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CENTRAL CITY OPERA CLOSES 2011 FESTIVAL WITH CRITICAL ACCLAIM OF ALL PRODUCTIONS, INCLUDING A NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE, COMPANY DEBUTS, AND A HOST OF NEW EVENTS

Kelly Nelson, Publicist


303-909-5716; kelly@citruspr.com


Valerie Hamlin, Director of Marketing


303-292-6500, ext. 108;


vhamlin@centralcityopera.org" shape="rect">vhamlin@centralcityopera.org


August 29, 2011

CENTRAL CITY OPERA CLOSES 2011 FESTIVAL WITH CRITICAL ACCLAIM OF ALL PRODUCTIONS, INCLUDING A NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE, COMPANY DEBUTS, AND A HOST OF NEW EVENTS

  CENTRAL CITY OPERA CLOSES 2011 FESTIVAL WITH CRITICAL ACCLAIM OF ALL PRODUCTIONS, INCLUDING A NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE, COMPANY DEBUTS, AND A HOST OF NEW EVENTS

Awards for Artists-in-Training Announced

“Central City Opera’s unlikely trio a fine blend” - Kyle MacMillan, The Denver Post, in reference to Central City Opera’s Triple Bill

“’New’ Handel triumphs in Central City” -Wes Blomster, Boulder Daily Camera, in reference to Central City Opera’s Amadigi di Gaula

“Lusty Carmen captivates Central City Opera” - Claudia Carbone, Examiner

Denver, Colo. - Central City Opera (CCO) closed its 2011 Festival on Aug. 7 with wide praise for all five productions. Despite the continuing difficult economic climate, ticket revenue remained strong for this year’s Festival with a total of $778,127 in sales, representing a combined rate of 70% audience capacity for the entire festival. In 2011, the company staged its traditional six week season with an expansion from three to five shows, including a triple bill, with a total of 47 performances for the Festival. Total paid tickets for this year were up 20% from 2010, including an increase in group sales of 29% from last year.

The 2011 Summer Festival proved to be another landmark season for the company, and built upon its reputation as a leader among summer festivals. Beyond the 2011 productions, CCO unveiled a new feel, new brand and new innovative initiatives that helped engage a new and younger audience. The Fringe Festival events included short performances, a 19th century weekend of history and modern fun, jazz, SinFest, chamber music concerts, and more. Of these first-ever events, the Jazz Brunches sold at 340% of goal and Lunch & A Song events sold at 130% of goal. The SinFest, Chamber Music Series and Central City Days events sold a combined 262 tickets.

This year’s festival also brought the first semi-staged performance of Carmen to the Comfort Dental Amphitheater in Denver. Nearly 3,400 people endured inclement weather to see the principal artists perform this beloved classic.

“With arts and education budgets shrinking, the recession, and the fact that people are getting their entertainment in a more individual and digital method, we looked to create ways to continue our strong history of championing the art form while adapting to a changed environment and charting the course for the future,” says Central City Opera’s General/Artistic Director Pelham (Pat) Pearce. “From a production standpoint, we remained committed to our artistic vision for 2011 and presented five diverse productions from Baroque to contemporary. I am proud that we were once again able to offer a truly one-of-a-kind musical experience.”

In a year marked by significant artistic and organization-based milestones, CCO presented the first fully-staged North American premiere of Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula. “This is an opera experience totally new here in the hills...it brings distinction to the arts in Colorado...with the high professional polish one would expect from Germany’s Halle Gottingen Handel Festival...”, says Daily Camera critic Wes Blomster. Blomster is not entirely off, since Matthew Halls will be replicating the CCO AMADIGI production at Wigmore Hall in London in March of 2012.

Four internationally renowned artists made their Central City Opera debuts in 2011. Wes Blomster of the Boulder Daily Camera comments that Amadigi di Gaula Stage Director Alessandro Talevi “creates compelling theater that draws the listener into the action” in his CCO debut. Talevi will return to CCO in 2012 to direct Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Lauded by Kyle MacMillan of the Denver Post, British soprano Katherine Manley “has all the makings of a star, including a commanding stage presence and a fresh, spellbinding voice. Caressing every word and digging into its deepest emotions, she assures that Oriana's Act 1 love aria is one of the opera's highlights.” MacMillan also notes that British countertenor Christopher Ainslie “brings dramatic weight to the title role and skillfully and expressively handles its complex vocal demands.” Making her debut as the sweet and good-hearted Micaela in Carmen, Elizabeth Caballero’s “soaring, lyrical soprano and poised, graceful presence effectively convey the endearing sweetness of the peasant girl whose heart is loyal to the emotionally feeble Jose,” says critic Sabine Kortals of The Denver Post.

As part of the Festival’s education and community offerings, CCO presented two performances focused on introducing children and youth to the world of opera. The Nina Odescalchi Kelly Family Matinees offered community audiences the opportunity to see full-length productions of Carmen and Amadigi di Gaula. The matinees were once again performed by members of Central City Opera’s competitive Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program and included comments on what to look for before each act and a meet-and-greet with the young artists after the show.

As a component of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, 13 awards were given to exemplary members at the 2011 Festival’s closing ceremonies on Aug. 7. The young artists are selected based on criteria including the artistic quality of performances given during the Festival, a demonstration of a strong work ethic during training activities and career potential as a performing artist. Award winners were congratulated by General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce, Artistic Director Emeritus John Moriarty, Board President/Chairman Nancy Parker, and Guild President Anne McGonagle. Recipients for 2011 are: Rhys Lloyd Talbot - McGlone Award; David Williams - Apprentice Artist Award; David Blalock - Studio Artist Award; Annie Rosen - Iris Henwood Richards Award; Andrew McLaughlin - In Memory of Joshua Psuik Award; Carla Jablonski - In Memory of Deb Hruby Award; Nicole Rodin - Young Artist Award; Andrew Harris - Adelaide Bishop Award; Kevin M. Newell - Ginney and John Starkey Young Artist Award; Timothy McDevitt - John Moriarty Award; Amy Oraftik - Dorsey Family Award; Jonathan Cole - Judge David R. Gloss Award; and Alexandra Loutsion - Career Grant Award in Memory of Richard F. Gold.

2012 Festival

Running June 30 to Aug. 12, Central City Opera’s 2012 Festival will feature three new dynamic productions: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s original collaboration and Broadway classic, Oklahoma!;Puccini’s famous and most popular opera, La Bohème; and a new production of Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera based on the Henry James ghost story, The Turn of The Screw, as part of the world-wide celebration of the centenary of Britten’s birth. In addition to its slate of operas for 2012, CCO will continue to present innovative initiatives that will engage a broader audience. Attendees will again find many exciting enhancements to their Central City experience. Subscriptions for the 2012 Festival will be on sale starting September 15. For more information, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.

Celebrating its 79th year, Central City Opera is the nation's fifth-oldest opera company, located just 35 miles west of Denver in one of Colorado's official National Landmark Historic Districts. The company continues to present artistically excellent professional opera in its annual summer festival; to offer career-entry training to young singers; to produce education and community service programs; and to preserve and maintain the Opera House and 30 other Victorian-era properties.

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