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Friday, December 16, 2011

Rodgers and Hammerstein at Christmas

Composer Richard Rodgers
pictured in the December 29, 1952
issue of Life
As December 25th approaches, you can’t help but hear Christmas music and wintery tunes in stores and on the radio.

Rodgers and Hammerstein, the musical partners who wrote Oklahoma!, have a tune that’s often heard these days – the classic “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

While the song has no mention of Christmas or gift giving (other than mentioning brown paper packages), somehow this musical favorite has become acceptable as a holiday carol. Certainly the lyrics of warm woolen mittens, sleighbells, snowflakes and silvery white winters fit the season – but it’s not exactly a yuletide song. I suppose you could say that people are listing their “favorite things” that money can’t necessarily buy. However, for many years there have been traditional television broadcasts of the classic Julie Andrews movie during the Christmas and Easter seasons. I certainly remember it on a black and white screen in my grandparents’ basement while we of the younger set played a cutthroat game of Hi Ho! Cherry-O on the floor. Perhaps this song is just ingrained in our subconscious feel-good memories of the holidays?

I have learned this week that Rodgers and Hammerstein actually did write their very own Christmas carol. In the spring of 1952, Life magazine commissioned a yuletide song from the duo, published under the title “Happy Christmas, Little Friend” in the December 29th issue later that year.
From the article in Life
The article featured complete lyrics and music, as well as an article on the creation of the song. [Read the article here in a Google Book search.] In the same working style they used on projects like Oklahoma!, Hammerstein tackled the song first, writing a complete set of lyrics - in the middle of the summer, no less - before handing the words over to Rodgers to compose the music. Incidentally, the fee for writing the song inaugurated the Rodgers & Hammerstein Foundation which served to provide training for young musical theatre artists.
Rosemary Clooney sings "Happy Christmas, Little Friend" as shown in this picture from a follow-up article in Life.

The song was never incredibly popular, though it was recorded by Rosemary Clooney and became the official song for the National Tuberculosis Association’s Christmas Seal campaign. There doesn’t appear to be a single YouTube entry for the song, but you can hear brief audio samples on the Rodgers and Hammerstein website.

Check out this Rodgers & Hammerstein tune for your holiday listening…and get ready to tap your toes to the memorable Oklahoma! this summer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gorgeous Homes & Holiday Shopping Benefiting Central City Opera

The following blog post is from the co-chairs of this year's L'Esprit de Noël Holiday Home Tour, Pam Bansbach and Brooke Maloy.

Join the Central City Opera Guild in celebrating the season with the 35th Annual L’Esprit de Noël Holiday Home Tour and Boutique. L’Esprit de Noël rings in the holiday spirit when this well-loved historic home tour returns to Capitol Hill’s Historic Morgan District November 18th and 19th.  The Morgan District is a hidden gem encompassing roughly three blocks just south of Denver Botanic Gardens.  Five historically significant and meticulously maintained homes will be on display and will feature some of Denver’s top florists and table designers. 

Nearly all of the florists and table designers have participated in past L’Esprit events, with the exception of Encore Style, making its debut to the event this year as both the florist and table designer for Home #2.  Last year’s floral and table designer winners (The Plum Gallery and Patina) will be featured in Home #1.  In addition, Wild Flowers, The Lark, HMK Designs, Bouquets, and Villa Home and Gifts (previously International Villa) will all decorate each of these homes bringing out the best of the season.  

House #1

House #2

These stately homes of the past are rich in historic architecture and represent the solid construction and cultural dynamism of the roaring 1920s.  The introduction of new technologies like a central vacuum system and providing a “home” for the automobile were incorporated into these magnificent residencies.  While all of the featured homes on the tour where built around the same time, each are unique in their form and presence.

House #5
L’Esprit also offers a fabulous boutique, free to the general public, located this year in the prestigious Cherry Creek North shopping district at 105 Fillmore Street in a vacant store space next to Hermes.  The Boutique is open from 10:00am until 4:30pm daily during the Tour dates.  A variety of vendors offer unique items, including gifts, clothing and jewelry.  Shoppers can easily get a jump on their holiday gift buying, while supporting Central City Opera. 

