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Saturday, June 8, 2013

It Takes a Village: Preparations "On the Hill"

As artists and staff members show up in Central, there is little time to “settle in” before they immediately get to work on preparing for the fast approaching Festival. Whether they are stagehands or Apprentice Artists, music staff or props interns, most Company members dive into their roles very quickly upon arrival and hit the ground running.
Chorus Master Levi Hammer conducts a rehearsal with young artists inside of the Foundry Building.

Of course, many artists and staff members begin their preparations well before they even step foot in Central City or a company rehearsal room. Singers are hard at work months before they arrive perfecting their performance pieces so that they are well prepared by the time they officially begin rehearsals and coachings. That commitment makes the work of Music Director John Baril and Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program Director Marc Astafan much easier, I would believe. “The first few weeks have been great!” said Mr. Astafan, who also went on to say that the positive vibe he has been getting from all the young artists has been “infectious."

Props Interns Sarah Alverson and Ryan Miller begin their work almost immediately upon arrival in Central City.

Speaking of our young artists, the highlight of the first few weeks is the Death By Aria event, in which the Apprentice Artists show off their hard work and talent to an audience for the first time in Central City. Death By Aria took place in the Foundry Rehearsal Building last Sunday in front of an audience that included Guild members, festival/administrative staff, and fellow artists. Each young artist had the opportunity to sing a selection of their choice, which included a wide range of pieces. The young artists are also well on their way to being prepared for the start of the Lunch & a Song recitals. Singers have been busy choosing their repertoire and rehearsing with accompanists to prepare for their moment to shine inside of the Teller House on matinee days.

The “O”Man observes as Costume Shop Supervisor Janetta Turner and Stitcher/Dresser Lauren Allmeyer receive wardrobe materials.

The behind-the-scenes staff members are hard at work during these first few weeks as well. The costume and wardrobe team, headed by Janetta Turner, has been receiving packages daily in preparation for the Festival, some weighing upwards of 100 pounds! Production Scheduler Roxanna Tehrani may be the unsung hero of the company, as she works diligently day in and day out composing master schedules of rehearsals, coachings, fittings, and more. Staffer/Gift Shop Intern Laura Pancoast and Denver Office Administrator Wanda Larson have spent many hours over the past few weeks stocking and taking inventory of the Teller House Gift Shop, ensuring its readiness well in advance of Opening Night. The list could go on seemingly forever, with every staff and crew member playing each of their important roles to make every Festival a success. 

And the preparations will continue until opening night on June 29th! So while you are enjoying some opera in Central City this summer, take a minute to think about all of the little things that go into making the Festival possible. From the artists and year-round staff right down to the interns, everyone has their niche within the company and has been hard at work from the very beginning of arrival in Central City, or in some cases, well before then.

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