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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Music and Martinis: A Night to Remember with the Stars of Tomorrow

Daniel Belcher has come full circle. He was once a student of John Moriarty in Central City Opera’s esteemed Young Artists Training Program, and is now about as accomplished as an opera star can be. So Thursday night when Belcher joined General & Artistic Director Pat Pearce to discuss the Program and its importance to the careers of up and coming singers, he spoke with the most sincerity. He had experienced the merits of the Program first hand, and strongly believes in what it can do for a young opera singer.

Belcher and Pearce were joined by approximately 350 supporters of Central City Opera inside Denver University’s Cable Center for Music and Martinis. The evening began around 6pm as guests filtered in and were treated to an open bar as well as a wide array of items up for silent auction. Some of the auction items included a rather large framed replica painting of “The Face on the Barroom Floor,” a travel package that included tickets to a performance at Santa Fe Opera, and a tour of Anne Evans’ mountainside cabin. There was also a live auction later in the evening led by pro auctioneer Gary Corbett, whose delivery provided another form of entertainment in itself. Guests were able to mingle amongst themselves as well with Central City Opera staff and artists as they sipped their martinis and placed their bids.
At around 8:00, dinner was served. It was very impressive to see the catering company move like the professionals they are, serving every patron an exquisite plate of beef short ribs with black-eyed pea ragu so efficiently. As dinner came to a graceful end, the part of the night that it seemed all were waiting for was set to begin: the music! However before the young artists could serenade the crowd, Daniel Belcher and Pat Pearce provided the aforementioned entertaining welcome and discussion. Their conversation, set on a riser between the two pianos and in front of a state-of-the-art video screen system, touched upon a range of topics. But the overlying motif, as you may guess, was the importance of the internationally recognized Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program and the niche it has filled within the opera community.
The musical performers of the evening included six of Central City Opera’s 2013 Apprentice Artists: Alexander Elliott, Ian O’Brien, Amy Owens, Shea Owens, Aleksandra Romano and Max Wier. They were accompanied on the piano by Principle Coach of the Training Program Michael Baitzer and 2013 Assistant Conductor Thomas Getty. Towards the end of the evening, the crowd was even treated to a rare a cappella performance by Pat Pearce and a not-so-rare, though always special performance by Daniel Belcher. While this summer Belcher will be singing in Italian as Figaro in our production of TheBarber of Seville, this time he switched it up and did a number in English and French. The evening came to a close as the six Young Artists came together as one to sing a rousing rendition of “Can’t Help Lovin Dat Man” from Show Boat, being presented in a brand new production by Central City Opera at Denver’s Buell Theatre this August.
Tom Getty accompanies Apprentice Artists Max Wier and Aleksandra Romano.

And while the evening was a celebration of Central City Opera and the Young Artists Program, it was also a celebration of our strong community and the support we receive to make year after year a reality. Without that generous support, Central City Opera would not be able to operate and function up to the standards that have been built over the past 81 years.

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