Tickets for the Tour are $18 in advance and may be purchased at all area King Soopers stores and at the Central City Opera Box Office (303-292-6700) or for $20 at Home #2 (825 Vine St.) during Tour hours (10:00am-4:00pm). Tour maps are available at the Boutique. For additional information, visit

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Central City Side of WEST SIDE STORY

Do you remember Central City Opera's dynamic West Side Story in 2008? The creative team who brought us that fabulous production, as well as 2011's Triple Bill of one-act operas (Director Ken Cazan, Scenic Designer Cameron Anderson, Lighting Designer David Martin Jacques and Costume Designer Alice Marie Kugler Bristow), have reunited for Vancouver Opera's West Side Story. A recent review proclaimed, "this co-production of Vancouver Opera and Colorado’s Central City Opera can even be said to outshine the mostly brilliant movie version."

The Vancouver West Side Story is artistically based on our 2008 production and indeed uses many of the scenic elements featured previously on the Central City Opera stage. This week, I caught up with Cindy Maupin, Central City Opera's assistant carpenter, who traveled to Canada to assist with the scenic transfer and load-in to the theatre.
Cindy Maupin, Central City Opera's assistant carpenter, enjoying the sights in Vancouver.
Prior to arriving in Canada, Cindy spent several weeks pouring over blueprints, refreshing herself on the intricate details of the scenery and consulting with David "Mick" Jackson, Central City Opera's head carpenter, on what to anticipate during the tech process.
The Colorado scenery was shipped by truck to Vancouver.
Vancouver Opera has a much larger stage than ours in Central City, so Scenic Designer Cameron Anderson expanded the design. The "working" pieces of scenery - like Maria's entrance and Doc's door - are generally pieces from the original Colorado set, but additional elements have been added to fill out the stage.
The original Central City Opera production used one arch; the design has been expanded here.

The tip of this wall came from Central City, but the rest of the diagonal was added for Vancouver.
"Working" parts of the scenery, like the door above, were installed from the Colorado production, but the rolling wagons on which they were placed were increased in size. The pieces roll so smoothly, however, that the crew remains essentially the same size as the one used in Central City.
With Cindy's guidance, the second wall was smoothly assembled in roughly half an hour. (It still took a lot of teamwork to get it in the air!)

Compare the photo above to the first design shown in the following video of preliminary designs from Scenic Designer Cameron Anderson. Note the original red paint on the wall and how the design has been extended to our left.

A few mementos of the Central City Opera production remain, including this playful message from crew members regarding a certain performer's offstage ritual before entering the scene.
This was Cindy's first real experience in Canada, other than the brief memory of a trip when she was four years old. She took advantage of her free time away from the opera house, spending time exploring Granville Island and other sights, as well as checking out the local karaoke bars (a favorite pasttime). This original "Gulf Coast gal" particularly enjoyed eating fresh seafood every day, from salmon to raw oysters - a treat she's missed while living in the Rocky Mountains. However, if you ask her what her favorite part was about the experience, it was simply the opportunity to travel for Central City Opera in this position. In a heartfelt moment, Cindy expressed her complete gratitude towards Festival Production Manager Karen T. Federing and Technical Director Nathan E. Thompson for choosing her. "I cried when I was given this opportunity - overwhelmed that they trusted me."

Cindy considers this trip the pinnacle of her career - so far. Calling herself "just a girl," Cindy first worked with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (Denver Local 7) in January of 1999, straight from being a stay-at-home mom. On Father's Day of the same year she was assigned to Central City Opera. New to the business then, she credits guidance from Mick and her fellow union brothers and sisters for making her a familiar face backstage now in venues throughout the Denver metro area. She has held the title of Assistant Carpenter at Central City Opera for the last four years.

Cindy can't say enough about her fellow union members on the Vancouver Opera crew (Local 118), either. "They were great - very nice," she said. "I went straight to the crew room the night of rehearsal and told them so, to which Scott, their head carpenter, replied, 'Well, we're Canadian - we're supposed to be nice!'"

