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NEWS, EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES OF OPERA COLORADO | FALL 2012
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ONLY IN NEW MEXICO. ONLY AT THE SANTA FE OPERA.
JUNE 28 - AUGUST 24
The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein OFFENBACH
Susan Graham, Paul Appleby, Kevin Burdette Conductor Frédéric Chaslin Stage Director Lee Blakeley
The Marriage of Figaro MOZART
Lisette Oropesa, Susanna Phillips, Daniel Okulitch Conductor John Nelson Stage Director Bruce Donnell
La Donna del Lago
La Traviata VERDI
Brenda Rae, Michael Fabiano, Roland Wood Conductor Frédéric Chaslin Stage Director Laurent Pelly
Oscar Wo r l d P r e m i e re
Joyce DiDonato, Lawrence Brownlee, Marianna Pizzolato Conductor Stephen Lord Stage Director Paul Curran
David Daniels, Heidi Stober, William Burden Conductor Evan Rogister Stage Director Kevin Newbury
Plan now to join us, call 800-280-4654. Learn more at SantaFeOpera.org.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Officers Michael Hughes, Chair Kenneth Barrow, Chair Emeritus Ellie Caulkins, Lifetime Honorary Chair Marcia Robinson, President Charles Kafadar, Treasurer, President of the Opera Colorado Foundation Susan Adams, Secretary Dirk de Roos, Vice President, General Counsel Carol Crossin Whitley, Vice President Committee Chairs Stephen L. Dilts, Co-Chair, Education & Community Programs Joy Dinsdale, Co-Chair, Education & Community Programs Craig Johnson, Chair, Development Committee Larry Zimmer, Chair, Audience Development Committee Directors Bruce Allen Sheila Bisenius Michael Bock Suzanne Dost Bucy Mary Conroy Jill Irvine Crow, Honorary Director Nellie Mae Duman, Honorary Director Jack Finlaw Hugh Grant Charles Kafadar Jeremy Kinney, Honorary Director Loring W. Knoblauch, Lifetime Honorary Director The Honorable Kenneth M. Laff
Kelly McCourt Kalleen Malone William Maniatis Pamela Merrill Mary French Moore Gerald Saul Alessandra Schulein Jeremy Shamos, Honorary Director Susan Shamos, Honorary Director Shirley Smith Harry Sterling Robert Swift Martha Tracey Byron Watson Britney Weil Randall Zisler
FROM THE BOARD CHAIR
pera Colorado’s 30th Anniversary Season will fulfill our commitment to balance each season with time-honored treasures that you see rarely in Denver; productions you know and love; and brilliant new work. We open the season with Romeo and Juliet, an opera we last performed in 1999, giving our audience an opportunity to return to a classic. We know that the Opera Colorado audience will embrace Don Giovanni, a wonderful and familiar work. Finally, we are thrilled that this season concludes with the World Premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter. While each of these productions extends our 30-year history of high quality opera performance, each also gives Opera Colorado the opportunity to reveal in new ways some of the most compelling characters in literature. Romeo, Juliet, Don Juan, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are unforgettable characters and we are enriched as we step into their stories and experience the consequences of their choices. The three stories we present this year endure because they are great works of art. The three operas elevate the experiences of these memorable characters, lifting them off the page and bringing them to life in front of us. I am particularly proud that we are able to offer to Opera Colorado’s audience the world premiere of The Scarlet Letter. It is a powerful, American story with a heroine whose inner strength and selfreliance make her as extraordinary as any in opera. Last season, Pamela Armstrong’s Florencia was transformed before our eyes and carried us with her as she expressed her undying love for Cristóbal in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. I have no doubt that this season holds the same promise and we will be changed by Elizabeth Futral’s Hester Prynne. Welcome to our 30th Anniversary Season!
OPERA COLORADO STAFF Greg Carpenter, General Director ADMINISTRATION Darrel Curtice, Director of Finance & Administration Julie Nowasell, Staff Accountant
ARTISTIC AND PRODUCTION Brad Trexell, Director of Artistic Operations Hally Albers, Production Manager DEVELOPMENT Dan Hanley, Director of Development Isis King, Manager of Development Systems Felicia Diamond, Development Consultant EDUCATION Cherity Koepke, Director of Education & Community Programs Meghan Benedetto, Manager of Education & Community Programs Emma Martin, Education Intern
Opera Colorado is grateful for support from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Ovation! News, Events and Activities of Opera Colorado Volume 14, Issue 1. Published quarterly for the benefit of friends and supporters of Opera Colorado, 695 S. Colorado Blvd. Ste. 20, Denver, CO 80246. Phone: 303.778.1500. www.OperaColorado.org.
