Opera Colorado -- Samson and Delilah, May 4-12, 2024

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MAY 4 | 7 | 10 | 12 | 2024


BRAVOVAIL.O R G ■ 877.812.5700 ■ @BRAVOVAIL SUPPO R TED BY TICKETS AS LOW A S $34 INVENTORY The Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin July 10 & 12, 2024

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Opera Colorado’s exquisite production of Samson and Delilah. It is with great pleasure and excitement that we present this French grand opera for the first time in thirtyseven years.

Passion, betrayal, and redemption collide in this well-known, ancient story. Our exceptional cast and creative team bring the drama to life with stunning sets and costumes, spectacular dance, and the powerful voices of our talented artists, promising an experience that will leave you spellbound.

As we bid farewell to our epic 2023-24 Season, our anticipation turns to the 2024-25 lineup. Already, there is tremendous buzz and subscriptions are selling fast, coupled with excitement for each of our upcoming productions: Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment, Puccini’s La bohème, and Verdi’s Il trovatore. There will be something for everyone to enjoy as we continue our mission of bringing the magic of opera to our community.

However, as we look toward the future, we face some significant challenges. Like opera


companies across the nation, Opera Colorado— a nonprofit organization—has faced a forty percent increase in expenses, making it more challenging than ever to sustain our operations and fulfill our commitment to artistic excellence. That’s why we need your help.

Ticket sales account for just one-third of the revenue needed to cover our costs. The generous support of our donors enables us to overcome financial obstacles; invest in our talented artists, orchestra, chorus, staff, and production teams; and, most importantly, continue bringing the transformative power of opera to audiences of all ages. We hope you will continue to support Opera Colorado with an increased gift this season or become a new donor and enjoy the many benefits of contributing to Opera Colorado.

Join us in celebrating the beauty and grandeur of Samson and Delilah. Together, let’s ensure that opera remains a vibrant and vital part of our cultural landscape for generations to come. Thank you for your continued dedication and generosity. We are deeply grateful for your support and look forward to sharing many more magical moments with you in the seasons ahead.

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How did you develop an interest in opera?

I started singing in choirs when I was 14 and continued during my undergraduate years as a biology major. Then, while doing my doctorate in optometry, I was called to sing in the opera chorus; that’s when I was discovered. I immediately enrolled at the Puerto Rico Music Conservatory and later completed a master’s degree in opera performance at the University of Texas at Austin. I have been constantly performing around the world since.

Congratulations on your role debut! What is special about playing Samson for you?

Samson has always been one of those roles on my bucket list. I am so grateful to Opera Colorado for giving me the opportunity to finally sing it for the first time. At this stage in my life, I think Samson is one of the perfect roles to be performing for the rest of my career. It feels like the perfect match for my talent and my vocal and dramatic capabilities.

How do you prepare for a role debut as opposed to a more familiar role?

Whenever there’s a literary source for the origins of the opera, I try to read it first to help me understand the character. In this case, the source is the Bible. We could probably consider Samson to be the first superhero the occidental world knows. For a role I am singing for the first time, I have to spend more time learning the music, fitting it to my voice, and, finally, memorizing it.


Meet tenor Rafael Davila, making his role debut as our leading man in Samson and Delilah. He has performed all around the world and returns to Opera Colorado for the first time since Tocsa (Cavaradossi) in 2021. Learn more about his life as an opera singer before you experience his amazing performance on stage.

I started this season by singing performances of Verdi’s Nabucco as well as Bizet’s Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera of New York. While I was in New York, I was able to practice this role with some of the best coaches in the business. I continued to do this work remotely while I was rehearsing Luisa Miller for Sarasota Opera in Florida. For a role I’ve sung before, it usually takes me from one to a couple of weeks to put it back in voice and memory. Naturally, the more I’ve performed a role, the less time it takes me to revise it, and vice versa.

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

I enjoy the whole rehearsal process. It gives us the confidence to be relaxed onstage, become the character, and give our best performance. My favorite part is when we get into costume; it helps us transform into the character. I also enjoy the moment when we hear the orchestra for the first time and listen to all the different colors of the instruments. We just try to ride on top of that big texture of sound while simultaneously trying to blend with it.

You were last with us for Tosca in the fall of 2021. What has been your favorite project since then?

After Tosca in 2021, I reprised the role for Opera Memphis along with Maestro Ari Pelto once more. For me, it was a wonderful opportunity to repeat the role we did for the first time together in Denver for a different audience.

favorite part is when we get into costume; it helps us transform into the character. I also enjoy the moment when we hear the orchestra for the first time and listen to all the different colors of the instruments.”


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For the past five seasons, I’ve been part of the Metropolitan Opera of New York roster. I enjoyed singing in the past two seasons on the Met’s stage and performing the leading tenor roles in Carmen (Don José), Medea (Giasone), Aida (Radames), Nabucco (Ismaele), and the title role in Verdi’s Don Carlo for a total of nine performances. Meanwhile, I have also been able to add to my repertoire the leading tenor roles of Verdi’s operas Ernani and Luisa Miller at Sarasota Opera in Florida, as well as Carmen (Don José) for the prestigious Cassals Festival back home in Puerto Rico.

What do you like about Colorado?

How will you spend your free time?

I love the company, the audience, and the city. The first time I worked at Opera Colorado, I could feel how much Denver’s audience supports this company.

It is a pleasure to sing at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. I haven’t seen more comfortable dressing rooms in any other theater around the world.

Last time I was in Denver, I had the pleasure of meeting Ellie Caulkins and she has followed my career since then. I am looking forward to returning and spending some time with her, as well as with my dear friends in the company–the Ellie Caulkins General & Artistic Director Greg Carpenter, Maestro Ari Pelto, and Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master Sahar Nouri.

During my free time, I like to explore a city and its history. Denver has a lot of that to offer. I have especially enjoyed driving up to the mountains. I am looking forward to exploring them again, but this time in the spring season, since I was last in Colorado in the fall for Tosca.

PHOTO Rafael Davila as Cavaradossi in our 2021 production of Tosca Opera Colorado/Matt Staver
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How did you develop an interest in opera?

We had my grandfather’s antique copy of the Victor Book of the Opera at home in Iowa. It was, basically, a catalog for the old Victrola company. As a kid, the stories and the photos of the old singers fascinated me. I was hooked on Caruso, Garden, Schumann-Heink, the De Reske brothers, Tetrazzini, and Farrar! My parents took me to my first live opera when I was 14– Carmen at the University of Iowa. I loved it and it became one of my mostperformed roles.

You’ve taught masterclasses all over the world. What interests you about teaching?

I have always loved teaching. In fact, I went into my bachelor’s at the University of Iowa fully expecting to be a vocal music teacher somewhere in Iowa and got my music education degree before heading to Salzburg, Austria for my master’s. I am lucky enough to have several colleges and programs ask me to teach masterclasses during my career. I also have an active private studio in Salzburg. My students are professionals singing everywhere from the Metropolitan Opera, to the Dutch Radio choir, to the Hungarian State Opera, and I am super proud of them! I absolutely love guiding them towards a solid technique and taking the long view. Our goal is the thirty-plus year career and not the five-year “sudden splash and then gone” that I see so often in this business. I’ve had a lot of wonderful mentors in my life, and I truly feel it is my responsibility to pass on to my students and mentees what I’ve learned and the guidance I’ve been given.

