Some take life a little easier during their retirement years, while other retirees find new things to do. Husband and wife, Bob and Barbara Konig, decided to get involved in the theatre with Bergen County, New Jersey’s only grand opera company, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera.

Retirees Join Verismo Opera

Retirees can pursue their interests with Verismo Opera.  Bob, who owned a Coca-Cola distributorship for over 20 years, retired 15 years ago and joined the opera company in 2008. He grew up listening to opera at home, with the music from La Boheme his favorite. When Verismo Opera, the house opera company of the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) in in Englewood, announced a call for supernumeraries (super), a nonspeaking, nonsinging acting role, to appear in La Boheme, Bob signed up, and he has continued to appear in several other productions assuming a range of cameo roles, including a soldier, servant, gypsy, judge, priest, and vendor, as well as an aristocrat in AIDA, Tosca, Rigoletto, Carmen, Il Trovatore and Die Fledermaus.

Retirees find a second career with Verismo Opera. Bob Konig will appear as a super in AIDA.

Retirees get involved in Verismo Opera’s AIDA.  Bob Konig will appear as a priest.

On April 23, he will assume again the role of a priest in Verismo Opera’s grand production of AIDA at bergenPAC. “I look forward to being part of

the grand production, AIDA, and meeting and interacting with the artists who perform in the productions. The overall experience is very enjoyable,” he said.

While Bob is on stage in AIDA, Barbara will work behind-the-scenes making sure all the cast has their respective costumes. Since 2015, Barbara has been Verismo Opera’s Costume Designer and Wardrobe Director.

“In AIDA, the audience will see the cast wearing a lot of colors, ranging from white to burgundy and gold, in costumes representing ancient Egypt. Being involved in the production is a welcome challenge to dress a cast of over 100 people. I receive much satisfaction seeing what I have created come to life on the stage,” she said.

Retirees can apply their skills with Verismo Opera’s various departments.  In 2008, she began working with the grand opera company fitting costumes and later joined as a seamstress and assumed the position of Assistant to the Costumer. Her costume creations have appeared in several of the grand opera company’s productions, including La Gioconda, Il Trovatore, Carmen, Rigoletto, La Boheme, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, and others.

The Konigs also serve on the organization’s Advisory Board. In recognition of their contributions to Verismo Opera, they were recognized with Verismo Opera’s Volunteer of the Year Award.


Tickets may be purchased online, at  at the bergenPAC’s box office located at 30 North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey, and by calling (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW. This season, the company is providing several special ticket rates for senior citizens, children, and groups.

Senior citizens receive a 10% discount. The company is offering a reduced rate of $10 on all tickets for children, ages 12 and under. These special senior citizen and children’s discount ticket rates are available through April 23 at the box office only and must be requested before the purchase. Special ticket rates may not be combined with others.

Group discounts are available on $55 and $45 tickets only with a minimum purchase of 10 tickets. For special group rates only, contact Ms. Hawks at or (201) 816-9520. This discount is not available online.


Verismo Opera is committed to ensuring its programs and services are accessible to all. bergenPAC is handicapped accessible. Street parking is available in front of the theatre with designated handicapped parking spaces. Hearing assist systems are available upon request to the house manager in the lobby.

For information about opportunities for retirees and others with the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, contact or call 201-816-9520.  Subscribe to the organization’s monthly newsletter for announcements about supernumerary and volunteer openings.