In 1978, Verity Bostick, a young singer and assistant professor of music at Montana State University at Bozeman, sparked the interest of a well-known New York opera producer, Anthony Stivanello, with her desire to form a first Montana-based opera company. For the inaugural performance of Verdi’s La Traviata in the Spring of 1979, Mr. Stivanello agreed to donate sets and costumes and his services to the production. Ms. Bostick also learned that the Gallatin Valley had its own resident opera star, Pablo Elvira, who was persuaded to share his talents with the Association. A leading baritone with the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera, he sang Germont in La Traviata, thus initiating a full-fledged professional opera company in Bozeman. With names like Elvira and Stivanello appearing, Montana suddenly caught the interest of Eastern opera circles. The prestigious opera magazine, Opera News, assigned a reporter to cover the event of the Intermountain Opera Association’s first year.
During the second season, the Association produced The Barber of Seville, starring Pablo Elvira, and brought three stars from New York to sing leading roles. Anthony Stivanello again furnished sets and costumes and directed the production.
At this time, Mrs. Robert W. Martin, Jr. became a member of the Board and subsequently President of the Association. Under her guidance, fund raising and ticket organization systems were successfully initiated. A benefactor and patron of the arts with contacts throughout the country, “Ginny” solicited funds through organizations and individuals and gave her own generous support to meet the Association’s annual budgets. Her financial and organizing contributions and her total commitment to opera in Montana have been invaluable to the basic structure and success of the Association. Mrs. Martin is now Honorary Chairman of the Board.
Since 1979 IOA has produced one opera each Spring. Starting in 2005 a second opera was added. This Spring,2006, PucciniÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Manon Lescaut for the first time was produced and presented in Bozeman. The second opera for 2006 is the hilarious Gilbert & SullivanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s The Mikado. Last year IOA presented Gilbert & SullivanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Pirates of Penzance. The lighter, family oriented opera was a sell out success and we expect the same this year for The Mikado.
The Association has continued to grow and to attract opera goers, not only in Bozeman, but in other parts of Montana and in neighboring states as well. An increasing number of volunteers and supporters aid the Association each year. All committee workers and board members are volunteers. The Board of Directors is responsible for choosing the operas to be performed, hiring the director and conductor, casting and contracting the performers, renting sets and costumes, renting the auditorium, transportation and housing of artists, and all the other details that go into the production of a quality opera. Artistic directors, performers, and stage crew are paid for their services. The production itself uses a rented local auditorium at the Willson School; a New York stage director, producer, and artists; a Bozeman symphony orchestra, and many local singers, musicians, Montana State University Students and volunteers.
- There were no results found.