form while finding new ways to advance the genre and connect it to contemporary communities.
Now in its 46th season, BLO remains faithful to tradition while blazing new paths, building audiences, and creating new ways to enhance the opera-going experience. Since its founding in 1976, BLO continues to celebrate the art of the voice through innovative productions and public programming. The company, employing nearly 500 artists and creative professionals annually, has produced notable world and U.S. premieres, commissions, and coproductions ranging from live stage productions to films streamed worldwide on its platform, operabox.tv. Alongside its main stage programming, BLO artists in its Jane & Steven Akin Emerging Artists initiative work to hone their craft and prepare for the next step in their careers while BLO’s wide-reaching community programming and education initiatives introduce opera to new audiences across generations.
“This new collaboration with Boston Conservatory at Berklee underscores the commitment BLO has to working closely and actively with the many fine cultural organizations and training programs in our city,” says Vernatter. “The partnership, which we expect will continue to deepen, supports not only the students at the prestigious Boston Conservatory but also the rising young professional artists at BLO who represent the future of our industry. I know both groups will inspire each other and themselves to higher artistic achievements.”
Boston Conservatory—the oldest performing arts conservatory of its kind in the United States—has been innovating since its founding and claims many notable firsts, including being the first conservatory to form a grand opera department. Today, Boston Conservatory’s Music Division offers a reimagined approach to classical music training that reflects and engages with the world we live in by embracing diversity in all its forms—of people, of perspective, and of aesthetic. Through the school’s renowned faculty and professional partnerships with forward-thinking organizations like the BLO, Boston Conservatory students form meaningful connections in the the field that empower them to cultivate original artistic expression and pursue life-long careers in music.
“This partnership is an exciting and very natural realization of our shared values across both Boston Conservatory and Boston Lyric,” says Michael Shinn, Boston Conservatory’s dean of music. “In addition to our rich artistic history, these are two institutions paving the way in the operatic world as radical innovators and changemakers, bringing new perspectives to the artform while intentionally connecting with wider audiences. I look forward to what we will do together in the future!”