Vancouver Opera's West Side Story runs through this Saturday, October 29th. Video of the production, showing the completed scenery, can be found on the Vancouver Opera website. Compare the finished product with Cameron Anderson's preliminary designs.
All photos courtesy of Cindy Maupin.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winter at the Denver Office

Okay, technically it's still officially fall, but WINTER has come to Colorado overnight. Gilpin County Schools in Central City are closed for the day. Down here at the Denver office we're still plugging away, but there's certainly a white layer on everything. Here's a shot from my office window, overlooking Colorado and Alameda Boulevards in south Denver.
Yes, the Denver office keeps working away all year long and things are quite busy around here! Applications have come in for our 2012 Bonfils-Stanton Artists Training Program, so the Music staff is busy sorting through them for our upcoming auditions. (Applicants will be notified if they have been accepted for an audition by November 18, 2011, or October 28, 2011, for Denver auditions.) The Education & Community Programs Department, myself included, has just returned from a mini-tour in Lander, Wyoming, and is prepping for our Opera Rocks the Rockies tour. This yearly collaboration with CU Opera will start off with a public performance in Parker, Colorado on November 4th, then head north to several communities in Wyoming. We're also keeping busy with additional performances like our brand-new school show Eureka Street, visiting community groups with Opera on the Go and a great number of performances of Inside the Orchestra in collaboration with the Junior Symphony Guild. Down the hall, the Development Department is busy writing grants, securing donations and gearing up for Colorado Gives Day on December 6th.  Meanwhile, Marketing is working on ad campaigns and artwork for our 2012 Festival and of course the Box Office is busy with subscription renewals.

You can renew your subscriptions from the comfort of your own home, either by mailing in the form you received or calling the Box Office at 303-292-6700...Or, if you want to venture out in the snow today, it's now even easier to find us thanks to the new sign with the Central City Opera logo in front of our building.

That's 400 South Colorado Boulevard, at the southeast corner of Colorado and Alameda in southeast Denver. Look for the blue mirrored building, then use the elevator on the East side of the building (towards the Super Target and Sports Authority) to the fifth floor. The Box Office is Suite 525 and the Administrative Office is 530 (both are connected - we've got two entrances). Stop in and see us sometime!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Of Budgets and Earthquakes

As Central City Opera's Festival Production Manager, I spend each year getting ready for our season, managing our current Festival, closing it down and getting ready for the next one. Now that our 2011 Festival has finished and all my production staff and interns have scattered to the four winds, this is my time to start closing down the details of my 9th season with Central City Opera.
Festival Production Manager Karen Federing and the 2011 Festival Staffers
First comes my drive home; I head back to the East Coast where I've lived much of my life - most of it in New York City. Then I take a few days to unpack, regroup and readjust to sea level and the summer coastal humidity that I've avoided by spending my summers in the foothills of the Rockies.

So Tuesday at about 1:52pm ET, I was working in my home office in Maryland (just 30 minutes northwest of Washington, DC). I was making budget entries for my weekly expense report of remaining Festival expenses and looking over photos of our sets this season so I can use them to advertise potential rentals to other opera companies. And then the floor started to shake. And then the ceiling - which was really strange. I thought it was neighbor kids running around outside at first. And then I did what no intelligent Californian would do - I ran outside. No kids anywhere. The stairwell was shaking like mad as I went down the stairs and kept shaking as I watched. It took a few minutes to register that I was experiencing my 1st earthquake. All I can say is that it was a pretty unnerving experience - especially the feeling that my office ceiling was going to fall in, which is really what made me want to leave my office. When I went back inside, framed photos and knick-knacks had been knocked from shelves and framed art was hanging lopsided - proof of a 5.8 quake, to be sure.

I went back to my computer (where I'd been in mid-e-mail conversation with staff in our Denver office), told them what had happened, and went back to work. But I also spent much of the day checking with family and friends here and up in New York, and fielding text messages from all over the place, sharing experiences and a sense of wonder.

