Barn Opera stages Valentine special

BRANDON — The Barn Opera of Brandon will be staging a romantic comic opera just ahead of Valentine’s Day this coming Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12. A three-act opera in Italian, Don Pasquale is Gaetano Donizetti’s classic comedy written in 1843 and modified to fit today’s stage and audience by Brandon’s Joshua Collier and his team at Barn Opera.

The plot is classic comedic opera.

Relationships and marriage take work in the best of situations, but in Don Pasquale’s case, and when the marriage is out of spite, it could prove to be a bit much for an old man rich man who marries a much younger woman in an attempt to eliminate his nephew from his will. He had refused to allow Ernesto (the nephew) to marry his lover Norina, in his hope to leave Ernesto penniless.

Little does Pasquale know, however, that the person he enlists to help him find a bride is Malatesta, a friend to both Ernesto and Norina. When Malatesta suggests his “sister” as a potential bride, Pasquale is overjoyed. However, the sweet, demure, “Sofronia,” who is Norina in disguise, is only sweet and demure until the marriage contract (and thus the inheritance, and half of all of his belongings) is signed over to her.

After the marriage, she immediately turns into a vicious shrew in hopes of causing a divorce, and living out the rest of her days with Ernesto on Don Pasquale’s dime. Hijinks obviously ensue in a hilarious romp. Set in an Italian restaurant in New York, BARN OPERA’s Artistic Director Joshua Collier directs associate director Nicholas Tocci’s concept as Vermont’s favorite baritone (Tocci) is jumping in to sing the title role. This production is complete with all stereotypes, parmesan cheese shakers, checkered tablecloths, and all that one could ask for.

With BARN OPERA’s Music Director Cailin Marcel Manson conducting, and music director Felix Jarrar performing, this will surely be a romantic night at the opera theatre, complete with vocal fireworks, toe-tapping ensembles and impossibly romantic tunes, perfectly suited for February’s holiday.


• One of BARN OPERA’s favorite indefatigable baritones, most frequent collaborators, and associate director of the company, Nicholas Tocci, is becoming one of the most sought after young artists in New England, with appearances in every state in the region.

• Maria Brea, soprano, is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. She has been praised for “very classy Venezuelan soprano” by The Arts Desk and “versatile soprano” by Tampa Bay who described her voice as a “luxurious soprano.”

• Brazilian-American baritone Bernardo Medeiros holds a BM in Music Education from Oklahoma State University, a Master’s Degree and most recently a Performance Certificate from the University of Houston in May of 2020. Last summer, Bernardo worked for Central City Opera, where he covered and performed his dream role, Rigoletto. This season, Bernardo is working for Indianapolis Opera as a Resident Artist.
• Young and vibrant tenor Christopher Plaas has entertained audiences throughout the United States and Europe. A native of Johnson City, Tennessee, he earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at East Tennessee State University. As a young professional singer, his easy high notes and fluid coloratura have quickly earned him recognition as an ideal choice for the great Rossini and Mozart roles.

• With music described as “dreamlike” by the Boston Globe, NYC-based Felix Jarrar is a composer and pianist with “(strong) dramatic instincts.” His works have been praised as “experimental and beautifully composed” (Broadway World) with “lush and memorable melodies” (Operawire). Among his approximately 192 works, he has written over 175 art songs, 12 operas, 2 string quartets, 2 cantatas, and an oratorio. While his works have appeared on stages worldwide, Jarrar frequently works with Whitney George’s The Curiosity Cabinet and he is a vocal coach at Mannes College and serves as the Assistant Music Director for BARN OPERA in Brandon, Vermont.

• Cailin Marcel Manson currently holds the following positions: Associate Professor of Practice in Music and Director of Music Performance at Clark University; Music Director of The Keene Chorale ; Music Director of Barn Opera; and Artistic Director of the New England Repertory Orchestra, and his previous positions span an even greater depth and breadth.

• American tenor, Joshua Collier, praised for his “thrilling high range” and “passionate commitment to character,” was hailed as “a great Italian tenor on the make” by Boston’s Classical Scene as Romeo in Romeo et Juliette. A graduate of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts he has performed throughout New England and beyond in leading and title roles of the lyric and dramatic tenor repertoire. As a director and producer, Mr. Collier founded the Bostonian opera company, Opera Brittenica, championing the works of Benjamin Britten, in 2013, and is currently the founder and Artistic Director of BARN OPERA ( based in Brandon, Vermont.

Tickets to attend the performance, $53 for reserved seating, will be delivered electronically by visiting BARN OPERA’s ticket site at Unlike previous BARN OPERA productions, there will be assigned seats, so please pay specific attention to the ticket that you are purchasing, concerning date and venue, as they are non-negotiable.

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