Opera Idaho is Calling!
Story by Kristen Lynch
Photography by Dayna Anderson
Here in the Treasure Valley, we are fortunate to have a wide array of sophisticated and artistic venues, some of which have been a longstanding and intrinsic part of the Boise community. A prominent example of this is Idaho’s Opera Idaho, which has been a mainstay in the Boise performing arts community since its inception over 40 years ago.
Opera Idaho has donned many different names since its creation back in the 1960’s, but it has always stayed true to the opera. Originally conceived as ‘the Boise Opera Workshop’ it was shortened to ‘Boise Opera’ in the 1980’s, and in 1997 the movement finally settled on its current name, ‘Opera Idaho’. What has remained consistent is Opera Idaho’s drive to encourage cultural understanding, talent, and an appreciation of opera’s pageantry and artistry. Opera Idaho is more than a performance company. This unique group reflects Idaho’s role in promoting opera throughout the state, something many are unfamiliar with. Since Idaho’s geography is quite expansive and rural, it has been a challenge to expose those farther from the city to the art and enjoyment of opera. But Opera Idaho is on a mission to change this.
“We often do performances out of the Treasure Valley. [Opera Idaho] worked with BSU to bring The Marriage of Figaro to Pocatello at Idaho State University’s new performance art hall. The principals, chorus and sets were all designed to be portable so we could perform on stage there.” Says Vicki Kreimeyer, longtime chorus performer and Opera Idaho Board member.
What’s most exciting for Opera Idaho, however, is bringing the opera to some of our more impressionable, younger citizens.
Kreimeyer adds, “Some of our most active outreach involves taking a small ensemble to local area schools, which we coordinate to perform every other year depending on our scheduling. We also have a children’s chorus that practices each week, and even an opera camp that children can attend where they experience live performance during the summer.”
For those who might be unfamiliar with the art of opera, here is a quick overview: Opera is a timeless artistic expression that has been appreciated throughout the ages. It embodies the most important of human elements; tragedy, comedy, adventure, and drama. Opera is often written with fictional and historical personas as the main characters, and it is under the veil of a musical score that a profound story unfolds and is channeled through the incredibly skilled acoustical instrument of the human voice. Performers spend years exercising, training, and conditioning their talents in order to present the rich and textured vocal arrangements, all of which are performed without the use of mechanical sound equipment. We are profoundly fortunate to have this type of venue right here in our own backyard. Uniquely, Boise provides a more intimate environment for traveling professional opera members, who often stay at the homes of local residents during their visits.
Vicki Kreimeyer reflects upon those who have shared her home over the years, “One of my greatest joys has been hosting singers and conductors in my home. It has given me a rare opportunity to get to know these incredibly talented musicians.”
If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to enjoy and experience some of Opera Idaho’s performances, then there is no better time than this summer. The upcoming summer season brings the company’s popular rendition of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The King and I. Even more impressive is the wonderful outdoor venue at the Idaho Botanical Garden, and another in Eagle’s Crooked Flats. Be sure to bring sunscreen, blankets, and a picnic basket in order to take full advantage of Idaho’s warm summer nights.
For more information, go online to stage.operaidaho.org, or call (208) 345-3531 for schedules and ticket information.