OperaLancaster is really starting to come into its own, thanks to the efforts of some dedicated people like Josh Rinier, the opera’s managing director. The non-profit organization has been in existence since 1952 and has presented opera to Lancaster, PA every year since then. OperaLancaster is primarily made up of volunteers, people who are committed to furthering the arts in the surrounding community and to developing their own skills as performers. They perform at various locations such as the Fulton Opera House, the Roschel Performing Arts Center at F&M College, and the Ware Center at Millersville University.

Josh talked to us about the misconception that one has to dress to the nine to attend an opera performance. He says it’s not uncommon to see visitors come in jeans or casual street clothes. Though opera is one of the older forms of entertainment out there today, it is gradually evolving with the times. Josh hopes to see the age spectrum of their audience broaden with the implementation of new projects such as The Community Opera Series. These productions were developed with the intention of attracting a younger, more diverse crowd. It’s casual, more frequent, and affordable. And coming in April 2012, Opera Week will kick off in Lancaster with lectures, singing in the streets, and a grand gala event commemorating their 60th year.

Just because OperaLancaster is taking a more contemporary and informal approach doesn’t mean they lack in quality. They are the only opera company between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and people travel from neighboring states and counties to participate in their productions. In some cases, professional paid singers are brought in to fill a difficult role. Focusing on fund-raising, development, and impacting the community around them, the organization is shifting into the higher gears. Keep looking for good things to come from Opera Lancaster.

To learn more, visit www.operalancaster.org or email Josh at jmrinier@gmail.com.

Box Office: 717-872-3811

Support for this episode provided by Winding Way Books, & Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.

Theme music: Invisible Walls by Revolution Void
Break music: An Other Side by Xenyka