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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Video Clips from LA BOHÈME - Central City Opera's 2012 production

Central City Opera's La Bohème continues through August 12th. To whet your appetite, enjoy these snippets from the production.

From Act One, an excerpt of "O soave fanciulla" with Mimi  & Rodolfo:

From Act Two in the Café Momus:

From Act Three with Marcello & Mimi:

Glimpses of Central City Opera's 2012 production of LA BOHÈME

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giacosa and Illica
Based upon Henri Murder's 1849 novel SCÈNES DE LA VIE BOHÈME

Conductor: John Baril
Director: Kevin Newbury
Assistant Director: R. B. Schlather
Scenic Designer: David Korins
Costume Designer: Jessica Jahn
Lighting Designer: David Martin Jacques
Wig/Makeup Designer: Dave Bova
Associate Conductor: Adam Turner

Musetta: Deborah Selig
Marcello: Troy Cook
Rodolfo: Eric Margiore
Mimi: Elizabeth Caballero
Colline: Ryan Speedo Green
Schaunard: Chris Carr
Alcindoro: Thomas Goerz

Performed by the Central City Opera Festival Orchestra

Visit the La Bohème website for more information.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Talented Teens of the Summer Performing Arts Intensive

This week is one of my favorite times of the entire year. As production/stage manager of Central City Opera's Education & Community Programs, I get to witness some pretty transformative experiences as young students enjoy their first exposure to classical music. But probably the most touching, powerful and uplifting moments for me happen during our Summer Performing Arts Intensive. For two weeks, in a collaboration with Linda Weise and our friends at the Colorado Springs Conservatory, we bring together approximately 20 teenagers for an amazing experience.

The students met just shy of two weeks ago and spent the first week and a half of their Intensive in residency in Colorado Springs. In addition to classes in acting, movement and more, they work with composer Roger Ames (who taught our Build an Opera educators' professional development class the week before) and librettist Jeff Gilden to create an original opera. This year's opera is inspired by a Waldo Canyon Fire survivor, asking the question, "If you had to pick your most prized possessions to fill just one box, what would you pick?"
The preview of their original opera "Re-Collections" was presented Tuesday night in Colorado Springs.
After roughly ten days in the Springs, the students arrive in Central City. They enjoy all three mainstage operas of the 2012 Festival as well as Lunch & A Song and Short Works, and they also become fully-immersed company members of the Central City Opera. While continuing to rehearse their scenes program and original opera, these talented teens not only observe classes of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, but also participate in numerous private masterclasses with CCO staff.
Movement Coach Melinda Sullivan leads them in the "Farmer & The Cowman" dance from Oklahoma!
Andy Moss shows the intricacies of unarmed stage combat to the Intensive students.

Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program Administrator Marc Astafan coaches a section of the students' original opera.
Principal Coach Michael Baitzer gives some advice on diction and vocal production.
Music Director John Baril works one-on-one with Chloe on her aria.
The two-week program culminates with two public performances of the students' scenes program "Salt of the Earth" and their original opera "Re-collections," this Friday (today) and Saturday at 4pm in the Foundry. Tickets are just $5 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 303-292-6700. Check it out - you'll be amazed!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Turn of the ScrewFest

Last Saturday, the historic and haunted Teller House filled with spirits and entertainment for the first of two creepy-cool Turn of the ScrewFest paranormal parties. The events are part of Central City Opera's Paranormal Project, in celebration of Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw and Menotti's The Medium

The all-star cast of Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, including Professor Phelyx, Peggy Tulane, Tovio, Tom Too Tall, Roxy Star, Carmen Maria and Tatianna Tata. (Center - ScrewFest Director Heather Brecl)

After checking in at the Teller House, tasty pub fare and cocktails were served in Lanny's Lounge (normally the Terrace VIP Lounge). Guests were then treated to a performance of Ballet Nouveau Colorado's [The Untitled Book] before heading back into the lounge for more performances by the the all-stars of Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, including a vintage burlesque tease by the Mistress of Polesque, Roxy Star; the magical juggling and xylophone act by Tovio; the cabaret-style musical stylings of Lola Licious; Peggy Tulane's burlesque fan tease; stilt walker Tom Too Tall on the piano; and a dazzling acrobalancing act by Carmen Maria and Tatiana TaTa. For a preview of the Lannie's Lounge performances, check out the video below:

Meanwhile, on the second floor of the Teller House, guests roamed about, participating in a creepy carnival, a Ghost Hunting 101 session with The Other Side Investigations, séances with Mystical Magdalena, and crystal casting, dream interpretations, Tarot card readings, palm readings, and more with the psychics of Isis Books.  

