Harrisburg Opera Association - Opera in the Park

Opera in the Park

Conceived by Lee Swartz, President of Harrisburg Opera Association, HOA hosted an evening of free music to the public in Reservoir Park from 1993-2000 and in Rivefront Park in 2001. Concerts took place on a Sunday evening every August where up to a thousand residents of Harrisburg and neighboring boroughs were exposed to opera, contemporary opera, operetta, art song and musical theater with performances by local, regional and international artists. Narration provided by Len Meledandri (Prince Tuesday and the last Music Director of The Mister Rogers show) created a friendly and accessible environment for children, adults, classical music lovers, arts aficionados and those who had never been exposed to these genres of live music. Below is an archive of past artists, programs and pictures. Past underwriters included: The Larry and Susan Dittmann Foundation, Louis Lehrman Grass Foundation and The Harrisburg Parks and Recreation Department. The concerts were covered by all the local television stations and consistently received great reviews by the Harrisburg Patriot News and other local publications. Plans to revive this program are currently in the works.

Publicity

Complete Harrisburg Patriot News Article for 2000 Production

Excerpt from the August 28th, 2000 article by Mary Klaus - Headline: Powerful voices shatter opera's solemn stereotype.
Nikki Tanberg and Phil Jurick always considered opera a formal type of music that was out of their league. But the teenagers attending the "Opera in the Park" program in Reservoir Park last night found their first brush with opera as soft as the blue fleece blanket they sat on for the musical program. "Whenever I think of opera, I think of dressing up and acting formal," Phil Jurick, 17, of Mechanicsburg said as he and six friends from the Pennsylvania Bible Fellowship youth program enjoyed their outing. "It's not like that here. This is out of the ordinary and pretty cool. I'd go to opera on a date."

Program Archive
Sunday, August 29th, 1993 - Operatic Selections
Sunday, August 28th, 1994 - Selections from The Magic Flute, La Boheme, The Barber of Seville and Carmen
Sunday, August 27th, 1995 - An Operatic Bestiary
Sunday, August 25th, 1996 - Mostly Twentieth Century
Sunday, August 17th, 1997 - Music from America
Sunday, August 30th, 1998 - Our Favorite Things
Sunday, August 29th, 1999 - Your Favorite Things
Sunday, August 27th, 2000 - Operetta in the Park
July 8th, 2001 - A Patriotic Finale to Celebrate the City of Harrisburg's Fireworks Display at Riverfront Park

Artistic Personnel Included:
Tami Swartz, Artistic Director
Kelly Horsted, Music Director
Len Meledandri, Narrator
Thomas Hostetter, Narrator
Hon. John C. Dowling, Narrator

Past Artists Included:
Marta Burton, Soprano
Heidi Clark, Mezzo-soprano
Richard Crist, Bass
Sarah Jamison, Soprano
Timothy Lafontaine, Bass-baritone
Ryan Leeds, Baritone
Dillon McCartney, Tenor
Jeryl Metzler, Baritone
Charlotte Paulsen, Mezzo-soprano
Christyan Seay, Tenor
The Lancaster Marimba Ensemble

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