appeal the company is looking to provide. Families are encouraged to bring blankets and dine at the venue, either by bringing their own picnics or by purchasing boxed dinners provided by local caterers. The ongoing desire to appeal to a broader audience contributed to the group’s evolution. The opera began providing outdoor events a few years ago while on the cusp of identifying its next steps in fulfilling its mission.
“We thought about what the audiences enjoyed best when coming to the area, and why,” Holt says. “And providing a free or low-cost outdoor event to promote to vacationers seemed like the logical next step.”
Previous outdoor concerts were well received, with some attracting thousands of guests, in part because of the proximity to the waterfront and what Holt identifies as a desire to connect with family and friends at a quality event.
“Our shows definitely bring a level of culture to the area,” he says, adding that past series like “Summer Music at Harkness” acted as a positive platform for groups like the opera.
And Holt anticipates the opera’s options will continue to expand, eventually allowing for year-round performances to enhance their other activities, which include recitals and discussions.
While the performances themselves are a main focus, the opera is equally committed to the educational component of their work through outreach programs and the Salt Marsh Opera Guild, formed in 2008, to focus on advocacy and volunteerism. And all of it is driving the same goal— to get more people involved, engaged and falling in love with the opera experience.
“The audience is just as important as the singers themselves,” Holt says. “Without them, there is no point in doing what we do.”