Ovation! Magazine and In-Theatre programs are produced for Opera Colorado by The Publishing House.
MARKETING Camille Spaccavento, Director of Sales & Marketing Erin Acheson, Marketing & Promotions Coordinator Laura Kirby, Ticket Services Manager Katie Bulota, Assistant Ticket Services Manager OPERA COLORADO 695 S. Colorado Blvd., Suite 20, Denver, CO 80246 Tel. 303.778.1500 | Tickets: 303.468.2030 Ticketmaster: 1.800.982.ARTS TTY for Ticketmaster: 1.800.755.6244 www.OperaColorado.org
OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 4
Produced by Opera Colorado’s Marketing and Development Departments. Editor: Camille Spaccavento Assistant Editor: Erin Acheson
Angie Flachman-Johnson: Publisher Wilbur E. Flachman: President & Founder Annette Allen: Art Director, Production Coordinator For advertising information, call 303-428-9529 www.pub-house.com www.coloradoartspubs.com
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THIS NOVEMBER 1ST, 2ND AND 3RD
DON’T MISS OUR EXCITING OPERA CABARET
NOV. 1 | 2 | 3 | 7:30 PM | THE STUDIO LOFT@ELLIE CAULKINS OPERA HOUSE Featuring a hysterically funny spoof on TV soap operas! A casual cabaret-style program performed by our stellar Young Artists. Enjoy a night out with cocktails and light appetizers and a program featuring Douglas Moore’s Gallantry, a spoof on TV soap operas, and songs by Cole Porter and William Bolcom. It’s an evening not to be missed – but hurry, seating is limited!
TICKET PRICES: $45 AND $40 Tickets and information: www.operacolorado.org | 303.468.2060 | 800.982.ARTS
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BY LORI LAITMAN
BY W.A. MOZART
BY CHARLES GOUNOD
By Brad Trexell, Director of Artistic Operations
ontrary to popular belief, opera is not an antique art form. Opera companies are the recipients of several new scores from new and established living composers over the course of a year. Finances may preclude the production of a new work, a composer’s subject may be deemed too obscure or his or her work too niche for the average opera company or its audience. Due to the harsh financial realities of opera, very few new works have the opportunity to see the light of day. So how did Opera Colorado come to present this new opera by Lori Laitman? Several Opera Colorado staff members attended the Opera America conference in Los Angeles in June of 2010. Apart from the usual group sessions organized for any conference related to any line of work, possibly the most valuable aspect of the conference is the chance to meet new colleagues and become reacquainted with old ones in between sessions. During one such meet and greet I was approached by Beth Greenberg, an old colleague who had been assistant director at San Francisco Opera. She handed me a CD and a Scarlet Letter postcard and asked me to listen to the demo recording. Beth had been working as a sort of dramaturge on the new piece, alongside composer Lori Laitman and librettist David Mason, and had been deeply involved in the creation of the opera. Upon returning to Denver, I listened to the CD, and liked what I heard. I did some research on the composer and the piece, roles and orchestration, and listened to a lot of Lori Laitman’s art songs. Believing the music was extremely engaging, and always having had a fondness for Hawthorne’s story, I took the materials to Greg Carpenter, General Director, who agreed. Together, we determined that it would be an ideal offering for the anniversary season. Opera Colorado’s 30th Anniversary season will be a veritable grand tour of the great literature and music of Europe and America, bringing together the operatic versions of three legendary literary classics: Gounod’s (and Shakespeare’s) Romeo and Juliet, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Lori Laitman’s (and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s) The Scarlet Letter. Choosing the titles for any season of three operas is always the most challenging aspect of creating a season. Our current recipe includes presenting one beloved “blockbuster” opera combined with one well-known, but perhaps slightly less seen work, and adding a work that is completely new to Opera Colorado audiences. On top of that, we try to make sure we have a varied menu of musical styles, settings and languages, perhaps a nice balance of comedy and tragedy, and we try to make sure this combination will form an interesting and cohesive series for our audiences. We also like to make sure we haven’t produced any of the titles too recently!
OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 8
The 30th Anniversary season will open on February 9th with possibly the world’s greatest love story, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in operatic form by Charles Gounod. His romantic and melodic Roméo et Juliette received its premiere in 1867, two years after the composer’s wildly successful and well known Faust. Our traditional production will feature returning Opera Colorado favorite Ava Pine (replacing previously announced Heidi Stober), and Giuseppe Varano, making his OC debut, as the immortal star-crossed lovers. They will be joined by Daniel Belcher as Mercutio, John McVeigh as Tybalt, Stephen Morscheck as Lord Capulet, Kevin Langan as Frère Laurent, and long-time Opera Colorado star Marcia Ragonetti returns as Juliet’s nurse Gertrude. Robert Wood conducts the sumptuous score and Bill Murray directs the production. Last seen at Opera Colorado in 1999, Gounod’s alternately heart-pounding and tender music makes a welcome return to our stage. On March 30th, Mozart’s perennial favorite Don Giovanni opens, bringing one of opera’s most amoral and equally repellant and charming characters to the stage. Based on Tirso de Molina’s play El Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra (The Jokester of Seville and the Stone Guest) Mozart’s masterpiece is often considered a strictly serious opera. However, the English translation of the play’s title clarifies the true intent of Mozart’s exquisite “dramma giocoso” or Dark Comedy. It is difficult to conceive of a season without the always popular Mozart. Last seen at Opera Colorado in 2003, Don Giovanni is considered by many to be one of the greatest operas ever written, and over the centuries since its premiere it has had a profound effect on other artists, authors and composers. Opera Colorado’s version is set in 1950’s La Dolce Vita Italy and features an entire cast of talented company debutants. Christopher Magiera makes his Opera Colorado and role debut as the eponymous lecherous seducer. Well known for her searing portrayal of Donna Anna is Ellie Dehn, and Melody Moore sings the treacherous role of Donna Elvira. The role of Giovanni’s servant Leporello will be sung by Matthew Treviño, and Jonathan Boyd (Don Ottavio), Maria Lindsay (Zerlina), Christian Bowers (Masetto) and Richard Wiegold (The Commendatore) complete the roster of artists who will bring Mozart’s “dramma giocoso” to life. What is an anniversary without something very special to commemorate the event? In this 30th Anniversary Season Opera Colorado turns to a brand new opera based on what is considered by many to be the first great American novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Still a staple of literature in the schoolroom and familiar story to most Americans, Hawthorne’s spellbinding story of a presumed young widow in Puritan early America who falls into an affair with the town minister who comes to provide spiritual guidance and counsel to her. The affair can no longer be hidden when Hester bears a child that results from the liaison, and rather than divulge her partner’s name, she remains silent, defiantly bearing the punishment and scorn of her entire community alone. American composer Lori
Continued on page 10 OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 9
2013 Season Continued... Laitman, creator of more than 200 art songs and the critically acclaimed oratorio Vedem, together with Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason, have woven a dramatically intense opera written in verse. Laitman stitches her melody directly to the text of the poets with whom she works until words and music are one and the same, supporting each other and inseparable. The sounds she creates are melodic and firmly based in the psychological mood and text of her characters. Opera Colorado will create a brand new production for this world premiere to be directed by Beth Greenberg who has collaborated with Laitman and Mason on the dramaturgical aspects of the new work for the past several years. The set designer, Erhard Rom, and Lighting Designer, Robert Wierzel, are responsible for the Rusalka production seen here in 2011. They will be joined by Costume Designer Terese Wadden, who will create the clothes for the inhabitants of Hester’s community, and its one outsider. Programming any new operatic work is a bit of a leap of faith. It is always hoped that a new work will capture the public’s imagination, both because of the finances involved, but also because so much time – years, in fact –, care and love is lavished on any new opera. Hearing David Mason’s poetry set to Lori Laitman’s beautiful music, and knowing the familiarity of this American literary masterpiece was enough to convince us you just had to hear it too. To bring Lori’s vision to life, we have assembled a dream-come-true cast. The role of Hester Prynne will be created by none other than
soprano Elizabeth Futral, last seen at Opera Colorado in 2005 as Cleopatra in Handel’s Julius Caesar. Making his Opera Colorado debut as her lover, the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale, is renowned American tenor James Valenti, and rounding out the trio as Hester’s presumed-dead husband Roger Chillingworth, is baritone Morgan Smith, our spectacular Marcello in 2010’s La Bohème. Catherine Cook (Jeˇzibaba in 2011’s Rusalka) sings the role of Mistress Hibbons, John Hancock debuts in the role of Governor Bellingham and Joel Sorensen debuts as church elder John Wilson. Every one of Opera Colorado’s Young Artists will appear in a featured role. For many in the cast who have chosen a profession performing music that is often hundreds of years old, the opportunity to work with a living composer and librettist may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For a conductor, having composer Lori Laitman present in rehearsals will be an absolute luxury. Imagine how many times a conductor has wanted to turn to ask Verdi just how fast a particular tempo should be, or ask Mozart just how loud the horns should be in a certain passage! Opera is a living art form, performed live. We believe we cannot only present centuries-old masterpieces of the art form if we wish to continue into the future, but we also have the responsibility to foster new works, new composers, and new artists. By presenting The Scarlet Letter, with a new composer and a new opera based on the American classic, the past and present become one and we can actually have it all!
