Triangle Opera Studios is helping keep a passion for opera alive and thriving among local performers and the public.

Launched in September 2009, Triangle Opera Studios’ singers performed at Raleigh’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship with a presentation of Mozart's Don Giovanni — uncut, in Italian and with English supertitles. This performance was followed in October 2009 with a presentation of operadom’s most popular double bill — Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana with Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham. Again, the operas were uncut and in Italian with supertitles.

There were no admission charges for either production though donations to help cover production costs were welcomed. The public responded with generous donations.

Both productions were accompanied by piano with all participants except for the pianist performing as volunteers. Sets, costumes, lighting, and performances all contributed to the production. Founder and general director Christine Weidinger remarked, “This is ‘let’s make an opera’ in its purest form!”

What is an Opera Studio?

A studio provides singers not yet on the professional circuit with opportunities to study complete operatic roles in depth and perform them before the public. For some, these activities are vital preparations for professional careers in opera. For others, they are the fulfillment of lifelong dreams of performing operatic roles.

Some opera aficionados have raised eyebrows at what they see as yet another opera company in an area that has seen four of five come and go over the years. Triangle Opera Studios’ clearly stated mandate is reflected in its statement of purpose: Triangle Opera Studios is not a professional opera company. It is exactly what its title claims — an opera studio.

Professional opera companies cannot risk engaging inexperienced performers no matter how talented. Their patrons pay high prices and expect guaranteed results from the artists they come to hear and are obligated to bring such guaranteed productions. Triangle Opera Studios is not limited by such a mandate. We can take risks with casting that a professional company cannot.

This freedom offers the local opera public an opportunity to make its own discoveries. It is tradition and an exciting pastime in Italy and Germany for opera lovers to patronize small provincial theaters to look for the stars of tomorrow — an opportunity seldom accorded opera fans in the U.S. Though the public may suffer through an occasional strike out, they may also witness some unforgettable home runs by yet unknown naturals.

It is this service Triangle Opera Studios can offer professional companies — a chance to observe previously untested singers in action and discover what they can do under the pressure of public performance and how they might be part of future professional productions.