This week’s broadcast episode of State of the Arts features four of the most fascinating and unusual classical music stories we’ve produced over the past 10 years. It wasn’t easy to pick just four—we’ve produced stories about violinist Sarah Chang, composer Hannibal Lokumbe, and singer Dawn Upshaw, just to name a a few. By chance I was reminded of a terrific 2014 story we did with Boheme Opera NJ. This Trenton-based opera company will present a fully-staged production of Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Trenton War Memorial on March 18 & 20.

In addition to being a producer of State of the Arts, I’m also a cello player and recently reconnected with Boheme Opera’s co-founder Sandy Pucciatti. We played transcriptions for cello and piano of famous arias from Puccini’s operas. Not only was I reminded of today’s archive story, I had a first-rate masterclass on verismo interpretation.

Opera Boheme Conducting in pit

Sandy is the executive director, pianist and “master of all trades” for Boheme Opera. Her husband, Joseph Pucciatti, is the co-founder, artistic director and conductor. In 2014, State of the Arts filmed Boheme’s performance of Verdi’s La Traviata, along with interviews with the cast and crew. We also spent time with teacher Joseph Pucciatti and his Trenton High School students, and learned about Boheme’s start in Chambersburg, Trenton’s historic Italian neighborhood.

Boheme Opera returns to the magnificent Patriots Theater at the Trenton War Memorial this March, after a hiatus of more than ten years, with a performance of Rigoletto featuring a star-studded cast.

Distinti Saluti! Cordialmente,

Eric Schultz

Producer, State of the Arts