24 hours to give where you live
Support us on Colorado Gives Day! Tuesday, December 4 online at GivingFirst.org 100% goes to charity ColoradoGivesDay.org OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 10
RE E I EM
DP L R O
BY W.A. MOZART
BY CHARLES GOUNOD
BY LORI LAITMAN
WHEN YOUâ€™RE A SEASON TICKET HOLDER AT OPERA COLORADO,
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By Dan Hanley, Director of Development
Opera Colorado began the celebration of our 30th Anniversary year with our Gala that everyone who attended wonâ€™t soon forget. Our old friends Kelly Kaduce and Catherine Cook from Rusalka joined us and performed with our newly arrived Young Artists to start the evening off with beautiful song. With the amazing support of co-chairs Mike and Julie Bock and the overwhelming generosity of Vectra Bank, The Publishing House, alphagraphics, Rassman Design, Kevin Taylorâ€™s at the Opera House, Republic National Distributing Company, and Jim Berz from WOW Events, we were able to surpass our fundraising goal. The evening concluded with dancing on the stage of the Ellie to music performed by Moses Jones. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who made our Gala the extraordinary success that it was and we very much look forward to seeing you at our 2013 Gala!
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A Classic Hits The Road
By Cherity Koepke, Director of Education & Community Programs
ne wears many hats working at a non-profit arts organization. During my career in the opera world thus far, I have done everything from attending fancy galas to walking a soprano’s Maltipoo during rehearsals. So, when Cherity told me I would be the assistant director of Opera Colorado’s outreach production of The Barber of Seville, I said yes! Wait, did she ask me or tell me? It didn’t matter because I knew that this would be a valuable experience and unlike anything I’ve previously done. The design process began right away as I sat in on meetings with the set and costume designers. Hearing the ideas bounce back and forth and their vision slowly materialize was exhilarating. Now that rehearsals are just around the corner and I still don’t have a grasp on exactly what I will be doing while in the rehearsal room, I decided to broach the subject with Cherity as we were driving to a meeting. I had an image of an assistant director in my head- casually dressed, sitting at the rehearsal table next to the director with a large collection of office supplies surrounding her, including but not limited to pens, highlighters, and every type of sticky note and page flag that Post It has ever created. She is furiously writing in a huge binder. Ok, I can do that: jeans, check, Post Its, check. But what was she writing?! There is more to the picture than what is in my head. ““So… um… Cherity? What should I prepare for the Barber rehearsals”” Her answer lifted a weight off my shoulders. As assistant director, I would be responsible for writing blocking (staging) in the score, managing the prop list, and possibly running rehearsal in Cherity’s absence. With my background in mostly administration, I’m really looking forward to taking a break from sitting behind a desk and delving into the creative side of opera. From just knowing the caliber of artistry in both the singers and design team, I already can tell you that this Barber of Seville production is a must see. It’s the perfect way to introduce your children to the joy of opera. Please check our website to see upcoming community performances. By Meghan Benedetto Manager of Education & Community Programs
The Barber of Seville Opera Colorado Education/Outreach Tour 2012. Designer: Bruce A. Bergner
love the classics. Classic cars, classic design, classic fashion; you know, things that never go out of style. This extends to my love of operas that are considered to be classics too. La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata; the big hitters. So, when it came time to select our new touring opera, I knew I wanted to go classic. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take one of these masterpieces out into the Colorado community? First, I needed to select the work itself. The new touring opera needed to be something appropriate for all ages but one that was especially good for younger audiences. I wanted a comedy since we would also be touring Carmen and that’s not exactly light fare. It also had to be something that could be successfully abridged from a full-length opera with a large cast to something that runs about 45-minutes and is performed by a cast of five. You can cut anything down, but for it to be a serious consideration for me it has to retain the core of the original work. No easy feat. I tossed a few ideas around, but one opera kept coming back to me: Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. The decision was made. The new touring production for 2012-2013 would be The Barber of Seville. As the process of abridging the score began, I also had to start thinking about the logistics of the set and costumes. I had serious limitations to work around. Everything had to fit into the back of a GMC Yukon and we had to be able to set it up and break it down by ourselves in less than 30 minutes. Once logistics were addressed, I had to start thinking about the look of the production. What kind of production did I envision? Did I want a faithful historic representation or did I want to update it and make it modern or even futuristic? For me, the answer was again, classic. The next step? Design. When I design a production, I always have something that serves as my inspiration piece; something that guides me as I choose the look of the sets and costumes. For The Barber of Seville, my creativity was instantly sparked by two renowned classics. For the costumes, my inspiration was the classic film, The Great Race. For the set... classic cartoons. Not just any cartoons mind you, but those brilliant animated comedies starring Pepe le Pew. Even though it’s technically set in Seville, the set would be quite Parisian in nature with lots of curves, angles and swirls. Nothing would be straight, everything would feel just a little out of order; a little outside the realm of reality. The costumes would be an homage to melodrama. Our hero would be dressed all in white, our villain in black, our heroine a demure damsel in distress in ruffles and bows. But, it would all be delivered with a twist to keep it fresh and relevant for today’s audiences. Now I was getting somewhere. Design concepts in place, I met with my assistant director just to verify Continued on page 17
OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 14
Next year is just around the corner. And what a year it will be.
