Valerie Hamlin, CCO Publicist/Associate Director of Marketing
303-292-6500, ext. 108 vhamlin@centralcityopera.org
June 30, 2010





JULY 3 – AUG. 8
*=Central City Opera Debut

Denver, Colo. – For its second offering in the 2010 Festival, Central City Opera (CCO) presents an original production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. This production will open on July 3 and continue through Aug. 8. The operetta will be performed in English with supertitles.

This marks the first staging by Central City Opera of the operetta famous for its widely recognized “Can-can” music. A work of opéra bouffe, the satire focuses on the story of the character Orpheus from Greek mythology. He is sent begrudgingly by Public Opinion to Hades to rescue his estranged wife, Eurydice, from her new lover, Pluto. Jupiter, who learns of Orpheus’ plight from his fellow gods, joins the pursuit and intends to win the hand of Eurydice as well. After employing the magical powers of the gods, Jupiter succeeds in seducing Eurydice to the delight of Orpheus and the dismay of Public Opinion.

Stage director Marc Astafan exclaims his affection for the piece, “The great thing about this production is that there isn't a serious moment in it!...It's pure escapism and unapologetic entertainment.”


At its premiere in Paris, Offenbach’s opéra bouffe (a genre of late 19th-century French operetta known for elements of comedy and satire) did not receive such kind reviews. Condemning critics called the piece “a coarse and grotesque parody, full of vulgar and indecent scenes that give off an unhealthy odor.” However, it was the atrocious reviews that heightened the public’s curiosity to see the work and perpetuated Orpheus in the Underworld’s success. The production, first performed in 1858, is said to be the first classical full-length operetta. Offenbach’s former operettas were small scale one-act works, since the law in France did not allow certain genres of full-length works.

Production Team
Stage Director Marc Astafan
comments on the significant use of color in Orpheus’ design, “Each scene has its own distinct color scheme: Scene One on Earth in natural tones of green and yellow; Scene Two on Mount Olympus in Celestial gold and silvers, white and blue; Pluto's Boudoir in Act II in sexy purple and gold; and the finale, featuring the “Can-can” in dazzling pinks, reds and black!” A Central City Opera veteran, Mr. Astafan returns to direct Orpheus in the Underworld after accomplishments with last summer’s Rinaldo, 2007’s Cendrillon and 2006’s Don Giovanni. Colorado audiences may also remember Mr. Astafan for his direction and choreography of H.M.S. Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance and Mikado, all of which were collaborations between Central City Opera and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Astafan recently made two company debuts with critically acclaimed productions including Tosca at Virginia Opera and Romeo et Juliette at Syracuse Opera. David Martin Jacques returns this summer for his 10th festival as Resident Lighting Designer. Having designed more than 300 theatre, opera, television, dance and special event productions, he collaborated with director Catherine Malfitano on Tosca at the English National Opera in May. Set designer Arnulfo Maldonado* makes his debut with Central City Opera with his timeless designs for Orpheus in the Underworld. Recent designs for Mr. Maldonado include La finta giardiniera at the Alexander Kasser Theater, The Hairy Dutchman at the University of Rochester, and Romeo and Juliet for Classic Stage Company. Sara Jean Tosetti, who designed the “eye-catching styles” for 2007’s Cendrillon labeled a “coup de theatre” by the Rocky Mountain News, and the “luxuriant costumes” for last year’s Rinaldo hailed “nothing short of spectacular” by the Denver Post, returns to design the costumes depicting Greek mythology to the opulence of the Underworld. Ms. Tosetti’s recent credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor with Shakespeare Festival of Saint Louis and Artifice with Complexions Inc. on Broadway. Alison Mizerski-Hanks, wig and makeup designer, returns for her sixth summer in residence with Central City Opera. Her designs were recently seen at Nevada Opera’s production of H.M.S Pinafore and Opera Cleveland’s production of Don Giovanni.

Performing Artists
Having made his CCO debut in 2007’s production of La Traviata, Martin André returns to conduct Orpheus in the Underworld. Familiar with conducting Offenbach’s oeuvre, Mr. Andre has previously led his Ritter Blaubart at both the Bregenz Festival and the St. Pölten Festival in Austria. Other recent engagements include Martinů’s Mirandolina at Garsington Opera in England and Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr. Brouček with both Opera North and Scottish Opera. Chorus Master and Associate Conductor Andrew Altenbach will conduct the July 10 and July 14 performances. Mr. Altenbach’s recent engagements include Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Birmingham and The Rake’s Progress with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He also serves as the Artistic Director/Principal Conductor of St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra. Soprano Joanna Mongiardo returns as the female love interest, Eurydice, in Orpheus in the Underworld after her appearances as Baby Doe in the company’s 50th anniversary production of The Ballad of Baby Doe in 2006. A past Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Studio and Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera, Ms. Mongiardo has since gone on to perform with New York City Opera, Portland Opera, at the Caramoor Festival and at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Germany. She is joined by baritone Matthew Worth* who makes his Central City Opera debut as Jupiter. Hailed by the New York Times for a voice that is “fully powered and persuasively expressive,” Mr. Worth’s additional engagements in the 2009-10 season include the role of Charlie in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers at Chicago Opera Theater, Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette with New Orleans Opera and the title role in Don Giovanni with Virginia Opera.