An Iowa native, mezzo-soprano Katharine Goeldner makes her Opera Colorado debut as the leading lady in Samson and Delilah. While new to Colorado, Katharine Goeldner is no stranger to the mountains—she is based in Salzburg, Austria. She has performed the role of Delilah several times to great acclaim. Learn more about her before experiencing her debut!

The last time you performed this role, the setting was 1930s Germany. Will your performance change since this opera is more traditionally set?

Of course, I come into a production with a strong idea of who my character is. When learning a role, I do a lot of research and reading. I listen and watch live recordings with famous singers and conductors of the past to get an idea of various tempi, colors, and interpretations. Then, I add my own stamp to it. But the final product really depends on the whole team. The director, conductor, chorus, soloist colleagues, and the costumes and wigs all help to inform and determine the character. The development of a character depends so much on the interplay among everyone on stage and in the pit! All that to say, I can’t really tell you how this performance will be different without consulting everyone.

Congratulations on your Opera Colorado debut! What are you excited to do with your free time in Colorado?

I expect the rehearsal period to be pretty intense and I won’t have much time for “fun.” But I am looking forward to having a ton of friends and family come to the shows, including my first voice teacher, Jocelyn Reiter, who is the whole reason I have a career and live in Salzburg. I’m also really looking forward to working with Maestro Pelto again. This will be our third production together, after Salome and Aida And to finally work with Keturah Stickann again, after too many years! One of the best parts of this career is getting to work with old friends.

“I truly feel it is my responsibility to pass on to my students and mentees what I’ve learned and the guidance I’ve been given.”


Are you thinking of subscribing to next season? Do you want to mingle with fellow arts-loving young people (21-45) and enjoy free champagne receptions during Friday night shows? Then Inside OC is for you! As an Inside OC subscriber you receive:

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Samson and Delilah

MAY 4 | 7 | 10 | 12 | 2024



There will be a twenty-five-minute intermission after act one and a twenty-minute intermission after act two CAST


Samson Rafael Davila

Abimelech Christian Zaremba

High Priest of Dagon Nmon Ford

First Philistine Joshua Zabatta

Second Philistine Alex Granito^

Philistine Messenger Randy Ho^

Old Hebrew Turner Staton^

Delilah Katharine Goeldner*

Conductor Ari Pelto

Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor Sahar Nouri

Stage Director Keturah Stickann

Répétiteur Nathan Salazar

Choreographer Rachael Harding

Fight and Intimacy Director Frances Rabalais

Set Designer Peter Dean Beck

Lighting Designer J. Isadora Krech

Wig and Makeup Designer Ronell Oliveri

Opera Colorado Chorus

Opera Colorado Orchestra

*Opera Colorado debut

^2023-24 Artists in Residence

Costumes provided by Sarasota Opera Association, Inc.

Additional costumes designed by Madison Booth and built by Opera Colorado Costume Shop

Scenery provided by Pittsburgh Opera

Opera United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE is the union representing Scenic, Costume, Lighting, Sound and Projection designers in Live Performance




• Delilah (mezzo-soprano) – A priestess of Dagon

• Samson (tenor) – Leader of the Hebrews

• High Priest of Dagon (baritone) – A religious official

• Abimelech (bass) – A provincial governor


The Sorek Valley around 1200–1000 B.C.E.


The Hebrew people cry out in fear that their god has abandoned them, while their leader, Samson, encourages them to have faith. He galvanizes them into fighting for their freedom from slavery under the Philistines. Abimelech arrives and taunts the Hebrews, challenging them to believe his Dagon is superior to their god. An aggravated Samson fights Abimelech who falls as the Hebrews flee. The High Priest of Dagon enters, outraged to find a slain Abimelech. He curses the missing Hebrews and plots revenge.

The next day, the Hebrews offer a humble prayer as Delilah and other Philistine women emerge from a temple with flowers. Delilah dances with the other women and tells Samson he has claimed her heart. He admits to feeling tempted by her, but other Hebrew men try to convince him not to fall for Delilah’s seduction. Delilah continues to dance and sings of the coming of spring and all its delights to further tempt Samson to come with her. The two catch each other’s eyes and Samson appears to be spellbound.


Delilah relaxes in her home, confident in her ability to lure Samson to her and trick him into capture. The High Priest of Dagon enters to praise her for enchanting Samson. He explains Samson was blessed with incredible strength,

but it seems Delilah can weaken him with her charm. The two plot to use Delilah’s influence over Samson to conquer their rival’s strongest warrior. The High Priest of Dagon offers her gold for helping her people by taking down Samson. She refuses rewards, claiming revenge and victory over the Hebrews is her only motivation.

As the sky grows dark, Samson arrives to profess his love for Delilah. She claims to love him as well but states he must share the secret of his strength with her to solidify their connection. Samson hears thunder in the distance and, believing this to be a sign from god, refuses to divulge his secret. Delilah continues to pressure Samson and he succumbs to her charm. Delilah learns his hair is what gives Samson his strength. When Samson lets down his guard, Delilah cuts his hair. Philistine soldiers arrive to arrest Samson and he cries out in anguish over Delilah’s betrayal.


Samson is chained and expresses his guilt for trusting Delilah. He offers his life as a sacrifice in retribution for forsaking his god and his people. The Hebrew people feel hurt and confused as they try to understand how Samson, their strongest warrior, succumbed to lust for Delilah instead of loyalty to his people. Samson is eventually dragged away. The Philistines prepare for their victory over the Hebrews and celebrate with the Bacchanale.

Samson is dragged in front of the High Priest of Dagon and Delilah to be sacrificed. The High Priest ridicules Samson, and Delilah taunts him by revealing her affections had been a ruse. Samson is led to be chained between two pillars of the temple. As the High Priest and Delilah celebrate their impending victory, Samson calls upon his god to briefly return his strength. He pulls at his bindings and brings down the temple, sacrificing himself and taking down his foes in the process.

As we present Samson and Delilah this spring, we want to acknowledge its historical and biblical context. The opera explores themes of love, betrayal, and human struggles. While conflicts between groups are portrayed, our production does not take a direct political stance on contemporary Middle East issues. Our goal is to present a work of art that prompts reflection and appreciation for its rich musical and historical origins. Opera Colorado upholds the importance of our shared existence and rejection of any form of discrimination based on race, religion, or beliefs.


The Old Testament strongman and the woman who betrayed him: oratorio or opera? Both have singers, instruments, and a plot. However, in oratorios (think of Handel’s Messiah), the story is told, not acted. By contrast, operas use sets, props, costumes, and much theatrical activity to tell the tale. In nineteenth-century Paris, such regalia was thought inappropriate for a work of biblical roots. So, French composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) began his Samson and Delilah as an oratorio, set to a text prepared by Ferdinand Lamaire (1832–1879). However, the further he proceeded, the more Saint-Saëns realized that the story’s intensity not only deserved stage action, it required it.

Thus, Samson and Delilah became an opera. French authorities remained skeptical, so the opera premiered not in Paris, but rather in Weimar, Germany, on December 2, 1877. Apparently, German audiences (and authorities) were more open-minded as to what was suitable in an opera house! The result is a work of high drama and strong personality in which Saint-Saëns’s vivid use of both voices and instruments is, indeed, best served by seeing the action, not just imagining it.

