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Monday, July 26, 2010

2010 Summer Performing Arts Intensive

It's been a whirlwind weekend up here in Central City. Colorado Springs Conservatory partnered with Central City Opera for the seventh Summer Performing Arts Intensive, bringing fourteen talented high school students to Central City for the weekend. The kids had been working for two weeks on a program of scenes and songs and their own original opera based on the life of Colorado native Antoinette Perry, Broadway actress, producer and namesake of the Tony Awards. The students came from around the country to spend those two weeks in Colorado Springs, culminating in a weekend of opera and performance right here in Central City.

They arrived last Wednesday and were greeted with a sandwich supper with company members. The students got to interact with some of the artists and staff members and ask questions, and it was lovely to talk to a group of such bright, interested students. They had seen Three Decembers before dinner, and they were all delighted to have Decembers stars Emily Pulley and Keith Phares to talk to. Other company members shared their wisdom as well, and as a student myself, I was thrilled to be able to hear their advice and watch them interact so warmly with the Summer Intensive students.

That, however, was just the beginning. The students got to see all three operas over the weekend, as well as some festival extras. In the midst of it all, they attended classes with CCO Musical Director John Baril and Artistic Director Emeritus John Moriarty, and they rehearsed for their performances, which took place Friday and Saturday night. I had the pleasure of attending Friday night's performance. I was touched and thrilled by what I saw. The performance consisted of a scenes program called Through the Eyes of a Child and an original opera, Toni: The Story of Antoinette Perry. The whole scene program was entertaining, but my favorite parts were the songs and monologues from the famous musical A Chorus Line. I sang in A Chorus Line when I was in high school, and I have a lot of wonderful memories that revolve around that show. The sections from it in the scenes program took me back. It was awesome.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes program, what I was really impressed with was the opera. Toni was entertaining, informative, and well written. The music was catchy and the performances were compelling. And while it perhaps bore more resemblance to musical theatre than it did to opera, I can't fault anyone for that; I enjoyed it too much.

It was also such a great pleasure to have high school kids around who were so enthusiastic about opera and theatre and so excited to be here! Opera generally has an older audience, so I'm always excited when I see one young person in the audience. It was inspiring to have 14 of them here.

Thanks to the hard work of everyone at the Colorado Springs Conservatory and here in CCO's education department and otherwise for their hard work in making this happen. It was a lovely weekend!

The Performing Arts Intensive is open to students ages 14-19.  Auditions for the 2011 Intensive will be held in the fall.  Visit or for more information.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos! Hope the students see your blog.