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Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun with the Habanera from CARMEN

Around the office, we already have the Habanera from Carmen (one of our 2011 productions) stuck in our head.  It's that tune you've heard countless times in tv and film, including a Bertolli's pasta commercial.  Think about this:  music from a French opera, set in Spain, to sell Italian pasta!

Well, today we turn to Jim Henson's loveable creations to bring us two favorite video clips of the Habanera. First, up is a classic Sesame Street clip:

And for our finale today, we bring you the Swedish Chef, Beaker, and Animal from the Muppets.  Trust me, this will be the one that gets stuck in your don't need to know the original lyrics, just "Bork" and "Meep" along!

Look forward to our production of Carmen in 2011!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Central City Elks Lodge Clock

While roaming the internet, I came across an interesting tidbit about the Elks Lodge in Central City, CO. Did you notice that the time is "stuck" at eleven o'clock? This wasn't an accident!

A picture of the clock was recently placed on (displayed below):
The description said, "This beautiful Elks Lodge building features a clock in the upper decorative story. The clock may not even have an actual clockworks since the Elks set their clocks to 11:00 [p.m.] in honor of the traditional toast." This was certainly a tradition I'd never heard of, so I followed the additional links provided which included another photo on with some history of the Central City Elks (pictured below)
and a historical link on the Elks website.

According to these two websites, the Central City lodge was organized in 1900 and purchased this building on Main Street in 1902. The lodge brought home many honors from the state Elks convention in Denver in 1906. Membership rates have varied over the years, with highs from mining booms and the building of the Moffat Tunnel and lows as a result of the 1918 flu epidemic and various difficult economic times.

As for the clock stuck at 11:00, there is an Elks traditional toast at that time, which harkens back to a curfew established after the Battle of Hastings when all fires had to be extinguishing at eleven o'clock. It began to be considered a somber time and gave rise to phrases like someone being on their deathbed in the "eleventh hour." Throughout the years various groups began using this time of night to honor those that had passed, which you can read more about on the Elks website. Some time in the early 1900s, the Elks adopted a "fixed and official" Eleven O'Clock Toast.

You have heard the tolling of 11 strokes.
This is to remind us that with Elks, the hour of 11 has a tender significance.
Wherever Elks may roam, whatever their lot in life may be, when this hour falls upon the dial of night, the great heart of Elkdom swells and throbs.
It is the golden hour of recollection, the homecoming of those who wander, the mystic roll call of those who will come no more.
Living or dead, Elks are never forgotten, never forsaken.
Morning and noon may pass them by, the light of day sink heedlessly in the West, but ere the shadows of midnight shall fall, the chimes of memory will be pealing forth the friendly message,
"To our absent members."

You can find several more Eleven O'Clock Toasts on the same Elks website.

Look for this and other great historical buildings the next time you head to Central City!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Closing of the 2010 Festival

Well, loyal readers, it looks like it's that time. The 2010 Central City Opera Festival has officially closed, and all of our artists and designers are leaving Central City in search of new adventures. The Festival Staff remains behind to clean, consolidate information, and just generally wrap things up. It's been a wonderful festival, and it'll be bittersweet to leave it behind!

I must admit that I started the summer unsure how to feel about opera, as my background is in theatre and my experience has previously been limited to my mother's collection of opera recordings. Now, however, I'll leave Central City with a new appreciation for opera and for the people who make it possible. I am grateful to my fellow Festival Staffers,

the music staff,

the designers and technicians,

the directing staff,
the members of our wonderful casts,

and all of the other hard working people who helped put Madama Butterfly, Orpheus in the Underworld, and Three Decembers on stage for audiences to see.

Photo by Mark Kiryluk.

I learned a lot and had a lot of fun, and I hope you guys did too!

Happy Closing from the 2010 Company. Central City Opera looks forward to seeing you when the yellow roses bloom again in 2011.

Photo by Mark Kiryluk.