Only instruments are heard in the opera’s most famous scene. The Bacchanale, which begins the third act, is a wild and sensuous dance that Delilah, along with other women, uses to seduce Samson. Saint-Saëns gave himself the advantage of a substantial orchestra, including a host of richly voiced, low-pitched woodwinds and brass, as well as a generous allotment of percussion. Although the tambour de basque isn’t Middle Eastern in origin, its throaty timbre, accented by the bell-like sounds of a triangle, glockenspiel, and crotales, marvelously evokes place and action for this biblically derived adventure.

For the title characters, Saint-Saëns didn’t choose the usual tenor and soprano. Instead, he opted for a tenor and a mezzosoprano/contralto. The leading lady’s part is not significantly higher than that of her leading man. Moreover, both have music of weight and substance that adds depth to their characters, as well as to the tale at hand.

Samson is a heroic tenor in an almost Wagnerian manner, a stylistic choice that makes his emotions especially impactful. In his act three aria “Vois ma misère,” the captive, blinded strongman alternates between resignation and despair. His passionate lines are punctuated by rebukes from the chorus, driving him to even more agonized outbursts.

As for Delilah, Saint-Saëns composed her music with a particular voice in mind: mezzo-soprano Pauline ViardotGarcía (1821–1910). Being well-advanced in her career at the time, she would not premiere the role. Saint-Saëns needed someone younger for the seductive character. However, he wrote for her type of voice–one that could turn from subtlety to urgency in a single phrase.


In Delilah’s act two aria “Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix,” tenderly flowing lines build to impassioned statements as she persuades Samson that he has conquered her heart. In the story’s context, she is setting him up for a tremendous fall. However, the music is so alluring and entrancing that Samson falls under her spell. Does he not see it coming, or can he just not resist? That depends on the interpreter.

Several smaller roles expand the drama: smaller in stage time, if not in impact. However, once one steps beyond the title characters, the most prominent vocal element in Samson and Delilah is the chorus. It commands the opening scene and various others as the opera progresses. Furthermore, the chorus often provides the textures—both musical and dramatic—against which the action plays out.

In the end, Samson is destroyed, but so are his foes when he pulls down the temple around them and is himself crushed in the turmoil that he brings upon them. The chorus, the priests, and Delilah all cry out. But it is the orchestra’s contribution—a thunderous sequence of rapidly descending runs—that ensures that even a listener who happened not to be looking at the stage will sense that the walls have tumbled down.

Opera directors revel in the challenge of staging the temple’s fall. Audiences become absorbed in the urgency and intensity of the work. While this closing scene is iconic, it is the compelling journey on which Saint-Saëns’s music takes people that makes Samson and Delilah so special.

Program notes © Betsy Schwarm, author of the Classical Music Insights series.



Chloé-Grant Abel, a native of Kansas City, Missouri, honed her dance knowledge through twelve years of intensive training at the Kansas City Ballet School under a full scholarship. Her journey continued with studies at the Ailey School in New York as a fellowship recipient. She later graduated with a BFA in Dance (Ballet/ Modern Emphasis), magna cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Ms. Abel’s professional career includes performances with Quixotic Performance Fusion, the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, the Owen/Cox Dance Group, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, and an apprenticeship with the Kansas City Ballet. Most recently, she was an ensemble member with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (CPRDE) for twelve years and the Ensemble Rehearsal Director from 2017 to 2023. During her twelveyear tenure with CPRDE, Ms. Abel graced the stage in lead roles by Donald McKayle, Garfield Lemonius, and Cleo Parker Robinson, as well as various works by acclaimed choreographers including Rennie Harris, Eleo Pomare, Gary Abbott, Millicent Johnnie, Robert Moses, Milton Myers, and Christopher Huggins. Ms. Abel is currently working as a freelance artist in the Denver area. Her recent projects include the musical Raisin at Townhall Arts in Littleton, Colorado, as well as choreographing an original work at Davis Contemporary Dance Company in Denver.


Abigail Corrigan is a Denver-based dancer and educator. She performed last year in Opera Colorado’s production of Die tote Stadt and has also had the honor of working with companies such as OddKnoock Productions, The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Casa Bonita, Summation Dance (NYC), VALLETO Dance (NYC), and jk-co. She was an affiliate faculty member with the Denver University Prison Arts Initiative. Abigail received a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a BA in Arts Administration from Elon University, where she performed works by artists such as Gerri Houlihan and Kira Blazek. Abigail was also a student and choreographic resident at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, where she was mentored by Christian Burns and Alex Ketley. She is very excited to be back performing with Opera Colorado!


Recent engagements for Puerto Rican tenor Rafael Davila include his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Carmen (Don José), Manon Lescaut (Des Grieux) for San Francisco Opera, Liceu de Barcelona and Opera de Valencia, the world-premiere of Jimmy Lopez’s Bel Canto for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci at the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli and the Macerata Festival in Italy, Aida for Valencia, and his debut at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg in a Zarzuela Gala Concert. In the 2021-22 Season, he performed in Tosca (Cavaradossi) with Opera Colorado, Turandot (Calàf) for the Evansville Philharmonic, Carmen (Don José) for Opera de Puerto Rico opposite Puerto Rican diva Ana Maria Martinez, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Tosca and Don Carlos. His engagements in the 2022-23 Season included a return to Sarasota Opera for Ernani, the Metropolitan Opera for Don Carlo, and a new production of Cherubini’s Medea, Pagliacci for the Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and Tosca with Opera Memphis. Rafael has appeared in Los Gavilanes, Luisa Fernanda, Maria La O, Cecilia Valdés, and El Huesped del Sevillano. He has been nominated two times at The Grammy Awards for the recordings of Ariel Ramírez’s Misa Criolla and Rafael Hernández’s operetta Cofresi

NMON FORD | High Priest of Dagon

Panamanian-American baritone Nmon Ford’s recent highlights include his exceptionally reviewed performances in Don Giovanni at Dorset Festival Opera in the UK, and in the new Metropolitan Opera production of Porgy & Bess (Crown) at London’s English National Opera and at Dutch National Opera in The Netherlands. In Denver, he joined Opera Colorado’s Carmen (Escamillo), a role he also sang at Calgary Opera in Canada and in London at English National Opera. Other highlights include Salome (Jochanaan) with Patricia Racette at Pittsburgh Opera, Fidelio (Don Pizzaro) with Christine Goerke at Cincinnati Opera, Madama Butterfly (Sharpless) at Detroit Opera, and Otello (Iago) in concert with Atlanta Symphony with Russell Thomas in the title role. Earlier in his career, Mr. Ford sang often at Hamburg State Opera in Germany and appeared in Tosca (Scarpia), Il trovatore (Count Di Luna), the title role in Billy Budd, Death in Venice (The Traveler), and Iphigenie et Tauride (Thoas) under the baton of Simone Young.



An Ohio native, Claire Fisher began her journey as a mover with the Gary Geis School of Dance in Springfield, Ohio. She attended Stivers High School for the Arts in Dayton, Ohio, dancing under DeShona PepperRoberston in the dance magnet. She received the highest honor for Stivers Dance, the Jeraldyne Blunden Award, as a senior. Claire attended SUNY (State University of New York)-The College at Brockport and has performed various repertoire works by Doug Varone, Trisha Brown, and Tammy Carrasco/ Wild Beast Dance in various festivals in New York. She also studied abroad in Italy at FlorenceSummerDance under Monica Baroni. Other accolades in college include being a Green and Gold Ambassador, a 4x SUNYAC Pole Vault Champion, and graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance in 2019. Her choreography has been selected for multiple American College Dance Association Galas. Claire produced her first evening-length work titled “Convergent Pathways” as her undergraduate thesis. Her work has been selected for the Wake Forest Dance Festival, and she collaborated with T2 Dance Company’s Summer Virtual ChoreoFest and The Color Wheel Project. Claire’s film fleeing was selected and shown at Life in Motion: A Colorado Dance Film Festival. A current Denver resident, Claire dances for Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Stacey Temple Dance, acts as stage manager/dancer with Animus Movement, and is newly appointed Assistant Artistic Director for T2 Dance Company. Claire’s latest choreography with T2 Dance Company will be performed in Denver and Chicago in 2024.


