It has been quite a week. We had our first board meeting on Monday and launched our Indiegogo fundraiser that same day. On Tuesday, I was on "The Morning Chat with Kenn Hayes" on WSYB 1380 to talk about The Vermont Opera Project, Orpheus, and why we want to start a company in Rutland.
Which is a very good question? What are we trying to do and why do we want to do it in Rutland? We have lofty ambitions for our little company, but none seem to be out of the realm of possibility. In three to five years, we want to build a company that can produce 1-2 operas per year as well as several opera "happenings", which can include small concerts, an evening of opera improv, and/or opera dinner theater. We won't be producing the traditional repertoire because we don't have the space or the means to do it well and there are so many companies that do it very well. It is a very exciting time in opera. There have been more world premieres of new operas in the past 30 years than in the previous hundred. We want to share that music and those stories with our audience and to do so in unexpected ways. Our goal is to break down the preconceived notions about opera and move it from the traditional stage with all of its "rules" and expectations. This isn't to say that we will never produce an opera at the Paramount or some other traditional theater, but that we are always looking to broaden our audience and the perception of an art form that we love so much.
My answer to the second question, why Rutland is simple. Why not Rutland? I first started to come to the area in 1998, when Jeff and I were first dating. I grew up in Miami, Florida, which is just about the exact opposite of Vermont in every way. As a kid, I always thought of Vermont as a magical place of creativity and artistry (and snow...lots of snow). When I moved here, I realized that that is actually quite true. Jeff grew up here, attended Mill River, and got his start in theater with Stage40. Even though he was traveling the country working as a lighting designer, he bought a house here in 1999 because he loved the people here and wanted it as a home base. Although we lived in DC for 8 years we kept the house and visited the area several times a year. In 2011 we moved to Clarendon Springs full time to raise our family. I have always loved the small town community feeling of Rutland. I am constantly amazed at the ways in which people here are interconnected through friendship and family. And more than anything, I love the artistic community that I am beginning to know and feel a part of. Rutland has treasures like the Carving Studio and local singer/songwriter Jim Gilmour, who we are lucky enough to have on our board of directors. It is a little weird and definitely funky. The perfect place for an experimental opera company like The Vermont Opera Project.
As I mentioned above, we have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money for Orpheus and Euridice. We are starting at ground zero to create this company and we need your help. If you would like to see Orpheus at the quarry, please consider a donation. Any amount no matter how small is welcome. Thank you!