Opera NOVA Supports Children’s Opera

Opera NOVA Supports Children’s Opera

Annual concert brunch helps opera reach 55,000 children since it began

The featured Marcolivia Duo perform “Hava Nagila” which Marc Ramirez, violinist and violist, says is traditionally performed to work the crowd into a frenzy. Ramirez, an Arlington native, says “we hope to do that here.” The award winning duo, including his wife Olivia Hajioff, perform music of all styles and periods. Their Sunday program ranged from a cradle song in which Hajioff explains, “He has four notes and I have three,” to a replication of bagpipes, their arrangement of a couple of numbers from the Magic Flute and an English version of “Away in a Manager.”

Miriam Miller, president, founder and inspiration for Opera NOVA, listens as Darcy Monsalve performs “Meine lippen” from Judita. Monsalve is a soprano from Venezuela and is a current student of Italian maestro Vincenzo Spatola. The program ranged from Turkish mezzo-soprano and Fulbright alumna Lori Sen to tenor Israel Lozano, born in Madrid, to Sissel Bakken who performs regularly with the Maryland Lyric Opera Chorus.

Miriam Miller acknowledges the tribute from Emcee Brian Dawson for her inspiration and decades of dedicated pursuit of building and nourishing a local opera in Arlington. Opera NOVA was established in 1962 and has evolved as a resource for the arts reaching the community where they live. The organization serves  seniors, children and the diverse Arlington population with the opportunity to have the arts as part of their experience. Arlington is the smallest entity in the United States to have its own opera.


A crowd of opera lovers and supporters fills the Washington Golf and Country Club on Sunday, Dec. 11 for the annual Concert Brunch. The proceeds are used to support the children’s opera performed by Opera NOVA each year for hundreds of Arlington school children. Emcee Bryan Dawson says Opera NOVA has introduced 55,000 children to musical theater since it was formed. He says the bilingual opera on stage reflects the diversity of the audience in the county we live in. Dawson says, “It’s not just a local opera; it’s our local opera.”

Grace Gilday Bohlin, a favorite in her D.C. hometown, entertains the audience with Puccini’s “Ch’il bel sogno.”

Four performers at the Opera NOVA Annual Brunch on Sunday, Dec. 11 sit at a luncheon table waiting their turn to perform at the Washington Golf and Country Club. Despite the lavish buffet display, most admit they can’t eat before a performance. From left: soprano Jenni McGinnis, soprano Elise Jenkins, mezzo soprano Sissel Bakken, and mezzo soprano Lori Sen.