Katharine Goeldner’s unique gifts have taken her to stages and concert platforms throughout the U.S. and Europe in an astonishing range of repertory. Katharine’s performances in recent seasons include Samson and Delilah (Delilah) at Virginia Opera; Das Rheingold (Fricka) at Minnesota Opera; Der Rosenkavalier (Annina) at The Metropolitan Opera; Salome (Herodias) with the Minnesota Orchestra, Tulsa Opera, and at Bard College; Eugene Onegin (Madam Larina) at the Santa Fe Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago; Die tote Stadt (Brigitta) in Toulouse; Le nozze di Figaro (Marcellina) at the Dutch National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s The Grapes of Wrath (Ma Joad) at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. She created the role of Jackie Onassis in JFK at Fort Worth Opera and later at Opéra de Montreal. An Iowa native, Katharine studied at Salzburg’s Mozarteum.

ALEXANDER GRANITO | Second Philistine

Alexander Granito is a baritone from Orange County, California. Alex earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in vocal performance at San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied under voice teacher Cesar Ulloa. While studying at the conservatory, Alex’s notable performances included Die Fledermaus (Dr. Eisenstein, Dr. Falke), L’amant anonym (Valcour), Ariadne auf Naxos (Music Master), and Mamelles de Tiresias (Le Gendarme, Le Directeur). Alex is honored to be an Opera Colorado Artist in Residence for the 2023-24 Season where he has the opportunity to work with a company committed to growing the audience of opera and investing in the growth of its artists. In the 2023-24 Season, Alex sang in the mainstage production of Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni cover/Student Matinee). Alex also performed in the company’s touring productions of The Elixir of Love (Belcore) and Cinderella (Dandini). He will return as an Artist in Residence for the 2024-25 Season and will sing in La bohème (Schaunard).

RACHAEL HARDING | Choreographer

For the past twenty-plus years, Rachael Harding has built her career around dance—as a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She received her B.F.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Arizona and a M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She began her professional career as a dancer in Denver’s Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. She is currently the resident choreographer for Denver’s professional jazz dance company, Davis Contemporary Dance Company, a performer with Nu-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, co-owner/ director of Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop, and owner/ director of Miss Rachael’s Dance in Denver, where she is inspired to share her passion for the arts with young dancers every day. She has had the distinct honor of dancing in past Opera Colorado productions, including Nixon in China, The Pearl Fishers, Rusalka, and Josephine, and choreographing for Rusalka, Aida, The Barber of Seville, Josephine, The Shining, and Die tote Stadt



RANDY HO | Philistine Messenger

Tenor Randy Ho is ecstatic to return to his hometown and join the Opera Colorado Artist in Residence program for the 2023-24 season, during which he has covered the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and been featured in the touring productions of The Elixir of Love (Nemorino) and Cinderella (Ramiro). Randy was grateful for the chance to share opera with more students in Denver and learn roles he has always dreamed of performing. During the 2022-23 Season, Randy was a Studio Artist at Pensacola Opera, where he performed in La bohème (Parpignol, Rodolfo cover) and Carousel (Enoch Snow). In the summer of 2023, Randy made his professional debut with Opera Saratoga in Don Pasquale (Ernesto). His favorite performances include La scala di seta (Dorvil), Hin und Zurück (Robert), Turn of the Screw (Peter Quint), Gianni Schicchi (Rinuccio), and Die Zauber flöte (Tamino). As a concert soloist, Randy has performed with The National Repertory Orchestra, Pensacola Choral Society, and The Denver Spirituals Project. Randy holds degrees from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University (M.M. in 2022) and the University of Denver (B.M. and B.S. in 2020).

J. ISADORA KRECH | Lighting Designer

J. Isadora Krech is a multimedia artist and activist working in light, image, text, and sound. Her designs have been seen on the Opera Colorado stage for over a decade, most recently lighting last season’s Turandot. She is currently working on an EP of songs related to the war on Gaza. She lives in Berlin, Germany where she is an active member in die Jüddische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost.


Henry Maximilian McCall was born and raised as the youngest of four boys in St. Louis, Missouri, where he started dancing at COCA. He studied at a series of schools, including the Ailey School Junior Division and Manhattan Youth Ballet, before graduating from Walnut Hill School for the Arts under Michael Owen. He then moved across the country to work and study at the Pacific Northwest Ballet in their Professional Division Program under Peter Boal. While there, he performed in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Kent Stowell’s

The Nutcracker, as well as working with choreographers such as Crystal Pite. Since then, he moved back across the country to graduate from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in the class of 2018. While in New York City, he spent time freelancing with various artists and companies including working as an apprentice with Ailey II. He danced with Wonderbound in Denver from 2018 to 2021. During his early years in Denver, he collaborated with Ben Youngstone on a performance for Leon Gallery. Since 2022, he has been dancing with Maureen Breeze Dance Theater, as well as performing with Central City Opera’s production of Kiss Me Kate and the Town Hall Arts Center’s All Shook Up.


Sydney McCall began her dance training at the Academy of Colorado Ballet under Elizabeth Shipiatsky. She spent her summers on scholarship to various intensives including American Ballet Theater, Kirov Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and Ballet West. Before leaving for college, she performed corps roles with Colorado Ballet in their renditions of Romeo and Juliet and The Nutcracker She then attended Texas Christian University to study ballet, which included choreographic and performance opportunities. She graduated cum laude with her B.F.A. in Ballet after premiering two works of her own and performing lead roles in Giselle, Paquita, Don Quixote, Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies restaged by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, and George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie restaged by Michele Gifford. She then moved to New York City where she danced with Arch Contemporary Ballet, and then premiered three new works with Golden Hour Dance. After moving back to Denver, Sydney worked with Wonderbound from 2019 to 2021 and has been dancing with Maureen Breeze Dance Theater from 2019 to the present.


Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Mckinzy studied with Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey under the direction of Tyrone Aiken. He is formally a company member of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. He worked with companies such as Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Nu-World Contemporary Dance Theatre, Tristian Griffin Dance Company, Colorado Ballet, Boulder Ballet, and Briah Danse. Some career highlights include premiering in Cleo Parker Robinson’s Lark Ascending as the lead male in collaboration with the Colorado Symphony. He has also performed in works by Donald McKayle such as Uprooted, Rubicon, and S ongs of the Disinherited.


