MURRAY, Ky. – Murray native and Murray State University alumnus Professor Bradley Pennington is celebrating more than 25 years of exposing metropolitan Boston to the beauty and complexity of opera. The upcoming season will mark the silver anniversary of the opera company he founded, Boston Bel Canto Opera, in his adopted city in 1993.
According to Pennington, his company was founded 25 years ago as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation with the goal of “giving complete nineteenth-century Italian operas and opera concerts in Boston and in its metropolitan area.” In 2002, Pennington was honored for his efforts by being awarded the prestigious New England Opera Club Jacope Peri Award for his invaluable contribution to the promotion of opera in Boston.
“To date the company has performed more than 150 operas and opera concerts, always to high critical and audience acclaim,” Pennington said. The coming 2017-18 season will feature multiple events at BBCO’s frequent venue, the Dante Alighieri Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near the Harvard University campus.
Acknowledged as a major classical pianist himself, Pennington said he plans to include solo piano recitals interspersed among the opera performances during the upcoming silver season, showcasing the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Scarlatti and Brahms.
Pennington credits much of his success to training he received in Murray. “My early interest and training developed from study with Mrs. Dorothy Winchester Mason in high school at Calloway County High and under the tutelage of Murray State University Professor Emeritus Russell Terhune,” Pennington said.
In addition to a Bachelor of Music degree in 1970 from Murray State and a Master of Music degree in 1972 from Indiana University, Pennington did his doctoral work in 1974-1976 at Boston University. He is also a summa cum laude graduate of Boston Conservatory with a degree in vocal performance, having studied with Madame Iride Pilla and Signor Arrigo Pola, voice teacher of Luciano Pavarotti.
Pennington has served on the faculties of Boston Conservatory, Northeastern University, Indiana University and Cumberland College as a teacher of piano, voice, opera history and music theory. He has served since 2005 as a faculty member of the music conservatory in historic Braintree, Massachusetts, teaching voice and piano and working as a lecturer in opera history.