"Holy Toledo! We are going to get married," discovers Central City Opera's Publicist Kelly Nelson while listening to the reading from Isis Books & Gifts's Meghan Taft. 
If you missed last week's Turn of the ScrewFest, don't worry! There's one more opportunity to join the fun, this Sunday, July 29. Tickets are just $30 or $6 with a ticket to the opera, The Turn of the Screw. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. See you at the Teller House!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Scenic Design of THE TURN OF THE SCREW

In the final segment of our interview with Alessandro Talevi, stage director of this summer's The Turn of the Screw, Mr. Talevi gives us some background information on the Madeleine Boyd's rich, dark scenic design. If you've seen a performance already, you may have wondered about the upside-down images that are projected onstage; watch the video below for the inside scoop. If you haven't seen the opera yet, watch it now, then buy your tickets and see the opera in a whole new light!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Britten's Brilliant Twelve-Tone Row in THE TURN OF THE SCREW

Central City Opera opens its third mainstage production tonight with the creepy and cool opera The Turn of the Screw. While not as toe-tapping as the songs from this year's Oklahoma!, the score is very interesting. The opera is organized in a way that would thrill those of the Type-A personality. Benjamin Britten built the entire opera on a twelve-tone row, which is a non-repetitive ordering of a set of pitches. You can listen to the twelve-tone row here.
Twelve-Tone Row on which the opera is based

The opera is divided into two acts, with each act containing eight scenes, and the first act preceded by a Prologue. Before each scene, the chamber orchestra plays a short introduction based on the twelve-tone row you just heard. Each introduction features the instruments that are important in the following scene. You may be thinking: “Wow, this sounds so mathematical and boring. How can this music be interesting, dynamic, and evocative?” Britten was a genius at getting the music to serve the story. His use of instrumentation and speech-like melody brings out all of the colors and emotions of the drama happening on stage.

Listen again to that twelve-tone row, then watch the first scene of the opera below, produced by the Glyndebourne Festival in 2011. You’ll hear the main theme – with the twelve-tone row masterfully played by the entire orchestra – then the Governess’s first aria. Note the use of percussion in the theme and during the first scene. Britten uses the percussion to invoke the feeling of anticipation, excitement, and a bit of apprehension – all feelings that the Governess has as she is traveling to Bly House to begin her new job.

Want to know more? This blog post is part of the article What to Listen for in The Turn of the Screw, found in the 2012 Opera Insider (Festival Resource Guide - PDF).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Alessandro Talevi on THE TURN OF THE SCREW

The Turn of the Screw, the final production of the 2102 Festival, opens this Saturday. In this video, Stage Director Alessandro Talevi, who some might recognize as the director of 2011's Amadigi di Gaula, introduces audiences to the haunting ghost story.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Costumes of LA BOHÈME

In this episode of Behind the Curtain, Costume Designer Jessica Jahn shows off the costumes of La Bohème. This is Ms. Jahn's first production at Central City Opera. Originally a dancer, she's been working in costumes for about ten years, the last eight of those as a designer. Watch the video below to see our conversation about the costumes, and see them live on stage before August 12!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kevin Newbury on LA BOHÈME

Now that Oklahoma! is now running, the company is getting ready to open the second production of the 2012 Central City Opera Festival, La Bohème, this Saturday. I sat down with Stage Director Kevin Newbury, who gave me the inside scoop on this brand new production of the beloved opera.

For more behind-the-scenes information on Bohème and the rest of the 2012 festival, download the  The 2012 Opera Insider (Full Season Resource Guide) (pdf) featuring history on all of the 2012 Festival operas, their composers, interviews with artists, and festival information.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


It is fairly well known that the musical Rent is based on Puccini's La Bohème...with a few varied plot points. Especially the end. The direct correlations between those shows can be left for a future blog post, but did you know there's a comparison to be made with Oklahoma! as well?

The Off-Broadway satirical revue Forbidden Broadway has a great tradition of spoofing whatever is currently playing in the Big Apple. Several years ago, they re-made Rent's "La Vie Bohème" into "This Ain't Bohème." The video below uses footage from the popular film, dubbed over with audio from Forbidden Broadway's take on the song. Note the lyrics about two minutes in: "We need a new show. The opposite of Rent ain't Bohè's Oklahoma!"

To read the lyrics, click the YouTube button above; they're included in the full description of the video.

If you're not familiar with the original song from Rent, you can watch this scene from the movie which takes place in their version of the Café Momus.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

June 30, 2012 Officially Declared Central City Opera Day!

Governor John Hickenlooper proclaims June 30, 2012 as "Central City Opera Day."
Central City Opera's Opening Day is always a special occasion. But the 2012 opening day was truly historic. The day was marked by a visit from Governor John Hickenlooper, who officially declared June 30, 2012 as "Central City Opera Day" in the State of Colorado.

Governor Hickenlooper shakes hands with Lanny Martin
The day's festivities began, as always, with the Flower Girl Presentation, a tradition dating back to 1932. This year, 14 young women were presented.

The 2012 Flower Girls stand with their escorts.
Following the presentation, Governor Hickenlooper made his official proclamation, just before the Flower Girls and their fathers took to Eureka Street for the Yellow Rose Waltz.

The day also included several other Central City Opera traditions, including the presentation of the Opera House keys to General/Artistic Director Pat Pearce, the ceremonial ringing of the bell by Board President/Chairman Nancy Parker, and the first performance of "The Usher Song" for the year. Those who have visited Central City Opera in years past may notice something very different about this year's ushers. More about that will be featured in a later blog.

Lanny Martin presents the Opera House Keys to Pat Pearce, CCO's General/Artistic Director.
Board President/Chairman Nancy Parker prepares to ring the bell.

Festival Staffers before singing "The Usher Song"