SAHAR NOURI | Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor

Iranian pianist and conductor Sahar Nouri returns to Opera Colorado, serving as the company’s Chorus Master, Assistant Conductor, and Pianist Coach. Ms. Nouri is the Music Director of the Lamont Opera Theatre at the University of Denver. She is also the founder and director of Dandelion Opera Institute, a summer training program for young, talented opera singers, pianists, and conductors. Ms. Nouri continues to serve as guest coach/faculty with various organizations, including San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Opera North Carolina, and more. Previously, Ms. Nouri has been a member of the music staff at Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Utah Opera, Aspen Opera Center, Opera Parallèle, and Opera in the Heights. Her repertoire includes numerous classic operas as well as many world premieres, such as Prince of Players (Carlisle Floyd), O Columbia! (Gregory Spears), Steal a Pencil for Me (Gerald Cohen), and Today It Rains (Laura Kaminsky). Nouri has done studies in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria, and is frequently in demand as a language coach and recitalist.

RONELL OLIVERI | Wig and Makeup Designer

Ronell Oliveri has been designing wigs and makeup for opera, theater, ballet, and film for the past twenty years for such companies as Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Central City Opera, and The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. Currently, she is the resident wig and makeup designer for Opera Colorado and Opera Omaha. As a wig and makeup artist her professional credits include engagements with Chicago Lyric Opera, LA Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and Boston Ballet. She was a Prime Time Emmy nominee as key makeup artist for her work in television. Her work can also be seen in several Broadway shows including Wicked, All The Way, and Waitress. Recent engagements include Boston Lyric Opera’s Cavalleria rusticana, Opera Omaha’s Don Pasquale, and Central City Opera’s 2023 summer festival. Upcoming engagements include Opera Omaha’s The Last Dream of Frida and Diego, Pacific Symphony’s La bohème, and Opera Columbus’s Eugene Onegin

ARI PELTO | Opera Colorado Music Director and Conductor

Ari Pelto was appointed in 2015 as Opera Colorado’s first-ever music director. His “breathtaking wizardry in the pit” (The Denver Post) has been widely celebrated, with Pelto in demand at opera houses and concert halls throughout the United States. At the age of twenty four, Pelto was appointed Assistant Conductor at the Spoleto Festival, and he has since gone on to conduct worldwide. International engagements include performances with Bochumer Philharmoniker and opera productions at New National Theatre of Tokyo and the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. In 2004, he made his highly-praised debut with New York City Opera, conducting La traviata, after which he became a regular, returning for productions of Madame Butterfly, La bohème, and Carmen. Recent successes include performances of The Nutcracker with Atlanta Ballet and The Flying Dutchman with Utah Opera.

FRANCES RABALAIS | Fight and Intimacy Director

Frances Rabalais is an opera director, intimacy and fight specialist, and educator, known for bringing intensely evocative style to classic operatic repertoire and new opera works alike. With training in stage combat and dramatic intimacy, she brings a unique constellation of skills that results in operas that are fulfilling for the performers as well as the audience. She is delighted to be back in Denver and working on her fourth production with Opera Colorado. Recent directing credits include Tosca for Madison Opera, Macbeth for Resonance Works, and Hansel and Gretel for Opera Birmingham. She has also directed productions for Pensacola Opera, North Carolina Opera, New Orleans Opera, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Opera Omaha, Tri-Cities Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera. She has been an assistant at Houston Grand Opera, Opera Colorado, Washington National Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. Ms. Rabalais is a certified Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors in three weapons and theatrical firearms, and the predominance of her formal training in intimacy work is through Intimacy Directors & Choreographers. Upcoming engagements include directing her first film (based on Cecilia Livingston’s art song Penelope), serving as Intimacy Director on Street Scene and Acting Instructor for Central City Opera, and directing a new production of Maria de Buenos Aires with Madison Opera.




Turner Staton (bass-baritone) is a native of Kansas City, Missouri. His degrees include an Artists Diploma from William Jewell College, a master’s from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and a bachelor’s from Pepperdine University. In 2022, Turner finished his tenure as an Apprentice Artist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City where he performed in Amahl and the Night Visitors, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, and Tosca, and was featured in the premiere of Baseball: a Musical Love Letter. In Opera Colorado’s 40th Anniversary Season, Turner appeared in the mainstage production of Rigoletto (Ceprano, Monterrone cover), and in the touring productions of The Pirates of Penzance (Pirate King) and Romeo & Juliet (Capulet/Tybalt). Additional performance credits include Le nozze di Figaro (Figaro), Così fan tutte (Don Alfonso), La Calisto (Mercurio), and Petite messe solennelle. Festivals include Opera Saratoga as a 2022 Festival Artist and Tanglewood Music Festival as a 2020, and 2021 Vocal Fellow. Turner was elated to return to Opera Colorado for his second season as a 2023-24 Artist in Residence and was featured in the mainstage production of Don Giovanni (Masetto/ Leporello cover) and touring productions of The Elixir of Love (Dulcamara) and Cinderella (Alidoro/Don Magnifico).


Born and raised in the Midwest, Keturah Stickann had a career as a classical and contemporary dancer, performing extensively in opera. Subsequently, her work as a stage director has been seen in many opera houses across the United States and Canada, as well as in Chile, Japan, France, Germany, Hungary, and Australia. A champion of new American opera, she has worked extensively with director and librettist, Leonard Foglia, and has helped to bring new operas to the stage by Ricky Ian Gordon, Jennifer Higdon, and Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer, among others. In a creative solution for COVID-19, some of her more recent productions include the drive-in versions of La bohème and The Barber of Seville for San Diego Opera. Recent productions include Salome at Madison Opera, Don Giovanni at Minnesota Opera, and Norma at Palm Beach Opera. Coming up, Keturah will direct Hansel & Gretel at Chautauqua Opera, and help bring Moby-Dick to the Metropolitan Opera as the Movement Director and Choreographer. Keturah is the Artistic Advisor for Knoxville Opera.


Follow these easy steps:

Prior to the performance, the screen will automatically display a sponsored message. When singing begins, briefly press the red button to activate subtitles.

• Press once for English.

• Press twice for Spanish.

• Press three times to turn titles off.

Then, simply repeat these steps after intermission.

Pressing the red button too many times or holding the button down may result in a system failure. If you experience difficulty with the system, please contact an usher for assistance. Opera Colorado does not offer refunds or exchanges in the event of a subtitle system failure.

Please Note: All Sunday matinee performances offer audio description for the visually impaired. Headsets are available at Coat Check.

English subtitles are written by Jeremy Sortore. Spanish translations by Gina Razón


JOSHUA ZABATTA | First Philistine

Joshua Zabatta never imagined that singing while driving a tractor on the Montana farm where he grew up would eventually lead to a promising music career. Since emerging onto the professional scene, Mr. Zabatta has been praised for his dynamic storytelling and his full, warm voice described by audiences as “audible chocolate.” Mr. Zabatta quickly received acclaim as a “terrific soloist” by Sarah Bryan Miller of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after singing engagements with the Bach Society of St. Louis. In addition to his multiple appearances with the Bach Society and Union Avenue Opera, Joshua Zabatta served as a soloist in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck with the St. Louis Symphony under the baton of David Robertson. After relocating to Colorado, Mr. Zabatta made his debut with Opera Colorado singing in La Fanciulla del West (Harry). Opera appearances in the area include Carmen (Don José) and Goyescas (Fernando) with Boulder Opera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Harlekin and Ein Soldat) with People’s Theatre of Denver, Cendrillon (Count Barigoule) with Loveland Opera, and Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World (Eduardo Jr. and Mr. Xoloti) with Opera Steamboat and Central City Opera. An avid music education advocate, Mr. Zabatta mentors dozens of students nationwide. He currently serves as Vice President (Programs) for the Denver Area Music Teachers Association as well as a touring and teaching artist with Central City Opera.