A Journey of the Human Spirit Jan 16 & 17 Gates Concert Hall at the Newman Center at DU A collaborative production blending music, opera, theatre and dance
June 29 - August 4
Our Town | The Barber of Seville Plus Show Boat, performed only in Denver at Buell Theatre, DCPA ft certiďŹ cates available. Call or go online for details and book early for the best seats at the best prices. Gif Gift 303.292.6700 | CentralCityOpera.org
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A Classic Hits the Road Continued... that even though I was using Looney Toons as inspiration, I, in fact, was not loony for going this route. Even though this would be the first production that Meghan worked on as an assistant director, I knew I could count on her to be honest with me. I was delighted to hear that she loved the concept. After some fine tuning of ideas and finalizing the abridged version, we had a good idea of where we were headed. We were ready to meet with the set and costume designers. The design team is an integral part of creating a quality production. I am fortunate to be able to work with a group of people whose talents simply amaze and astound me. I call them â€œTeam Genius.â€? Weâ€™ve worked together on three touring productions and weâ€™ve become a well-oiled machine. Iâ€™m incredibly lucky and I know it. The world of production design doesnâ€™t always work this way. The first meeting is with Bruce Bergner, our set designer. Meghan and I sit with him and I present my inspiration pieces. He looks them over and asks a few questions to get a general idea of where Iâ€™m heading. Bruce then basically tells me to dream out loud. I paint a picture with words, telling him what Iâ€™ve been imagining for the past several months. Meghan adds in her own point of view and Bruce, being the genius that he is, finds a way to bring it all together. He makes suggestions, we comment back. His expertise helps us complete the picture. For The Barber of Seville set, he comes up with the idea to paint decorative frames around each scene. This will not only help with the feel of the cartoon world that Iâ€™m going for, but will ground each scene so that they will feel more like separate rooms, like individual animation cells that the characters step out of. Now we come to the big challenge; and I always hand him one. Iâ€™ve asked for an opening to be cut into the backdrop so that we can use it as a doorway. This is a major hurdle, engineering is involved. But Bruce comes up with an idea and takes it to our set builder, also a genius, Ron Mueller. Together they are able to come up with a solution. Weâ€™ll have a doorway in the backdrop, but thatâ€™s not all. Weâ€™ll also have another, smaller backdrop painted to look like a hallway. This will make the doorway appear to be part of the house and also hide the backstage area from the audience. See... geniuses. Meghan and I then meet with our costume designer, Ann Piano. Ann has been with Opera Colorado for a while now and she knows the challenges that come with a touring production. I show her images from my inspiration piece, The Great Race, and she instantly knows what Iâ€™m going for. We talk about colors, fabrics and small touches that will help create believable characters. We meet again a few weeks later and Ann has pulled costumes that she feels might work. Just what I suspected. Sheâ€™s a genius too and the costumes are going to be fabulous. That same week, I get the black and white set renderings from Bruce. This is an exciting time as a director. Itâ€™s the first chance I have to see my ideas come to life. We tweak a few things and just days later I have the final color renderings. Meghan and I look at them and all we can do is smile. Itâ€™s like looking at a classic cartoon. Any second you expect to see Pepe le Pew or Snidley Whiplash come around the corner in the drawing. Our design team has created something amazing, something that lived in my head for the better part of a year. Itâ€™s truly unique and whimsical and audiences are going to love it. The phase of building the set and costumes begins. In just a few weeks, the Young Artists will be here and Meghan and I will go into rehearsals. At the beginning of October, weâ€™ll have The Barber of Seville ready for performances. I can hear it in my head now. Students all across the state of Colorado are going to be learning about opera and singing Figaro... Figaro... Figaro...! It doesnâ€™t get much more classic that that.
