Muddy River Opera Company
Founded in 1989 by Mary Anne Scott and Mary Jane McCloskey, Quincy’s Muddy River Opera Company was incorporated in Illinois as a non-profit arts organization in 1990. Scott and McCloskey had two seminal goals in mind: to produce professional operatic performances and to make educational operatic opportunities available to the tri-state area. In keeping with the mission of its founders, the Company consistently produces two to four operas each year.
MROC productions of foreign-language operas are usually performed in English translation. However, in recent years, the Company has mounted the occasional production in original language with projected English supertitles.
MROC hires several guest artists as professional singers, directors, designers and/or instrumental musicians for every production. Although the Board of Directors accepts professional credentials throughout the year, open auditions for roles in all productions take place prior to the beginning of each new season. Thus, the Company assures experience but also utilizes the regional community's own impressive reserve of fine singers, musicians, and artists while offering opportunities for younger musicians to grow into the operatic performance tradition.
MROC has produced both traditional and twentieth-century operas and operettas including: Die Zauberflöte, La bohème, Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Pirates of Penzance, The Merry Widow, Jonah, The Medium, La traviata, Die Fledermaus, Abe, The Mikado, Così fan tutte, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, HMS Pinafore, A Little Night Music, Carmen and L'Elisir d'Amore.
Part of the Company's mission is to educate local grade school students about opera through MROC Educational Outreach tours. Overseen by an MROC director, casts from the opera workshops of Culver-Stockton College, John Wood Community College, and Quincy University tour in Quincy, Adams, Pike Counties and Missouri with children’s operas of high-quality music but appropriate story level. Past productions include: The Mini Magic Flute, Alice in Opera Land, Noye's Fludde, How Nanita Learned to Make Flan, Hansel and Gretel, and Jack and the Beanstalk as well as Chanticleer and Little Red Riding Hood.
MROC celebrated its 20th season with a May 2010 production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, featuring Quincy native and internationally known soprano Michèle Crider as Cio-Cio San. In the 2016 production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, regional musicians honored the memory of Avril Marie Bernzen’s life and commitment to opera during her 20-year tenure as Artistic Director. However, the 2017 production of Bizet’s Carmen celebrated new beginnings coming full circle as the Company revitalized the original vision of its founders to bring together professional artists working in the performance world, excellent regional musicians, and dedicated students to join forces to offer the entire community the very finest in operatic experience.
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