By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Regina Opera, which for four decades has staged full-length productions of such musical masterpieces as “La Boheme” and “The Barber of Seville,” has been forced to move from Regina Hall in Dyker Heights, its home since its inception.
“Our lease was not renewed, after 42 years,” Francine Garber-Cohen, the company’s executive vice president, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Sept. 4.
But not to worry, Brooklyn opera lovers! Regina Opera quickly found a new home — the auditorium of the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 5902 Sixth Ave. in Sunset Park.
The company's new season opens on Oct. 7 with a concert featuring opera selections and popular songs performed by soprano Christa Hylton, soprano Patricia Vital, mezzo-soprano Shannon Arias, tenor Ray Calerdone, bass baritone Georgios Papadimetroiu, and baritone Julian Whitley. The performers will be accompanied by Maxine Feldman on the piano. The concerts will take place at 3 p.m.
Regina Opera had been performing at Regina Hall, the church hall of Regina-Pacis Catholic Church, 1230 65th St., for its entire existence. The move to OLPH will likely come as a surprise to many of its faithful fans.
In a letter to Regina Opera patrons, company officials expressed excitement about their new performance space.
“The theater has over 400 comfortable, cushioned chairs, the stage area is larger, and the public areas in the building are clean and well maintained," the letter states. "A number of bus and subway lines stop nearby, including the N and R trains and the B9 and B63 buses."
Meanwhile, "funds are desperately needed to pay for moving sets and props, for new lighting equipment, and for reconstruction of the stage."
Despite the move, the company will keep its name, Garber-Cohen said. “We’re known [as] Regina Opera. We’re not going to change our name,” she said.