It's pretty impressive to think we can stay this connected under duress. I was still living in New York City when September 11 happened, and I will say Tuesday brought me back to that day just a little - especially the desire to reach family and share that we were all ok. But on that day, I could only reach my family right there in New York, not reaching my family in DC until much later in the day, which was quite terrifying. At least Tuesday, technology brought us all together.

Jennifer DeDominici and John Robert Lindsey star in CARMEN with Opera Fort Collins

If you didn't get enough of Carmen this summer, you might want to head up to Fort Collins this weekend. Central City Opera has ties to the two leads of Opera Fort Collins' production of Bizet's classic.
Jennifer DeDominici (Carmen) and John Lindsey (Don José) in Opera Fort Collins' production of Carmen
Jennifer DeDominici (Carmen) portrayed Pitti Sing in The Mikado, a Central City Opera collaboration with the Colorado Symphony a few years ago, and is a member of the Central City Opera Ensemble. As part of our "Where is Carmen?" marketing campaign for the Denver performance of Carmen this summer, Jennifer entertained audiences at Comedy Works with a sampling of the saucy diva.
Earlier in the spring, she also performed the "Habanera" and other opera tunes at one of the "Untitled" events at the Denver Art Museum.
(That's our own version of "supertitles" in the background.)
As for Carmen's love interest Don José, John Robert Lindsey will sing the role for Opera Fort Collins in the same production. This summer, John was a Studio Artist with Central City Opera, where his Short Works performances included scenes from Ariadne Auf Naxos, Susannah and A View from the Bridge, as well as in the ensemble for Carmen, Amadigi di Gaula and The Breasts of Tiresias. As a student at the University of Colorado - Boulder last year, John also toured with the Central City Opera as part of our Opera Rocks the Rockies tour, an annual collaboration with the University of Colorado Opera Studies program. (Jennifer also participated in this tour a few years earlier as a CU student.) Pictured below, John performed pieces from Carmen with Nicole Vogel and pianist Michael Tilley in Opera Rocks the Rockies.
Central City Opera and the University of Colorado Opera Studies will hit the road again in November with their annual Opera Rocks the Rockies tour featuring tomorrow's opera stars. Stay tuned for further details of this tour scheduled to include schools and community centers in Wyoming and a few Denver-area venues. To book a performance at your venue, visit the Regional Touring page or contact

Watch Jennifer and John heat up the stage in Carmen with Opera Fort Collins at the recently renovated Fort Collins Lincoln Center. Performances are Friday, August 26th, at 7:30 p.m.and Sunday, August 28th at 2 p.m.

Photo credits: Opera Fort Collins publicity photo as published on; Where is Carmen? - Hilary Miller; Untitled - Christina Jackson, Denver Art Museum; Opera Rocks the Rockies - Erin Joy Swank

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Central City Opera Jigsaw Puzzle!

Here's something new and different - a jigsaw puzzle from a production photo of The Breasts of Tiresias. Enjoy!

Central City Opera’s THE BREASTS OF TIRESIAS (2011). Pictured: Joanna Mongiardo (Thérèse). Photo by Mark Kiryluk.
[Hint: if a piece gets trapped under the partially completed puzzle, hit "Shuffle Pieces" to bring it forward.]

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Day of Magic at the Opera!

Hopefully, you had a chance to head up the hill this summer and check out all that the 2011 Festival had to offer. There was certainly something for everyone of all interests and all ages.

The final week offered a special day for kids! On August 4th, children found out that it doesn't take a wizard to understand opera as they experienced the festivities surrounding the Family Matinee performance of Amadigi di Gaula. The Central City Opera Guild hosted Take a Child to the Opera where kids learned in a fun and engaging way about Amadigi and what it takes to put together an opera.

