The articles in this blog by Central City Opera are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Central City in May: In like a Lamb, out like a Lion

Editor's Note: Here's our first blog post for the 2013 Festival from Public Relations/Marketing Assistant Tyler Hypnarowski. You'll be seeing lots of blogs from Tyler "on the hill" over the next few months. 

You know the old expression about the month of March: “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” In Central City, the month of May is just the opposite, and it has nothing to do with the weather. During the winter months, Central City is a relatively quiet town, although the casinos in town remain hopping. However, as May comes to an end, the dynamic of the old mining town changes a bit with the sudden influx of out-of-state license plates and a ton of new Wi-Fi accounts popping up in everyone’s network. That is not to say the city loses its small town charm or historic ambiance when the opera starts up, but it certainly gives it a new feel every summer.

The 14 interns are always the first to arrive in Central City, along with just a few other key staff members. This year, as in years past, we (the interns) spent the first week doing maintenance on and cleaning the organization’s properties, including company housing, Festival Hall, Williams Stables Theatre and even the Opera House itself. Couches were moved, windows were cleaned, floors were mopped, farmer tans were developed and team bonding flourished as we prepped for the arrival of the rest of the company artists and staff members.

The "O" Man helps Tyler Hypnarowski (Festival Staffer - Public Relations/Marketing Assistant) and Allison Taylor (House and Festival Services Manager) load furniture into the car from Williams Stables.
The "O" Man helps Jonathan Sanford (Festival Staffer - Assistant House Manager/Company Management Assistant) make key copies for all the historic properties.
Walking down Main Street in and out of the casinos and other local establishments has been like night and day from the time I arrived just over a week ago to the time I am writing this. There seems to be a bit more of a bustle now than there was during my first few days in Central. Sidewalks are more crowded, with company members eager to explore what will be their home for the summer. I have seen company members jogging up the Eureka Street hill, enjoying local brews at Dostal Alley, playing basketball behind Festival Hall, and packing the Foundry to get a head start on their rehearsals; all signs that Central City Opera’s 2013 Festival is soon to be under way!

The city is beginning to take on its summer look. The aforementioned surge of colorful and diverse license plates is one telltale sign, including tags from New York, Missouri, Virginia, Texas, and Minnesota, among others. Of course, Central City has always been a tourist hot spot, attracting travelers from all over to check out the mountain scenery and rich history. But there is no doubt that the Festival season brings in an additional element of visitors and part-time residents to the area.
A small sampling of the new license plates appearing around town
Now as the month of May turns to June with Main Street events and the Central City Opera Festival opening on June 29, hear the “lion” roar!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spotlight on Figaro in THE BARBER OF SEVILLE with Baritone Daniel Belcher

You often sing the role of Figaro in The Barber of Seville, and other Rossini roles as well.  What are your favorite aspects of the role and Rossini’s music in general?

Figaro is like an old friend to me, particularly Rossini's Figaro.  The wit, the vocal pyrotechnics, the insane situations, are a complete blast.  Above all, there is one secret to making Figaro complete....that is making everything sound vocally and seem physically AT EASE.  Somehow, Figaro can always get out of situations.  The moment it looks hard, it undermines the character.  Everything must be a complete joy!!

You sing a wide variety of roles and concert repertoire, from world premieres of avant garde music to some of the earliest Baroque operas.  Do you enjoy singing any specific type of music over the others?  If so, please tell us what kind and why.  If not, please elaborate.

As much as I love the music of the great composers, Mozart, Rossini, Puccini, etc., it's being able to work with living, breathing composers and librettists that excited me the most.  During my training in Houston, I was able to sing in three world premieres.  That has only continued in my career.  We don't have the luxury of going to Mozart or Britten or Puccini and asking why they made a certain musical choice.  However, I can do that with John Adams or Kaija Saariaho or Tod Machover or any of the other composers I get to work with.  A wonderful situation came out of working with Ken Cazan in Central City two years ago.  We are longtime friends, but reconnected on Gianni Schicchi and Les Mamelles de Tirésias.  Ken was approached by a young film composer wanting to write an opera about Oskar and Emily Schindler.  Ken invited me on board and we already have one presenter, the Gartnerplatz in Munich, that will perform the opera in a future season.  I am thrilled I get the opportunities to continue to create music.  Hopefully, the work I do on new works is reflected in the classics.  My goal is always to bring a freshness and spontaneity to whatever I sing.  I hope the audience will find my Figaro just as fun!

Daniel Belcher as (above) the title role in Gianni Schicchi and (below) Le Mari in Les mamelles de Tirésias (both 2011)

Editor's Note: The above questions are just part of an interview with Daniel Belcher in the 2013 Opera Insider. This Festival resource guide will be available for download soon - stay tuned!