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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Talented Teens of the Performing Arts Intensive

Every summer, Central City Opera, in partnership with the Colorado Springs Conservatory, hosts 18 to 20 talented teens during our Performing Arts Intensive. This is the tenth anniversary of the program; as the Production/Stage Manager for CCO's Education & Community Engagement, I have had the privilege of working with these amazing students for eight of those years.

We are about a week and a half into this two-week intensive. Tuesday night in Colorado Springs we invited an audience to preview the work these students have completed. The first act is a scenes program, entitled Now You Know, combining moments from opera, musical and classic theatre. In one touching scene, the students perform a section of Thornton Wilder's play Our Town (pictured below). Later this week, they'll see the operatic version of this story in the Central City Opera House.
In addition to numerous vocal and movement classes and rehearsal of the scenes program, the last week and half has also been filled with research and composition of their own original opera. Inner Lights: Meditations on the Palmers of Colorado Springs is an original short opera based on the life of an early Colorado Springs couple. The premiere staged reading of this piece was also part of Tuesday's night performance.
One of the reasons that the Palmers were chosen as an inspiration for the opera was because of their many important contributions to Colorado. In addition to founding Colorado Springs, General Palmer was critical to the development of the narrow gauge railroad in Colorado. Wednesday, we took a field trip on the Georgetown Loop Railroad for a first-hand experience.

That evening the students settled into Central City, where they become junior members of the 2013 Festival Company. To greet them, artists from on stage and off gathered for an informal "meet and greet" and sandwich supper.  

Marc Astafan, pictured above, discussed everything from the audition process for our Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program to directing The Barber of Seville.

Several of the prinicipal artists, including Curt Olds (Frank, Show Boat) and Daniel Belcher (Figaro, The Barber of Seville) pictured above, answered questions about living and working in the business. Many of today's stars began their careers in CCO's young artist program.

The teens will continue their residency in Central City for the rest of this week. In addition to continuing to rehearse their scenes program and original opera, they are attending all of the operas performing in Central City, observing some of the Apprentice Artists' classes and having their own private master classes with members of the CCO Festival staff. Vocal and diction master classes will focus on their own material, while in movement and stage combat classes they'll learn some of the same moves and sequences used in the 2013 Festival productions. 

Public performances of the Performing Arts Intensive are held in the intimate Williams Stables Theatre this Friday at 4 pm and Saturday at 7 pm. Tickets are just $5. To purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 303-292-6700 or visit

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