Deven Shaff and Deb Morrow of Central City Opera's Education & Community Programs started off the event with some creative mind-bending ice breakers such as the Silent Machine. All joined in by creating a motion sans sound and becoming part of the machine!
Kids and adults all make a motion sans sound and create the Silent Machine.
Then, using the simple rhyme "Humpty Dumpty", Deven demonstrated how an opera is built by having the kids create scenes from the action points in a story. Here you can see how all of the horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again!
Kids re-enact an action point from Humpty Dumpty - Poor Humpty!
The event culminated in the kids re-creating scenes from Amadigi so they would be ready for the opera! With special gifts from the Guild in hand (a Central City Opera rain poncho and a magic wand - a very fitting combination indeed!), everyone headed across the street to the Teller House for a magic show with The Wizard from The Wizard's Chest in Cherry Creek. Hearing about the magical prestidigitations, a huge group of kids appeared to watch in wonder as they waited for a rabbit to come out of the hat!

The Wizard brought his bag of tricks from The Wizard's Chest.
A huge audience of kids came to watch the magic of The Wizard before heading off to Amadigi.
As a final hurrah, all of the children followed the sorceress in a costume parade past the wizard through the Opera House Garden and back. The Wizard used his magic lightbulb to choose the costume winners.

After an exciting start to the day, the children were treated to the simple magic of opera. Imagine what next year has in store...
To keep in the loop about upcoming events this fall and spring, join our eMail club!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Central City Days Offers Historical Fun "On The Hill"

“On May 6, 1859, John H. Gregory located, staked, and pre-empted the first mining claims in what was to become known as the 'Richest Square Mile on Earth.' This spot, marked by the Gregory Monument, is near the city limits of Central City and Black Hawk. The area was originally called Gregory's Diggings, but very soon became known as Mountain City. News of the strike reached Denver by May 17th. First publication of this was in the May 28, 1859 issue of the Rocky Mountain News. As of May 23rd, there were a total of 14 claims in the gulch.” -Gilpin Historical Society
July 30 and 31 "Mountain City" welcomed visitors during the first Central City Days. Great events and opportunities made for two jam-packed days of fun at historic heights! Adventure goers went on bike rides around ghost towns near Nevadaville and tours of historic Black Hawk and Central City. Led by the Gilpin County Historical Society staff, opera-goers and history-buffs alike could see where the beginnings of the Colorado gold rush took place.
 Patrons who purchased the VIP passes for Saturday were treated to a relaxing party at the McFarlane Memorial next to the Cour D'Alene Mine. Guests kicked back with a brew and enjoyed the glorious vista over Central City while listening to the folksy tunes from the incredibly talented group The Mile Markers. Sunday afternoon, the party moved to Central City Opera's historic Johnson House where guests mingled on the front lawn with a glass of Colorado mead. Featured during the VIP events were libations from Oskar Blues Brew & ‘Q as well as Grande River Winery and Infinite Monkey Theorem, plus mead from Redstone Meadery Meads
All of these events highlighted the 2011 Festival’s “festivalization” process. This milestone year included an expanse in offerings and more opportunities for opera-goers to enjoy the historic city in which Central City Opera was born. Read the press release about this exciting process, which will likely be continued and refined in the years to come.

The 2011 Festival might be over but there is always plenty to check out in Central City. Next time you're there, be sure to stop by the Gilpin Historical Society to get a walking tour of our historical property! I’m willing to bet they would be more than happy to tell you a bit about Mountain City, too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Wonderful World of Costume Design for the Triple Bill

Gianni Schicchi
This year's triple bill of one-act operas presented many interesting challenges for Director Ken Cazan and his designers. In a previous blog post, Ken discussed finding a unifying theme of "home" throughout the operas. This concept was brought to life visually by Scenic Designer Cameron Anderson, who created a house that is built on stage in several pieces over the evening. If you watch all three, you'll also find repeating props occasionally - a balloon, a newspaper with Dadaist lettering on it, and even a bedpan. While there are running threads throughout the evening, each opera still maintains its own distinct style. Each opera is in a different language (Italian, German or French) and the costumes for each are also extremely different. On a triple bill evening (two times during the season when you can see all three) we start with the most "traditional" of all of the operas, Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. We've updated the setting to 1947 here, and while very lovely in design, the characters wear fairly "traditional" attire, designed by Alice Marie Kugler Bristow.