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Weapons of Mass Instruction By Erin Acheson, Marketing and Promotions Coordinator
Morgan Harmison, Soprano
Cassidy Smith, Mezzo-Soprano
Joshua Bouill on, Tenor
Alex DeSocio, Baritone
Jared Guest, Baritone OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 18
pera Colorado offers one of the largest and most immersive arts education programs in the state, reaching over 35,000 people during the 2011-2012 school year. The Education & Community Programs staff (of two!) works tirelessly to take opera into the field, Colorado’s schools and communities, to ensure that as many children and adults as possible are touched by the power of the arts. It’s a big job. But the staff does have a secret weapon – The Opera Colorado Young Artists. The Young Artists are at the core of our education programs. These talented singers are selected for a seven-month residency during which time they receive training from staff and guest artists, learn new roles, and perform alongside professional singers, all while serving as arts education ambassadors across the state. I sat down with Cherity Koepke, Opera Colorado’s Director of Education & Community Programs, who also directs the Young Artists, to find out the process of finding these up-and-coming vocal stars. What do you look for in a Young Artist? What type of experience should they have? Our young artists need to have their Master’s degree in vocal performance. It tells me they have spent six years of their lives learning the technique they need to know before they get here. A Bachelor’s degree is great, but most singers aren’t ready to go straight into a young artist program at that point. They need to know how to take care of themselves, be responsible for their own schedule, their own health. They need to have been on stage and performed a role. That kind of knowledge and those kinds of experiences are more likely to happen when pursuing a Master’s degree. Do the singers’ personalities play a role in your decision? Do you try to make sure everyone will get along? This is huge, and the hardest part of the audition process. I get about 8-10 minutes with each candidate during their audition. Someone can sing the heck out of an aria and not show who they really are as a person. The singers we select will be with Opera Colorado for seven months. I need to know that they can get along with each other as well as the staff they will be
working with. In the audition, I have to engage them to see if they will be a good fit with the organization and one another. How many singers audition for the Opera Colorado Young Artist program each year? We typically receive between 300-500 applications. We will schedule around 150 live auditions, and then from that group we choose 5. It’s incredibly competitive and the caliber of applicants gets higher every year. We do a nationwide search, and we even get international applicants though we are not yet equipped to handle them due to the level of paperwork and requirements involved. Maybe someday! The singers audition individually. How do you know their voices will blend well together? I have to have a really good memory. I can hear their voices in my head and I file the serious ones away to compare later on. If I want a baritone with a big voice, I know I need to find a soprano and mezzo who can match it. I have to make sure the vocalist is singing the right repertoire for his or her voice, that the voice can stand alone and balance with others, and that he or she has a good stage presence. I don’t hear all the Young Artists together for the first time until about a week into their residency. I’m also lucky to have a fabulous support system in Greg (General Director) and Brad (Director of Artistic Operations). They are with me at auditions to give feedback and help me analyze the voices. They may hear or notice things that I did not. Not every Director has that kind of support and I believe it’s one of the things that makes our program strong. What kind of experience do the singers have as a Young Artist with Opera Colorado? There are different kinds of young artist programs. Some focus on singing and technique; ours focuses on performance skills which I’ve found that many collegiate systems don’t make a priority. They perform regularly in front of live audiences and receive regular vocal and drama coachings. From this program, they will be able to go into any performance setting with the skills Continued page 20
Weapons of Mass Instruction Continued... they need to do well. What also sets us apart from other young artist programs is that our singers not only get the experience of performing in the community through tours and school programs, but they get main stage opera experience. They are cast as roles in our main stage productions â€“ thatâ€™s a huge opportunity. The student matinee is also a great opportunity for them â€“ they perform an entire role with orchestra. Many young artist programs are either all community based or all main stage based. I think the mix of educational and main stage opportunities gives them a unique perspective about the art form they have chosen as a career. Who are the 2012-13 Opera Colorado Young Artists? Morgan, our soprano, had a broken foot when she auditioned for us. There she was, standing with her cast â€“ a difficult obstacle â€“ and she was vibrant and vivacious. She has a gorgeous, sparkling top to her voice. She will be a beautiful Juliet. We were excited to hear Cassidy, our mezzo-soprano. She is local, a DU grad, and has sung with the Opera Colorado chorus in some past productions. Cassidy has the most even, beautifully colored mezzo voice â€“ all the ranges connect perfectly. She is super secure as a singer, which is important as sheâ€™ll be singing Carmen and Rosinaâ€Śtough stuff! Our tenor Joshua (Cherity laughs)â€Śthree notes into his
first piece I put my pencil down and stopped taking notes. He captured my attention immediately. He has a warm, romantic, gorgeous voice. Heâ€™s very charismatic. Our audiences will be drawn in by him. Alex, one of our baritones, is a hoot. His personality just leaps off the stage through his acting and singing. He has what I call an â€œold schoolâ€? baritone voice â€“ he has the bottom you expect and the top you wouldnâ€™t and itâ€™s thrilling to hear. Just awesome! Our second baritone, Jared, started with an unexpected comedic aria. It immediately showed us his personality and sense of humor. Then he sang a second aria that was a complete contrast, stunningly beautiful. He has a big, lush voice and can sing the pants off his roles but he can also act and be goofy; a valuable quality for a baritone. Theyâ€™re going to be a great group! It will be a challenging year for all of them. This is not an easy residency â€“ they are incredibly busy and will have long hours. It is a test to see how they handle themselves and adapt to living as a professional singer. Opera Colorado gives them the tools and support, making sure they remain vocally healthy and sing the right roles for where they are in their careers. Not all programs do that. We look out for them in this program; these are their first steps on their own, the first steps of their professional careers.