French-American bass Christian Zaremba, hailed for “stealing the evening” (The Washington Post) and being “ideally cast as the assassin Sparafucile, emerging from the shadows with his seething bass-baritone,” is equally at home under lights of an operatic drama and concert stage. In the 2022-23 Season, Mr. Zaremba made debuts with Opera Colorado in Rigoletto (Monterone and Sparafucile), Seattle Opera in La traviata (Marchese d’Obigny), and with Bard Festival in Saint-Saëns’s Henry VIII (“Le Legat” Campeggio). In the 2021-22 Season, Mr. Zaremba debuted the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with Austin Opera, made company debuts with L’Opéra de Montréal and Des Moines Metro Opera in The Magic Flute (Sarastro), Berkshire Opera Festival in Don Giovanni (Leporello), and La bohème (Colline) with New Orleans Opera. In Europe, he sang in The Magic Flute (Sarastro) with the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, and, in concert, Verdi’s Requiem with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra and Taneyev’s At the Reading of a Psalm with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.


Siga estos sencillos pasos:

Antes de la actuación, la pantalla mostrará automáticamente un mensaje patrocinado. Cuando comience a cantar, presione brevemente el botón rojo para activar los subtítulos.

• Presione una vez para inglés.

• Presione dos veces para español.

• Presione tres veces para desactivar los títulos.

Luego, simplemente repita estos pasos después del intermedio.

Presionar el botón rojo demasiadas veces o mantener presionado el botón puede provocar una falla del sistema. Si tiene dificultades con el sistema, comuníquese con un ujier para obtener ayuda.

Opera Colorado no ofrece reembolsos ni cambios en caso de falla del sistema de subtítulos.

Tenga en cuenta: todas las funciones matinales del domingo ofrecen audiodescripción para personas con discapacidad visual. Los auriculares están disponibles en Coat Check.

Los subtítulos en inglés están escritos por Jeremy Sortore. Las traducciones al español son de Gina Razón.



The Opera Colorado Chorus Chorus Master & Assistant Conductor Sahar Nouri Music Director Ari Pelto Resident Stage Manager Kendra Green Stage Director Keturah Stickann

Being a former dancer and sometimes choreographer, I love the marriage of dance and vocal fireworks that French opera offers. Movement’s marriage to music is a huge part of the storytelling. I find it irresistible when you pair dance with sumptuous vocals. I think that’s why I was drawn to French repertoire from the very beginning of my career. Of course, Samson and Delilah has one of the most famous dances in the operatic repertoire: the Bacchanale in act three. Still, there is also a sensuous ballet in act one, and even Delilah’s most famous aria, “Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix,” carries a sinewy balletic line.

In Saint-Saëns’s time, people expressed alarm at a biblical subject on the stage. I love telling biblical stories because, like all great operas, they carry heightened versions of the emotions and humanity we hold in our hearts today. Samson, by all accounts, is a superhero, killing a lion with his bare hands, and mowing down thousands of his enemies with nothing but the jawbone of a donkey. He wants nothing but to carry his people to freedom and glory, but he has a weakness in his love for Delilah.

Delilah is a woman often portrayed as treacherous and evil who, for me, is doing the same thing as Samson: using her strengths to save her people from a sworn enemy. This is the crux of the human race. We are all so similar in our desires and humanness, yet finding reasons to hate each other inevitably tears us apart. What could have happened had the story of Samson and Delilah been simply about their love?

It takes a village to tell a story like this, and Opera Colorado has given me a great one. I’d like to point out two women who are walking through this fire with me. Rachael Harding is my choreographer of the two dances. As a choreographer myself, having someone who can put their energy into two incredible feats of dance while I concentrate on the direction is a luxury.


I also love collaborating on storytelling while speaking in “dance speak.” Frances Rabalais is my Fight and Intimacy Director and Assistant Director. She is there to cross my “t’s” and dot my “i’s” which is amazing enough. But her input into the intimate sequences only adds to the power of the story. I am thankful to these two women for standing on both sides of me, and to the entire team for bringing this powerful piece to life.


is sponsored by

Music Director Ari Pelto is sponsored by Mike & Julie Bock.

The orchestra for Samson and Delilah is sponsored by The Divine Family

Photography is allowed in the lobby before the performance. We encourage you to share any photos you take with us on our social media.

Photography and video are not permitted during the performance.

We honor and acknowledge that we are on the traditional territories and ancestral homelands of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations. We acknowledge the land and history of this space we are fortunate to gather in today.





Susan Kerbs Townsend, Principal

Elizabeth Sadilek-Labenski

Olga Shilaeva


Sarah Bierhaus, Principal

Max Soto

Amy Kolb


Anna Brumbaugh, Principal

Heidi Mendenhall

Linda Shea


Charles Hansen, Principal

JJ Sechan

Kyle Sneden


Michael Yopp, Principal

Lauren Varley

Devon Park

Daniel Skib


Leslie Scarpino, principal

Colin J.A. Oldberg

Ryan Gardner

Sophie Urban


Bron Wright, Principal

Andy Wolfe

Jeremy Van Hoy


Patrick Young, Principal


Janet Harriman, Principal


Peter Cooper, Principal


Mark Foster, Principal

Carl Dixon

Nena Lorenz Wright

Michael Tetreault


Byron A. Hitchcock, Concertmaster

Zachary Ragent, Principal


Jackson Bailey

Michelle Davis

Evan De Long

Angela Dombrowski

Margaret Soper Gutierrez

Robyn Julyan

Regan Kane

Christine Menter

Susie Peek

Felix Petit

Veronica Sawarynski

Takanori Sugishita

Robyn Sosa

Benjamin Tomkins

Leena Waite

Tori Woodrow


Matthew Dane, Principal

Matthew Diekman

Margaret Dyer Harris

Mary Harrison

Sarah Richardson

Lora Stevens


Andrew Kolb, Principal

Becky Kutz Osterberg

Erin Patterson

David Short

Jeff Watson

Eleanor Wells


David Crowe, Principal

Jeremy Nicholas

Jason Thompson

Yu-Chen Yang



Frannie Barrows

Courtney Caston

Maria Fabara

Rebecca Greenawalt

Alyssa Jackson

Sarah Kochevar

Kayla Kramer

Stephanie Medema

Anna McMahon

Madison Williams


Elizabeth Gangware

Maura Grace

Mia Kopera

Bella Mallow

Ellen Moeller

Jessica Muniz

Jill Skinner

Caroline Vickstrom

Blair Whiteside


Lorenzo Granado

Alexis Haro

Alejandro Izurieta

Jack Richard

Norman Spivy

Joey Taczak

Luke Thatcher

Keith Williamson

Joshua Zabatta


Zachary Biggs

Shane Delavan

Michele Di Nuovo

Michael Hansen

Chris Lilley

Jacob Miller

Luke North

Jerome Sibulo


Eric Bard

Scott Bates

Dave Lewis Jr.