The Seven Deadly Sins
As the curtain rises on the second opera of the evening, The Seven Deadly Sins, you realize you're in for something a bit different. After all, one character (the Mother) is WEARING a washtub from the top of the show...and is played by a man (a bass, in fact). The opera continues with quite a bit of representational costuming. As Anna I and Anna II travel throughout different cities, the "Family Quartet" dons different pieces of clothing to represent new characters she meets. Each of the sins is represented by a different color, and the costume choices (as well as lighting by David Martin Jacques and projections by Cameron Anderson) enhance this idea. We move fluidly from city to city (and sin to sin) and the design choices assist the viewer in making this journey away from "traditional" opera.

The Breasts of Tiresias
That's good, because by the third opera, we're in for a wacky, zany world of design! The Breasts of Tiresias is a far-out plot from the beginning: Thérèse gets tired of being a woman, her breasts float away like balloons, and she becomes a man! Eventually her husband reverses roles, too, becoming a father to literally thousands of children that he has created by himself. To set the scene for this absurdist tale, it only takes Le Directeur walking on the set to realize this is going to be different - as he has BECOME the thing he represents, with his megaphone as a hat on top of his head. He's soon greeted by a trash can, a fountain, a Metro sign and other usually inanimate objects.

Utah Opera created the initial build for many of the costumes in The Breasts of Tiresias, which presented some challenging construction issues. Check out their blog for articles on creating these costumes out of Tyvek and other unusual materials and then comparing them with the final versions on stage.

The triple bill really is "something to see," and I know this creative challenge was ultimately quite fun for all of the designers. Utah Opera also sent Alice a special opening night gift in honor of the costumes she had created - her very own Tyvek dress, which they signed. There was also plenty of room left for her Central City Opera friends to leave a lasting impression on the dress as well.

Close-up of the signatures on Alice's Tyvek dress
You have just ONE more chance to see The Breasts of Tiresias, this Saturday, August 5 at 4:00 pm. We're offering a special Buy One, Get One Free discount for it as well, when you purchase tickets online or call the Box Office at 303-292-6700 and use the code BOGO. (Not valid for tickets purchased previously).

Gianni Schicchi plays in repertory just before the above performance, at 2:30 pm. The Seven Deadly Sins had its last performance today at 4:00 pm.

See more production photos for Gianni Schicchi, The Seven Deadly Sins and The Breasts of Tiresias by photographer Mark Kiryluk.

Photos of Alice's dress were taken by the author.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

From the Pit: An Opera Company's "Unsung Heroes"

Sarah Richardson, who plays the viola, sent us this vlog (video blog) about the time she and her fellow musicians spend underneath the Central City Opera stage as members of the Central City Opera Orchestra. I've mentioned in a previous blog post how much I enjoy watching the Orchestra from the balcony. This collection of photos, videos and commentary gives you an insider's view from below as well!

Check out more from our violist on her blog, Beyond Do Re Mi. What do some musicians do when there are a lot of opera performances and not much time to drive back down to the Denver area in between them? According to one blog article, Sarah occasionally spends time at a nearby campground recharging her artistic soul enjoying nature and journaling. We actually have quite a few patrons who go camping while visiting the opera each summer, too. You may have been camping beside one of our orchestra members and not even realized it!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Amazing Original Work by the Stars of Tomorrow

What happens when you put 17 teenagers together for a week and a half of long hours, intense classes in drama, movement, voice, and then throw in some history and let them be creative? A GREAT scenes program, including an original opera they wrote themselves!

Wednesday evening, patrons in Colorado Springs saw the premiere of Penrose: A Colorado Legacy and Other Tales of Love. This evening of opera, theatre scenes by Sam Shephard and a few musical theatre pieces, is the culmination of 11 days of hard work by the talented teenagers of our Summer Performing Arts Intensive. This is the 9th year that Central City Opera has collaborated with the Colorado Springs Conservatory, and as the Education & Community Programs Department Stage Manager, I've been privileged to be a part of this awesome experience for six of those years.