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Thirty Years of Opera Colorado!!!
By Betsy Schwarm
2013 is the thirtieth year of Opera Colorado, with some five dozen different operas having found a place in our repertoire. Some of the most familiar ones appeared in the schedule multiple times; others only once. However, what they all have in common is a devotion to communicating to the audience the power and glory of live opera, from Baroque works to the present day. In honor of our anniversary, we invited a variety of Opera Colorado fans and supporters – both long-time and newer to our offerings – to share their thoughts about favorite memories of particular productions. Thanks to Ellie Caulkins, Pam Merrill, Terry Frazier, Greg Carpenter, and Betsy Schwarm for offering their suggestions. Three top favorite productions that appeared on almost everyone’s lists:
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – 1992: Our first Wagner opera, and the first live Wagner seen by many of our audience. It’s still the grandest thing we’ve done – with everything from festival banners to street brawls – and Nat Merrill’s direction is fondly remembered for how he managed to keep all those dozens of singers busy, without neglecting the music.
Adams: Nixon in China – 2008: Our first big plunge into contemporary opera, in a grand and exciting production that achieved the nearimpossible: letting music give us a sympathetic view of Richard Nixon. Rediscover it in the favorably-reviewed CD recording with the Colorado Symphony and Marin Alsop.
Bizet: The Pearl Fishers – 2009: A wealth of gorgeous, rarely-heard music in a splendidly colorful production (by Zandra Rhodes) that vividly captured the exotic Sri Lankan setting. Here was a delightful chance to find out what else Bizet composed other than Carmen: no gypsies, but plenty of beautiful singing.
Others of note: Turandot Puccini: Turandot – 1984: It was an expensive reach for a new company – only our second season – but the production and the singing alike still provoke fond memories. Eva Marton’s turn in the title role included a vivid red costume that reminded the audience of Turandot’s bloody mission to fend off love. Saint-Saëns: Samson and Delilah – 1987: Samson – sung by Jon Vickers – literally brought down the house, and some patrons went home with faux rock fragments from the pillars of the temple. Staged at Boettcher, it was like being in the temple as the walls fell.
Samson and Delilah
Verdi: La Traviata – 1989: With the great Sherrill Milnes as Giorgio Germont, here was a production where Father Germont's power over Alfredo and Violetta was especially believable: his was a voice not to be denied. Appearing with Milnes in that production were soprano Diana Soviero and tenor Walter MacNeil. Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier – 1994: Not quite as grand in scale as Meistersinger, but still an expansive work that stretched our company and our audiences, while filling the stage with glorious music. The sets and the singing alike had all the white-and-silver beauty of a wedding cake, though with more enduring memories. The leading ladies’ final trio was well worth the wait. Continued page 24
OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 22
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Thirty Years of Opera Colorado Continued... Abduction from the Seraglio
Mozart: Abduction from the Seraglio – 2006: Jim Robinson, the company’s former artistic director, staged this one not in a Middle Eastern palace as Mozart had intended, but instead on the Orient Express. That decision brought new energy to this classic opera without leaving the music out of the spotlight. The production was so well-received, and so admired by other opera companies, that Opera Colorado is still receiving rental revenue due to its popularity nationally.
Florencia en el Amazonas
Dvorˇ ák: Rusalka – 2011: Here we brought together 21st century technology with a very early 20th century opera, one that had long reigned at the top of some opera fans’ lists of operas they hoped we’d present. Those who only knew the composer from his “Symphony from the New World” had the chance to find that Dvoˇrák had a flair for the stage as well, especially with Kelly Kaduce in the title role of the lovelorn water sprite.