Mezzo soprano Joyce Campana returns to Central City Opera as Public Opinion, after her most recent appearances with the company as Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus and Mrs. Jones in Street Scene in 1999. Tenor Ryan MacPherson returns as Aristeus/Pluto after making his Central City Opera debut in 2005 as Hot Biscuit Slim in Paul Bunyan. Mr. MacPherson’s recent appearances include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Lyric Opera Dublin, Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Heurtebise in Phillip Glass’ Orphée with Portland Opera. Rising young tenor Edward Mout makes his mainstage debut with Central City Opera as Orpheus, after performing with the company as an Apprentice Artist in 2005. Recent appearances include Beppe in I Pagliacci (student matinees) and Sheperd in Tristan und Isolde both with Lyric Opera Chicago. Mr. Mout also garnered third place in the Midwest Region’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions this February. Baritone Curt Olds returns as John Styx after his most recent appearances with the company as Frank in Die Fledermaus and Dick McGann in Street Scene in 1999. A former Studio and Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera, Mr. Olds now enjoys a career in both opera and musical theatre having performed in the original German production of Cats, on Broadway in Riverdance, as well as with opera companies such as Arizona Opera, Edmonton Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre, to name a few. Additional roles in Orpheus in the Underworld will be performed by members of the 2010 Bonfils-Stanton Young Artists Training Program. (A full cast list is located at the end of this release.)

Ticket and Festival Information
Subscriptions and single tickets are now available for Central City Opera’s 2010 Festival. Subscriptions to see Orpheus in the Underworld as well as Madama Butterfly, the classic tale of one woman betrayed by her love and her ultimate sacrifice, and Three Decembers, a modern chamber opera about the struggles of a famous actress and the twists and turns of the relationship with her two adult children, during the 2010 Festival start at just $90 and go up to $237. Single ticket prices range from $38 to $99. Supersaver and group discounts are also available for select performances. For opera-goers’ convenience, an opera bus leaving from Glendale and Simms Steakhouse will be available for $18 round-trip for select matinee performances.

Festival Extras

2010 Festival attendees can enhance their experience in Central City with additional artistic programming performed by the acclaimed Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice and Studio Artists. Opera a la Carte at Williams Stables offers patrons the opportunity to see staged scenes from a wide range of opera favorites. An annual tradition, CCO artists-in-training will stage the one-act cabaret opera about the Central City legend of the famous painting on the Teller House floor, The Face on the Barroom Floor. This year, artists-in-training will also stage Signor Deluso, a one-act comedy of errors about couples and their suspected affairs. Prior to several matinee performances, patrons have the opportunity at the Teller House to enjoy a Salon Recital by a 2010 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training performer. Before every performance, a FREE pre-performance preview, Opera Notes, allows the audience to gain further insight into each production.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Central City Opera Box Office at 303-292-6700 or visit www.centralcityopera.org.

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.

(Photos available upon request.)


*=Central City Opera Debut

Music by Jacques Offenbach

Original libretto by Ludovic Halévy with revisions by Hector-Jonathan Crémieux

English Translation by Jeremy Sams

By arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Agent in the USA for Josef Weinberger, Ltd., London, publisher and copyright owner. Critical edition by Keck – By arrangement with Bote & Bock Berlin and Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.

Conductor Martin André

Director/ Choreographer Marc Astafan

Scenic Designer Arnulfo Maldonado*

Costume Designer Sara Jean Tosetti

Lighting Designer David Martin Jacques

Wig/Makeup Designer Alison M. Mizerski-Hanks

Stage Manager Rachel L. Ginzberg

Chorus Master/Associate Conductor Andrew Altenbach**

Musical Preparation Katherine Kozak, David Rebhun

Assistant Director Tara Faircloth

Assistant Stage Manager RaShelle C. Bradley

Supertitles Thomas Getty

(**Conducting July 10 & 14 performances)

Piano courtesy of Baker’s Piano Center

Cast In order of vocal appearance

Public Opinion Joyce Campana

Eurydice Joanna Mongiardo

Orpheus Edward Mout

Aristeus-Pluto Ryan MacPherson

Cupid Kaileen Miller

Venus Monica Boldt

Jupiter Matthew Worth*

Diana Jacqueline Brecheen*

Juno Julia Tobiska*

Mars Max Wier

Minerva Alexandra Loutsion*

Pomona Bridgette Gan*

Mercury Philippe Pierce*

John Styx Curt Olds

          Gods and Goddesses Members of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program

The conductor’s podium is endowed in perpetuity by the Eleanore Mullen Weckbaugh Foundation.
Assisted listening devices generously donated by Myra B. Levy.


Scenery constructed by Cyco Scenic. Costumes constructed by Sara Greene, Martin Izquierdo Studios, Leah Pelz, Tasco Couture. Additional costume rental from TDF Costume Collection NY.

Central City Opera Sponsors

Avenir Foundation

Erna D. Butler

Lanny and Sharon Martin

Central City Opera House Association Endowment Fund

Citizens of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District

Major Sponsors

Boettcher Foundation

Bonfils-Stanton Foundation

Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Endowment Fund

El Pomar Foundation

The Hill Foundation

National Endowment for the Arts, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

State Historical Fund

Production Sponsors

Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation

Mr. Daniel L. Ritchie

Phoebe Smedley

Performance Sponsors

Mr. and Mrs. William D. Armstrong
Robert A. Ellis and Jane Bernstein

Mr. and Mrs. John E. Fuller

Jean and Larry Manion

Nancy S. Parker

Mabel Y. Hughes Charitable Trust