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York Symphony to perform first opera

When Lawrence Golan took over as musical director and conductor for the York Symphony in 2014, he noticed something.

"It occurred to me it was something the symphony hadn’t done before and it could be interesting and exciting for the audience," he said.  The symphony had never, in its 83 year-long history, staged an opera.

He filed the idea away, thinking that it might be something he could propose down the road after he had a few seasons with the orchestra under his belt.

Staging an opera is quite an undertaking, he said, and it would be some time before he felt it could be done properly and with proper financial support.

Then, at a cocktail party, he was talking to Tim Grumbacher, chairman of the board of the Bon-Ton Stores and a symphony patron, when Grumbacher mentioned that he was a big opera fan.

A little more conversation and Grumbacher offered to underwrite the performance should Golan want to bring opera to York.

It just came together after that.

Golan talked it over with his colleague at the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music, Kenneth Cox, who directs the opera program, and the result is the York Symphony will stage its first full production of an opera April 30.

The symphony will provide the music and students from the Lamont Opera Theater will perform for Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutti (All Women Are Like That)." 

"It's a perfect opera to bring to York for the first time," Golan said.

"Cosi" is, essentially, a romantic comedy. It tells the tale of two military officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, who are engaged to two women, Dorabelle and Fiordiligi. They are certain that their fiancees will be eternally faithful, but another man, Don Alfonso, is skeptical and bets the men that he can prove that the women are fickle.

Ferrando and Guglielmo accept the wager. They pretend to go off to war, only to return in disguise and attempt to seduce each other's lover.

As they say, comedy ensues.

Cox said "Cosi" is a very accessible opera, a perfect piece to expose a new audience to the art.

"It has humor all the way through," he said.

Golan said, "It's the perfect opera to bring to York for the first time. It has spectacular music. It's lighthearted. It has beautiful sets and beautiful costumes."

It is a difficult production to stage, Golan said, it has a lot of moving parts.

"Opera is the ultimate art form," he said. It combines the orchestral arts with the singing arts and the visual arts and acting and drama. It's a lot more complex to put together.

"It really will be fun."

If you go

What: Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutti," performed by the York Symphony and the University of Denver's Lamont Opera Theater 

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30 

Where: The Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York 

Tickets: $29 and up. Student tickets are $10. 

Details: For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Strand box office at 717-846-1111 or visit