Tomás Martinez

Alessio Pelto



Kendra Green, Stage Manager

Frances Rabalais, Assistant Director

Colleen Kane, Assistant Stage Manager

Natalie Main, Assistant Stage Manager


Beth Nielson, Chorus Music

Rehearsal Accompanist

Damien Krzyzek, Chorus Music Rehearsal Accompanist

Cody Garrison, Chorus Music Rehearsal Accompanist

Oleg Bellini, Resident Collaborative Pianist

Angie Dombrowski, Orchestra Manager

Elle Wells , Orchestra Librarian


Jon Dunkle, Assistant Lighting Designer


Beth Nielsen, Title Operator: In-Seat

Benjamin Swain, Title Operator: Over-Stage

Jeremy Sortore, English subtitles

Gina Razón, Spanish translations


Michael Wingfield, Technical Director

Amanda Short, Assistant Electrician

Dave Youngs, Shop/Production Carpenter

Greg Killpack, Assistant Carpenter

Hillary Clark, Head Property Master

Jeff Riedel, Head Flyman/ Rigger

Isis Harrington, Lighting Console Programmer

Keven Soll, Assistant Properties


Michael Boswell, Head Carpenter

Rita Richardson, Head Electrician

Thomas Berning, Head Audio Engineer

John Adams, Production Purchasing Agent


Alison Milan, Costume Director

Madison Booth, Costume Coordinator

Amanda Bouza, Stitcher

Andy Bruening, Stitcher

Domino Douglas, Craftsperson/ Stitcher

Celeste Fenton, First Hand

Ted Stark, Draper/Tailor

Elizabeth Woods, First Hand

Sarah Zinn, Draper/Tailor


Carolyn Miller, Wardrobe Supervisor

Elizabeth Woods, Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor

Amanda Bouza, Dresser

Domino Douglas, Dresser

Jane Rusk, Dresser

Sara Rutherford, Dresser

Ann Piano, Dresser

Amanda Walsh, Dresser

Valerie Amburn, Volunteer Dresser

Leslie Cady, Volunteer Dresser

Vicky Gits, Volunteer Dresser

Kathy Heider, Volunteer Dresser

Jan Heimer, Volunteer Dresser


Lisa Pedraza, Assistant Wigs and Makeup Coordinator

Jenny Hager, Wigs and Makeup

Principal Assistant

Shallah Perlman, Wigs and Makeup Assistant

Whitney Wolanin, Wigs and Makeup Assistant


Derek Tovar, Props Head

Dave Wilson, Electrics Head

Allen Olmstead, Head Carpenter

Francisco Mara, Sound Head’


Jeff Brown

Thomas Gaffney

Robert Kahn

Dino Maniatis

Kevin O’Connor

DENVER LYRIC OPERA GUILD Colorado's oldest volunteer organization supporting university opera programs and opera companies. Membership includes Opera Luncheons Educational Programs Membership dues and donations are tax deductible Collegiate Grants Colorado State University Metropolitan State University University of Colorado at Boulder University of Denver University of Northern Colorado Young Artists Program Grants Central City Opera Opera Colorado Opera Fort Collins Opera Theatre of the Rockies We invite you to join us! Giving Voice to Opera OUR PROFESSIONALLY JURIED COMPETITION FOR COLORADO SINGERS HAS AWARDED YOUNG COLORADO OPERA SINGERS OVER $1 MILLION IN PRIZE MONEY SINCE 1984 LEARN MORE BY VISITING US ONLINE: www.denverlyricoperaguild.org




MAJ Dino G. Maniatis & Dr. Kristin A. Freestone










*As of April 9, 2024

Adams Dr. Larry Chan Elizabeth Caswell Dyer Agatha Kessler
Dr. Stacy Fischer Maron Hindman Kelly Ann Hodges Richard Koseff Barbara Laff Wendy Pelto Linda Weise
Maniatis Families Curtis Fentress & Agatha Kessler Fentress
V. Baldwin Emily & Mark Bussey and Davis, Graham & Stubbs Drs. Laurence & Cynthia Chan Mary & Tom Conroy Dr. Stacy Fischer & Dr. Henry Fischer Joseph & Edie Fogliano Hasan Legal Maron & Don Hindman Chip Horne & Dr. Jan Kennaugh Richard Koseff and Richard Garvin The Honorable Kenneth Laff & Mrs. Barbara Laff Prem & Stephanie Subramanian Dr. Valerie M. Wassill & Kevin Rudolph Linda Weise
Adams B. Edward Balkin Kevin O’Connor & Janet Raasch Ann & Gerry Saul
Ken and Donna Barrow
Saturday, May 11, 2024


The Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Program is sponsored by Ken & Donna Barrow, with additional support from Patrick Spieles and the late Dr. Stephen L. Dilts

Kerby Baier is sponsored by Joyce de Roos and Donald K. Braden

Saane Halaholo is sponsored by Ken & Barbara Laff and Laurence & Cynthia Chan

Melanie Dubil is sponsored by Joy & Chris Dinsdale

Randy Ho is sponsored by Jason & Nathaly Ambos and Richard Garvin

Alexander Granito is sponsored by Robin & Eric Yaeger

Turner Staton is sponsored by Gayle & Gary Landis

Cherity Koepke, Director of the Artist in Residence Program

Oleg Bellini, Resident Collaborative Pianist

Daniel Belcher, Voice Teacher

Nathan Salazar, Principal Repertoire Coach


Design/Build Landscape Architecture and Construction 303.750.6060 PhaseOneLandscapes.com email@phaseonelandscapes.com Outdoor spaces where people live and play...




Touring productions are the perfect introduction to opera for your students. These abridged, hour-long operas are sung in English. Students and community groups experience a fully-staged production with costumes, props, and sets, all followed by a Q&A with the Artists in Residence.

Barber of Seville | Oct. - May | 2024-25

Barber by day, matchmaker by night, Figaro puts his charm to work as he helps Count Almaviva woo the beautiful Rosina. Filled with some of opera’s most famous tunes, this is a comedy not to miss!

Hansel and Gretel | Jan. - May | 2025


Stranded in the Magic Forest, things look “Grimm” indeed for Hansel and Gretel. They encounter everything from a magical Sandman to a witch with a sweet tooth who really likes kids—well-done, that is!

Opera Colorado’s education programs provide communities throughout the state with access to the arts, bringing the magic of opera to schools and communities across Colorado.

Our education programs serve over 40,000 students and life-long learners. The 2023-24 Season includes over 30 opera education performances and workshops for mountain and plains communities, libraries, senior groups, and schools serving children and adults with disabilities.


Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment | Nov. 14 | 2024

Orphaned Marie is raised in the camaraderie of the French regiment until a wealthy woman, claiming to be her aunt, takes her away to become a proper lady. Where will Marie’s loyalties lie?

Performed in French.


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JUNE 22 - AUGUST 10, 2024

Elements of Nature

JULY 19/20


Michael Stern, conductor

Jon Kimura Parker, piano


Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 “Pastorale”

George Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue

Franz Liszt Les Préludes, S.97 Poème symphonique No. 3



Tickets: $5-55


Tickets: $5-75

Tickets on sale April 1st!

Special Concert: Beethoven’s Pastorale


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Music Director Ari Pelto is sponsored by Mike & Julie Bock

The Orchestra for Samson & Delilah is sponsored by The Divine Family


Opera Colorado’s Education & Community Engagement Programs are made possible through the generous support of the following donors:

Pamela Beardsley

Denver Lyric Opera Guild

Sidney E. Frank Foundation –Colorado Fund

Genesee Mountain Foundation

Marilyn Munsterman

Scientific and Cultural Facilities District

Galen & Ada Belle Spencer Foundation

Carol Whitley

Melvin & Elaine Wolf Foundation

The 2023-24 Opera on Tour productions of Cinderella and Elixir of Love and the Student Matinee of Don Giovanni are sponsored by the Genesee Mountain Foundation.


The Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Program is sponsored by Ken & Donna Barrow, with additional support from Patrick Spieles, and the late Dr. Stephen L. Dilts.

Kerby Baier is sponsored by Joyce de Roos and Donald K. Braden

Saane Halaholo is sponsored by Ken & Barbara Laff and Laurence & Cynthia Chan

Melanie Dubil is sponsored by Joy & Chris Dinsdale

Randy Ho is sponsored by Jason & Nathaly Ambos and Richard Garvin

Alexander Granito is sponsored by Robin & Eric Yaeger

Turner Staton is sponsored by Gayle & Gary Landis


Opera Colorado recognizes the following organizations for their generous support:

Official Artist Housing Partner


Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our donor lists. However, if your name is incorrectly listed, please accept our sincere apologies and contact Sara Buhr at 303-468-2027.


As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity of donors in our community. With your support, we can fulfill our mission to connect our Colorado community to the emotions and stories of the world through traditional and innovative opera and educational programming that is accessible to all.

Your donation this season honors our legacy and builds a bright future for decades to come.


• PRESENT high-quality opera experiences that reflect the multicultural fabric of our community

• SERVE over 45,000 patrons every year

• DEVELOP audiences by introducing children (and adults!) to their first opera experience

• TRAIN the next generation of opera performers through our Artist in Residence Program


ONLINE: operacolorado.org/support BY PHONE: 303.468.2060

MAIL A CHECK TO: Opera Colorado 4121 S Navajo St, Ste 100 Englewood, CO 80110

For questions, please contact Opera Colorado’s Development team at development@operacolorado.org or 303.468.2060.



As the cost of producing opera continues to rise, your generous support ensures that Opera Colorado can maintain the artistic excellence you’ve come to love. To sustain the exceptional quality of three mainstage productions and bring you even more unforgettable moments, we are modestly increasing our donation levels. Join us in preserving the magic of opera for years to come.


MEMBER $100 $150-$399

• Your name listed in mainstage season program books

• Closer to the Art emails before each mainstage production to gain behind-the-scenes insight and learn something new about Opera Colorado

• Exclusive pre-sale opportunities to ticketed events throughout the season


$300-$599 $400-$699

All previous benefits, plus:

• Invitation to an exclusive backstage tour of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House where you will peek into dressing rooms, step on stage, and explore all this historic building entails

• Special access to Artists in Conversation events, where you will learn more about upcoming productions from the artists themselves


$600-$1,199 $700-$1,499

All previous benefits, plus:

• Access to the Chambers Grant Salon Donor Recognition Lounge and complimentary prosecco during intermission

• Complimentary admission to select Artist in Residence concerts

• Complimentary admission, and discounted guest admission, to Sitzprobe Event and Rehearsal




All previous benefits, plus:

• Invitation to a private masterclass with a leading industry artist and members of the Artists in Residence program

• Continental breakfast conversation with the director and/or designer of one of the mainstage productions, followed by a rehearsal in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House




All previous benefits, plus:

• Invitation to a Sitzprobe Rehearsal and Dessert Reception

• Invitation to the Meet the Maestro event, with Opera Colorado’s Music Director, Ari Pelto




All previous benefits, plus:

• Complimentary parking for your Opera Colorado mainstage performances

• Invitation for two to final dress rehearsals of Opera Colorado mainstage productions


AMBASSADOR $11,000-$24,999 $12,000-$24,999

All previous benefits, plus:

• Invitation to a private cocktail reception with The Ellie Caulkins General & Artistic Director, Greg Carpenter, followed by a run-through rehearsal of a mainstage production

• Private curated tour of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for you and your guests

BENEFACTOR $25,000-$49,999

All previous benefits, plus:

• Invitation to an intimate dinner with Opera Colorado’s Music Director and General & Artistic Director

• Behind-the-scenes access to rehearsals at the Opera Colorado Opera Center

VISIONARY $50,000+

All previous benefits, plus:

• Private concert in your home or other chosen location

Contact our Development Team at 303.468.2027 or development@operacolorado.org.

PHOTO Opera Colorado/Jamie Kraus




Greg Carpenter, The Ellie Caulkins

General & Artistic Director

Ari Pelto, Music Director


Jennifer Colgan, Director of Marketing & Communications

Tom Kirkpatrick, Chief Financial Officer

Cherity Koepke, Director of Education & Community Engagement, Director of Opera Colorado’s Artist in Residence Program

Jordanna Rose, Director of Artistic Operations

Erin Wenzel, Director of Development


Sara Buhr, Associate Director of Development

Samantha Cantu, Patron Services Manager

Clair Clauson, HR Manager

Angelica DiIorio, Marketing Manager, Advertising & Content

Kendra Green, Resident Stage Manager

Megan Immerfall, Bookkeeper

Ben Karasik, Production Manager

Robin Lander, Patron Services & Office Coordinator

Kassandra Mestemaker, Education & Community Engagement Manager

Alison Milan, Costume Director

Laura Norton, Digital Marketing Manager

Jocelyn Watson, Individual Giving & Donor Events Manager


Sahar Nouri, Chorus Master & Assistant Conductor

Nathan Salazar, Principal Repertoire Coach

Cody Guy Garrison, Chorus Repetiteur

Daniel Belcher, Artist in Residence Program Voice Teacher

Oleg Bellini, Resident Collaborative Pianist


Kerby Baier, soprano

Saane Halaholo, soprano

Melanie Dubil, mezzo-soprano

Randy Ho, tenor

Alexander Granito, baritone

Turner Staton, bass-baritone



Richard Koseff, Chair

Chevis F. (Chip) Horne, President

Dr. Laurence K. Chan, Vice President

Judy LaSpada, Vice President

Prem S. Subramanian, MD, PhD,


Mark Bussey, Treasurer

Elizabeth Caswell Dyer, Chair Emeritus


Jeff V. Baldwin

Edward Balkin

Eleanor N. Caulkins, Lifetime

Honorary Chair

Joseph Fogliano

Maria Garcia Berry

Richard Garvin

Mark Heiser, Ex-Officio

Don Hindman

Kelly Ann Hodges

Dr. Susan Rae Jensen

Laurence D. Kaptain, Ex-Officio

Hon. Kenneth Laff

Jim Linfield

MAJ. Konstantinos (Dino) G. Maniatis

William N. Maniatis, MD

Dr. John Masserini, Ex-Officio

Kevin O’Connor

The Honorable Jon J. Olafson

Ronald Otsuka

Marcia Robinson, Lifetime Honorary


Keith Ward, Ex-Officio

Valerie M. Wassill, MD

Linda Weise, Ex-Officio

Daniel G. Welch

Diane Wengler

Robin Kolsky Yaeger


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Mary French Moore

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Martha Tracey


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Shae Rajewich

Donna Ries

Grover Sardeson

Lori Stevens

Kathryn Wallisch

Marianne Weingroff

Matthew Wolchak


Angie Flachman Johnson, Publisher

Stacey Krull, Art Director

Wilbur E. Flachman, President Emeritus


303.428.9529 or ColoradoArtsPub.com


Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Opera Colorado Opera Center 4121 S Navajo St, Ste 100 Englewood, CO 80110 303.778.1500 info@operacolorado.org


Monday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. 303.468.2030 customerservice@operacolorado.org operacolorado.org

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