Catán: Florencia en el Amazonas – 2011: Here was proof that contemporary opera can be beautiful and accessible, in this case further buoyed by impressive and evocative special effects, bringing the Amazon into the Ellie. The production was the first new one since the opera’s premiere in 1996, a fact the composer appreciated. Having local bass-baritone Keith Miller in the production was icing on the cake.
We’ve limited the list to ten operas, so as to have room in the newsletter for pictures from each. Join us on Memory Lane, and for more memories with our upcoming season!
PINK MARTINI ɒ DECEMBER 12 Wed 7:30 PM
HOLIDAY BRASS ɒ DECEMBER 14
WITH THE COLORADO SYMPHONY
Fri 7:30 PM
COLORADO CHRISTMAS ɒ DECEMBER 7, 8, 9
Fri-Sat 7:30 PM Marin Alsop, conductor / Colorado Symphony Chorus, Mary Louise Burke, associate director
TOO HOT TO HANDEL ɒ DECEMBER 21, 22 Fri 7:30 PM; Sat 2:30 & 6:00 PM; Sun 2:30 & 6:00 PM Allen Tinkham, conductor Colorado Symphony Chorus, Duain Wolfe, director Colorado Children’s Chorale, Deborah DeSantis, director
MESSIAH BY CANDLELIGHT ɒ DECEMBER 11,12, 16 Tues-Wed 7:30 PM; Sun 5:30 PM Scott O’Neil, resident conductor Colorado Symphony Chorus, Duain Wolfe, director Performances at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church
HANSEL AND GRETEL ɒ DECEMBER 29-30 Sat 7:30 PM; Sun 2:30 PM Andrew Litton, conductor and artistic advisor Colorado Children’s Chorale, Deborah DeSantis, director / In the Heart of the Beast Puppets HUMPERDINCK Hansel and Gretel
A NIGHT IN VIENNA ɒ DECEMBER 31 Mon 6:30 PM Andrew Litton, conductor and artistic advisor
303.623.7876 / coloradosymphony.org Artists, dates and programs subject to change. Keep up with us online!
ANDREW LITTON, ARTISTIC ADVISOR
OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 24
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e appreciate the support and partnerships with hotels and restaurants in downtown Denver. We encourage fans of Opera Colorado to be fans of these sponsors. For more information about these sponsors, visit OperaColorado.org and click on “Plan Your Visit.”
The Oxford Hotel
Funky, cool and playful, The Curtis - a Doubletree by Hilton features 336 “pop culture” themed guestrooms, 22,000 square feet of meeting space and the Corner Office Restaurant + Martini Bar. The Magnolia Hotel Denver. Old world charm meets modern Magnolia style in our downtown Denver hotel, formerly the American National Bank Building. Opened in 1995, this Denver hotel has a total of 246 Rooms & Suites and 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including the magnificent Magnolia Ballroom.
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The Westin Denver Downtown offers weekend packages for opera, theater and ballet productions at the Denver Performing Art Complex. For additional information, visit their website and click on special offers. The Oxford Hotel features 80 uniquely appointed rooms in the heart of Denver’s LoDo District. A complimentary Town Car service will whisk you away to the Opera House for a magical evening.
The Magnolia Hotel Denver
Hotel Teatro, located just steps from the DPAC is Denver’s premier luxury boutique hotel, offering exquisite lodging accommodations for the opera enthusiast. On property you will discover Award-winning Chef Kevin Taylor‘s fine dining restaurants: PRIMA Ristorante and his signature Kevin Taylor Restaurant.
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Located in the heart of LoDo and within walking distance of the Pepsi Center and Union Station, Fogo de Chão is an authentic Southern Brazilian Steakhouse featuring a prix fixe menu showcasing 15 delectable cuts of meat, gourmet salads, decadent desserts, and an award-winning wine list. Prima Ristorante, located within Hotel Teatro across from the DPAC, features a seasonal modern Italian menu in a newly-renovated contemporary setting. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Prima serves a late night bar menu with unique cocktails and an extensive wine list. For reservations, call (303) 228-0770. Located in the Chambers Grant Salon in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House serves pre-theater cocktails and seasonally-fresh dinner cuisine on evenings with performances in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Buell Theater and/or Boettcher Concert Hall. For reservations, call (303) 640-1012.
Prima Ristorante Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House
Limelight Supper Club & Lounge
OVATION! | Fall 2012 | Page 28
Located within the DPAC, Limelight Supper Club & Lounge serves dinner on performance days, as well as brunch prior to weekend matinées, but it is perhaps most popular for a quick intermission cocktail, allowing guests to carry a glass of wine back to their theater’s lobby. For reservations, call (720) 227-9984.
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