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CENTRAL CITY OPERA ANNOUNCES ITS 2011 FESTIVAL FEATURING A WIDE RANGE OF SELECTIONS FOR EVERY OPERATIC PALATE
CENTRAL CITY OPERA ANNOUNCES ITS 2011 FESTIVAL
FEATURING A WIDE RANGE OF SELECTIONS FOR EVERY OPERATIC PALATE
CARMEN by Georges Bizet
AMADIGI DI GAULA by George Friedrich Handel (North American Premiere)
A Double Bill of Three One Act Operas:
GIANNI SCHICCHI by Giacomo Puccini
LES MAMELLES DE TIRESIAS (THE BREASTS OF TIRESIAS) by Francis Poulenc
SEVEN DEADLY SINS by Kurt Weill
Denver, Colo. - General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce announces Central City Opera’s (CCO) 2011 Festival featuring a wide range of selections with something for everyone. The 2011 Festival will feature a new production of Bizet’s Carmen, directed by Metropolitan Opera choreographer Danny Pelzig, the first fully-staged production in North America of Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula, and a double bill of three one act operas: Gianni Schicchi by Puccini, Les Mamelles de Tiresias by Poulenc and Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins.
“In addition to our slate of operas for 2011, we will also be expanding the ‘Festival’ feel next summer,” explains Central City Opera General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce. “We will be including numerous opportunities for entertainment in various venues in the city. Attendees will find many exciting changes and enhancement to their Central City experience.” (Additional information about Festival offerings outside of the three production season is to be announced.)
The 2011 Festival opens with Georges Bizet’s famous story of love, jealousy, and murder, Carmen. Set in Seville, Spain, the story follows the romance of the beautiful gypsy, Carmen, and Corporal Don José. After their relationship leads him to reject his former love, commit mutiny against a superior officer and join a gang of smugglers, Don José’s jealousy turns to murder when Carmen leaves him for a bullfighter. Much more tragic than any opera Bizet’s audiences were used to and a departure from the tradition of Opéra Comique, critics denounced Bizet’s opera as immoral even before it was first performed in Paris in 1875. Carmen grew in popularity after its premiere and is today one of the most beloved and frequently performed operas of all time. Danny Pelzig, choreographer of CCO’s West Side Story in 2008, will direct Carmen. Having worked often with companies across the country such as the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera and Houston Grand Opera, Mr. Pelzig is also a director at ABC television and for theatre companies on Broadway. He recently choreographed 33 Variations at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre and A Year with Frog and Toad at the Cort Theatre. Carmen will be performed in French with English supertitles.
Central City Opera’s second offering in the 2011 Festival is Handel’s Baroque opera, Amadigi di Gaula, with a libretto by an unknown author. The “knight in shining armor” tale is based on the book Amadis de Gaula by Antoine Houdar de la Motte. It follows Amadigi, a Paladin (warrior of Charlemagne’s court) and Dardano, Prince of Thrace, who are both in love with the beautiful Oriana, daughter of the King of the Fortune Islands. Oriana prefers Amadigi, as does the sorceress Melissa. Considered one of Handel’s “magic” operas, Melissa fights for Amadigi’s love through the use of sorcery and potions, but true love prevails in the end. The opera was well received when it premiered at the King’s Theatre in London in 1715, but then fell into neglect until the mid-1900s. Central City Opera’s new production will be the North American premiere of the first fully-staged version of Amadigi di Gaula with direction by British stage director Alessandro Talevi, who makes his U.S. debut with the production. A prizewinning finalist at the 2007 European Opera-Directing Prize in Wiesbaden, Mr. Talevi was also the co-founder and artistic director of Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells in London, producing acclaimed stagings of works such as Debussy’s Pelléas et Melisande and Handel’s Orlando. Other recent successes have included The Turn of the Screw for Opera North in Leeds, La Cenerentola for Malmö Opera in Sweden, and several productions at the major London conservatoires. Lauded conductor Matthew Halls returns after making his debut with the company leading Handel’s Rinaldo in 2009 and returning this summer to conduct his first Madama Butterfly. Amadigi di Gaula will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.
As its final presentation in 2011, Central City Opera will produce three one act operas: Gianni Schicchi by Puccini, Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias) by Poulenc and Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins. These three productions will be presented as alternating double bills (two shows per evening). For the first time at Central City Opera, audiences will be given the option of purchasing one, two or three of these one acts, so they can stay for just part of the evening or attend on multiple nights for more flexibility. The director of this summer’s Three Decembers, Ken Cazan returns to CCO to direct the three one acts after his other recent credits with CCO of A Little Night Music in 2009 and the sold-out West Side Story in 2008. The resident stage director for the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, Mr. Cazan is one of America’s most sought after directors, having staged more than 100 productions for more than 40 opera companies. CCO Music Director John Baril will serve as conductor, having led a wide range of productions during his tenure with the company, including this year’s performances of Three Decembers. After recently making his Nashville Opera debut conducting Don Giovanni, Mr. Baril also led the young artist performance of The Barber of Seville for Opera Colorado in February and made his Opera Delaware debut in May conducting Tosca.
Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi is a comedic one act opera with an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano, based on a story referred to in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The story, set in Florence, Italy, follows the family of Buoso Donati, an extremely wealthy man who dies and leaves his fortune to the local monks. The family begs the cunning Gianni Schicchi to help them procure Donati’s fortune, and hijinks ensue. Best known for the soprano aria, “O mio babbino caro (Oh, my dear Papa),” the opera is the third portion of Puccini’s trilogy of one act operas, Il trittico.
Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias), by Francis Poulenc, is a surrealist opéra bouffe (comic opera). Based on a play of the same name by Guillaume Apollinaire, the opera is set in the imaginary town of Zanzibar, near Monte Carlo. It follows the story of Thérèse, who tires of her life as a submissive woman and becomes the male Tirésias when her breasts turn in to balloons and float away. She then tries to conquer the world as General Tiresisas; meanwhile her husband finds a way to bear children without women. Les Mamelles first premiered at the Opéra Comique in 1947. The comic opera was a much needed relief for Parisians in the midst of war. Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias) will be performed in French with English supertitles.
Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins is a satirical ballet chante, or “sung ballet,” in seven scenes. It was the last collaboration between Weill and Bertolt Brecht, who wrote the libretto. It follows the story of Anna and her split personalities, the singer (Anna I), and a dancer (Anna II). Anna travels to seven cities, running into a sin in each city, as she searches for money to build a home for her family. The opera was first performed in 1933 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, and was directed, produced, and choreographed by George Balanchine.
Further casting and artistic staff announcements for the 2011 Festival are to be announced. Subscriptions and single tickets for the 2011 Festival will be on sale this fall.
Central City Opera’s 2010 Summer Festival runs June 26 to Aug. 8. It features Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, the tragic tale of one woman betrayed by love and her ultimate sacrifice; Orpheus in the Underworld, the satirical operetta based on the story of Orpheus from Greek mythology featuring the famous “Can-can” dance; and Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, a modern chamber opera about the struggles of a famous actress and the twists and turns of the relationships with her two adult children. Tickets start at just $38. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.
Celebrating its 78th 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; 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.