For the first week and a half, the students live in residence in Colorado Springs with instructors assisting them in all aspects of performance. They also spend time researching a topic; this year focuses on Colorado philanthropists Julie and Spencer Penrose. The students researched the couples' lives, visiting the Pioneer Museum, El Pomar, the Carriage Museum and the Shrine of the Sun, and even met a friend of Julie's for some insider anecdotes. With the help of composer Roger Ames and librettist Jeff Gilden, the teenagers combined all they've learned, took liberties with their own new characters and a bit of the chronology, ultimately creating an opera that we believe Julie and Spencer would agree honors the spirit of their lives and legacies.

Oh, wait! Did I mention they also work on opera and theatre scenes too? Wednesday evening began with a love-themed scenes program including musical theatre (Candide and Wicked), opera (including La Boheme, The Coronation of Poppea, The Merry Widow, The Bartered Bride, Carmen and four of Mozart's operas) and dialogue from Sam Shepard's Savage/Love.

For me, one of the most touching moments was a duet (later turning into an ensemble piece) from Wicked. I know the history of many of these kids and certainly how quickly they become close friends during this short time. You could see the love and joy in all of their eyes as they sang, "Because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

The world premiere of their brand-new Penrose opera followed. It included fun numbers like a "Boys Being Boys" song about Spencer's bachelor life followed by the girls trying to gain the rich bachelor's attention. There's also a charming "I'm the Greatest" type song sung by Spencer, and the opera ends with a touching piece about the Penrose's true legacy, having touched so many people's lives in Colorado and beyond.

The Intensive continues through this weekend with the students in residence in Central City through Sunday. They will attend all five main stage operas, observe classes of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program and also receive their own master classes in movement, stage combat and vocal work with Festival company members. In the short time in between, they'll finesse their scenes program. There will be two public performances of their work in Williams Stables (across from the Opera House). For just $5 you can enjoy the AMAZING scenes program these students have prepared during this Performing Arts Intensive: on Saturday July 30th at 2:30 PM and Sunday July 31st at 10:00 AM. Please join us! Tickets are available online.

Auditions for the Performing Arts Intensive are generally in the Fall. For more information, visit our Performing Arts Intensive page or contact the Colorado Springs Conservatory at (719) 577-4556.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TOMORROW: The Nina Odescalchi Kelly Family Matinee Performance of Bizet’s CARMEN

For many, opera is an unexplored art form; a virtual unknown which when mentioned might raise imagery of many varied stereotypes. But as we've focused on with our marketing campaign this year, Central City Opera is an experience that's accessible and enjoyable, with offerings for all ages and tastes.

For children, a first opera can be a life-changing experience. In the historic 550-seat opera house in Central City, a child’s proximity to the story can have a powerful impact; moreover, it’s like live-action television where you can’t take your eyes off of it. Central City Opera's upcoming Family Matinee performances feature the talented artists of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program in fully staged productions which include a narrator’s preview before each act and an autograph session with the singers following the performance.
2010 Family Matinee autograph sessions from MADAMA BUTTERFLY (above) and ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD (below). Photos by Mark Kiryluk.

What better story than Carmen than to introduce your child to the world of opera? Full of emotion, there is plenty of action mixed with a powerful and memorable musical score. So don’t miss this opportunity to introduce your child, or yourself, to opera at tomorrow’s matinee. Tickets are just $15 for kids 6-18, and $20 for adults.

A second family matinee performance, Amadigi di Gaula, takes place on August 4th. All kids are welcome to dress up in a magical wizard or prince/princess costume to be eligible to win prizes from The Wizard's Chest. Be sure not to miss their wizard and magic show at 2:00 pm in the Opera House Garden before the matinee. Mention Central City Opera and get 25% off of a costume at The Wizard's Chest. For an extra $10, attend Take a Child to the Opera at 1:00 pm, which includes pre-performance family fun activities, theatre games, and a post-opera talkback.

Purchase tickets to either of these events online, by calling (303) 292-6700 or stopping by our Central City Box Office, located in the historic Teller House on the main level (open two hours before each performance only).