The evening includes an opening wine reception and dinner with entertainment by four of the current season's talented crop of singers.
This year's repertoire, La Bohème, Die Zauberflöte, and A Little Night Music is sure to provide inspiration for a few of the numbers, along with surprises from the movies and Broadway sung by a soprano, mezzo, tenor and baritone with piano accompaniment.
The official season opens June 22, but already faculty, staff and singers have been arriving, auditioning and getting ready for first rehearsals on Friday. After four weeks of intense rehearsing (two with orchestra), the fully costumed and staged extravaganza finally begins.
Students from all points have been attracted to Inspiration Point for the program of study and performance.
"Our seasonal selection provides a singer with the opportunity to master a role in an opera that is popular," explained Jim Swiggart, general director. "We also balance the types of roles so that we attract outstanding voices. Our company of 45 singers earned their performance opportunity through 18 national auditions from New York City to Los Angeles and continue our reputation as the premier summer opera festival in America.
"There are usually a few repeat students each year who attend because we are doing an opera that fits their particular voice quality."
The outdoor opera's early history as an arts camp 62 years ago makes an interesting read on the Opera's website, www.opera.org. In keeping with that history of nurturing and developing the arts, Swiggart has based his vision for the future on "the principles that led to the founding of our company."
"This is a very difficult profession," he explained, "and we provide nurturing and challenging opportunities for talented young artists, and bridge the gap between college and professional. This is my 24th year to manage this art form and it is very satisfying to see the growth in the participants and the impact we have made. Those who don't get to the large opera houses, become college teachers and leaders in the arts.
"We have seen enormous growth from our early days because of the local support we have had and the extended support base throughout Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Kansas. In the last two years, we have invested $400,000 in facility improvements and increased our national reputation with expanded publicity in magazines, and other media. This should lead to the building of a completely new theater in the near future."
The Opera's newsletter chronicles the many successes of former OiO students, most recently that of Latonia Moore in the Metropolitan Opera's nationally-broadcast matinee performance of Aida on March 3 in which Moore replaced an ailing Violetta Urmana in the starring role. She received a standing ovation and was praised in an Opera News article by editor Brian Kellow, who wrote, "I didn't want to be anywhere but right there in the theater, soaking up the electricity of the audience as it roared its approval."
Each year the Metropolitan Opera Company sponsors a national competition that guarantees the winner a large cash prize and performance opportunities with them The 2012 National Council Audition winner this year was baritone Anthony Clark Evans who sang with Opera in the Ozarks in 2008 in La Boheme, The Mikado and Cosi fan Tutte. Opera News magazine also just featured Maria Kanyova with an article about her outstanding performance with San Francisco Opera singing The First Lady in John Adam's Nixon in China.
Opera in the Ozarks opens on Friday, June 22 with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's charming fantasy opera, The Magic Flute. Opening the following night is Stephen Sondheim's modern classic A Little Night Music. La Boheme, Giacomo Puccini's immortal classic of young lovers and tragedy, opens on Tuesday, June 26.
The Opera in the Ozarks season runs through Friday, July 20. Most performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the Inspiration Point theater at 16311 US 62, west of Eureka Springs. Three Sunday matinees will be held at 4 p.m. at the Arend Arts Center in Bentonville on July 1, 8 and 15.
For more information, see www.opera.org or call the Opera office at 253-8595.