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Without a doubt the most encouraging cultural development in the Berkshires in 2016 was the first season of the Berkshire Opera Festival, founded by Jonathon Loy and Brian Garman. The quality of the first production, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, proved the promise of the endeavor to be solid reality. Both Mr. Loy, a stage director, and Mr. Garman, a conductor, are deeply experienced in opera, and they know that the ideal way to produce opera is in careful planning and thorough rehearsal over a sufficient period of time to work out the countless details which contribute to success. Last year, the Berkshire Opera Festival scored another impressive success in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. The organizers’ insight into the works they bring to life is so compelling and profound that I have made it a practice to interview them every year.
This year Garman and Loy have turned their attention to Verdi’s Rigoletto. Their interview with singer, teacher, and director, Roza Tulyaganova, who was recently in the area as assistant director, with Thaddeus Strassberger, Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon for Bard Summerscape, and myself, will give you a clear idea of how their production of Rigoletto will refresh your feelings for this ground-breaking masterpiece.