The Hippo


Jan 23, 2020








Piccola Opera holds its first-ever New Year’s Eve Opera Ball in Concord Dec. 31. Courtesy photo.

Piccola Opera New Year’s Eve Opera Ball

Where: Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord
When: Thursday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Admission: $40 per person, $75 per couple
More information: Call 491-1571 or visit

Opera New Year
Piccola Opera throws arts extravaganza at the Audi

By Kelly Sennott

 In Vienna, New Year’s Eve means an intersection of the arts — ballet, symphony, waltz and opera, all of which come together at a traditional ball.

New Hampshire’s Piccola Opera artistic director, Jane Cormier, spent a year singing in the city, and she remembers its magnificence. In her opinion, we could use a lot more of that here.
Her solution: Piccola Opera’s upcoming New Year’s Eve Opera Ball at the Concord City Auditorium, a black tie event with long gloves, ball gowns, fancy jewelry and tuxedos (though attendees can dress up as much or little as they please). 
One of her goals is to create an occasion for elegance.
“Because how many times do people have the opportunity to go back in time and dress up in a ball gown and dance to a Viennese waltz?” Cormier said. “There’s an awful lot of elegance to the music and programming [in Vienna], compared to America. … And I don’t know if, in my 56 years, I’ve ever seen such a need for elegance and grace. … My fear is we’re losing a lot of elegance in our everyday life.”
Another goal was to bring together some of New Hampshire’s arts.
“It’s not necessarily just for dressing up for a fun event. If we don’t start promoting things that are bigger than us, including opera, symphony, ballet, visual art, we will wake up one day and it will not be there. And that, to me, would be a big sin,” Cormier said. “We’ll do our little part and see if we can’t bring some light and life and great music.”
The event includes dance performances by the Northeastern Ballet Theatre — small vignettes from The Nutcracker, Paquita and La fille mal gardée — and between numbers, there will be waltz lessons and dancing, for performers and guests onstage. A grand piano will accompany singers — Cormier, Landis, Ashley Noelle Therrein, Joshua Collier, Catherine Martinez and music director Carlos Martinez — who will sing a medley of famous opera and musical theater tunes. In between, there will be food and a silent auction. Visitors will be announced as they arrive.
Newly appointed executive director Johanna Landis is spearheading the effort. The singer, who studied at the Berklee College of Music, had a brief music career before becoming a New Hampshire dentist. She rediscovered her love of singing about five years ago and fell hard for opera. When she met Cormier this summer, they hit it off right away. 
“For Jane and [me], it was kind of love at first sight. I met her when I went up to audition for The Magic Flute this summer. By the time I heard about it, all the roles had been cast. I ended up being in the chorus in the children’s production! But I did it, and [Cormier] saw I wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty,” Landis said.
Cormier had been looking for an executive director for some time. Between offering her own voice lessons and starting up and working as Piccola Opera’s artistic director, she was finding less and less time for office work and managerial tasks for the nonprofit. Landis was happy to step in.
“Jane kind of lives in the moment and does one million and one things. She has all this energy. She kept telling me, ‘I want you to come to a board meeting.’ When I finally did, she asked if I could step up as executive director,” Landis said. “And I love being on stage performing, but I really love being backstage, too. I saw Jane needed someone to come alongside her and be her wingman.”
Both Landis and Cormier hope this becomes an annual tradition for the New Hampshire arts scene. 
“To be in a beautiful setting and enjoy the very best of what art can be about — that’s what I’m doing this for,” Cormier said. 

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