Opera company offers fans a chance to meet the singers

MIDDLEBURY — The Opera Company of Middlebury, now in its 10th season, has become a popular stop for talented young opera singers on their way to great careers. But there’s another big attraction.
“When these singers come to Middlebury they immediately feel as if they’re part of the community,” says OCM artistic director Douglas Anderson. “They make a lot of friends in the area, which is unusual, and one reason for that is ‘Meet the Singers.’”
The annual “Meet the Singers” event will take place on Sunday, May 19, at 5 p.m. This year, because of increased attendance, the event is being held at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society (CVUUS), just a few blocks from Town Hall Theater.
Fifteen professional singers will come to Middlebury this year to perform in Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” which will be performed at Town Hall Theater from May 31-June 8. Several are returning from past seasons, including soprano Suzanne Kantorski-Merrill, who has starred in OCM’s “La Bohème” and “The Pearl Fishers.”
The event begins with the singers presenting their favorite arias. “These are thrilling voices singing some of opera’s finest arias — with a little musical theater thrown in for good measure,” says Anderson. “It’s always a thrilling concert.” After the recital the singers and the community mingle over drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and everyone truly gets to “Meet the Singers.”
“People really enjoy our opera productions,” says Anderson, “but there’s something really special about the experience when you know the people who are up on that stage. And we find that these relationships continue over time, as local people keep in touch and follow the careers of these exciting singers.”
Tickets for “Meet the Singers” are $25 and can be purchased at www.townhalltheater.org, 382-9222, at the THT Box Office (Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m.) and at the door, if available. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, and there will be a cash bar. 

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