June 17, 2009


Denver , Colo. – For its second offering of the 2009 Festival, Central City Opera (CCO) presents Sondheim’s homage to turn-of-the-century operetta style, A Little Night Music. For the first time in the history of the company, this new production will open with a special matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. on July 4 to complement Central City and Blackhawk’s all-day 4th of July Celebration.A Little Night Music continues through July 31 at the Central City Opera House in Central City, Colo. The musical will be performed in its original English without supertitles.

Winner of the Tony® Award for Best Musical, Best Book and Original Score, A Little Night Music explores the humor, compassion, and irony of upper crust couples searching for the right partner in early 20 th century Sweden. Confrontations occur at a country dinner party where the romantically entangled guests consist of past and present loves of the famous stage actress, Desiree, and their current lovers who are united in their resentment of the actress. Stage director, Ken Cazan, explains the dizzying intricacies, “ Constantly changing love triangle relationships provide the underlying theme of this production. You have Desiree/Fredrik/Anne, Anne/Fredrik/Henrik, Desiree/Count Carl-Magnus/Fredrik, Carl-Magnus/Charlotte/Desiree, Desiree/Mme. Armfeldt/Fredrika, Fredrika/Desiree/Fredrik, and on and on.

The book by Hugh Wheeler wasinspired by the Ingmar Bergman comedic film, Smiles of a Summer Night. After almost a decade of directing films to mostly local and regional acclaim, Smiles of a Summer Night launched Ingmar Bergman’s international career in 1956 when it was nominated for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or Award. Composed by Stephen Sondheim, the musical is set almost entirely in three-quarter waltz time. Sondheim is the recipient of seven Tony Awards©, more than any other composer, and has been described by Frank Rich of the New York Times as “the greatest and best-known artist in the American musical theatre”.

With its sophisticated music and lyrics, A Little Night Music has been added to the repertoire of several opera companies including New York City Opera, where it was staged in 1990, 1991 and 2003; the Houston Grand Opera, where it was presented in 1999; and Los Angeles Opera with a production in 2004.

Production Team
Stage Director Ken Cazan returns to CCO after his direction of the sold out production of West Side Story in 2008 and recent credits with the company including L’Incoronazione di Poppea (2006), Paul Bunyan (2005), and Le Jongleur de Notre Dame (2004). 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. Cameron Anderson, who made her debut with Central City Opera last summer with West Side Story, returns as scenic designer for A Little Night Music. Having designed extensively for both opera and theater, her recent designs include Don Pasquale for Pittsburgh Opera and The Language of Trees for Roundabout Underground Theatre in New York City. Stage Director Ken Cazan explains how Anderson will visually represent the underlying love triangle theme, “We will have three floating platforms on stage that represent different locations at various times. The whole look of the piece expands as the trios converge, diverge, and become pairs at the end." Costume Designer Alice Marie Kugler Bristow returns for this production after her design work for 2008’s West Side Story and 2007’s La Traviata. In addition to her numerous credits with the company, Ms. Bristow is also an assistant professor of costume design at Berry College and recently designed their productions of Company and How I Learned to Drive. 2009 Resident Lighting Designer, David Martin Jacques, has served in this role for the company in previous years from 2007-2008 and from 2000-2005. Recent lighting credits include Lulu with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Peter Grimes with Teatro San Carlo. Commenting on Jacques’ design, Stage Director Ken Cazan states, “What David Jacques will add to this will be the never-ending magic and romanticism that are inherent in his work." The resident wig/makeup designer for the 2009 Summer Festival is Alison Mizerski, who returns for her fifth summer in residence with Central City Opera after her recent work with Opera Cleveland and Nevada Opera.

Performing Artists
Associate conductor and chorus master for Central City Opera since 2005 and previously an assistant conductor in 2004, Christopher Zemliauskas makes his main stage debut as principal conductor. Mr. Zemliauskas is currently the assistant musical director of the Opera Program at CU Boulder and previously worked as resident artist conductor for the Minnesota Opera.  Other companies where he has served on the music staff include San Francisco Opera, Opera Colorado and Indianapolis Opera. Baritone Robert Orth returns as the central character of A Little Night Music, Frederik Egerman, after his most recent appearance with the company as Horace Tabor in the 50 th anniversary production of The Ballad of Baby Doe (2006). A company veteran, several previous appearances include Lescaut in Manon (1994) and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus (1991). Highly touted for his portrayal of the role of Richard Nixon in Nixon in China, he performed the role with Opera Colorado last June. He is joined by Grammy Award© winning artist Sylvia McNair who returns to Central City Opera as Desiree Armfeldt, after her debut with the company as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2002. Ms. McNair’s 25 year career spans from opera and oratorio to cabaret and musical theater, taking her from the Metropolitan Opera to the Rainbow Room. A breast cancer survivor, her new biographical one-woman show Subject to Change is scheduled to be released soon and she continues to perform as a regular guest vocal and violin soloist in America and Europe.

Soprano Sarah Jane McMahon returns as Anne Egerman after her acclaimed performances as Maria in West Side Story and as Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia last summer. A past CCO Bonfils-Stanton Foundation apprentice artist, Ms. McMahon has since performed with such opera companies as New York City Opera and Los Angeles Opera (in Parsifal opposite Plácido Domingo), in addition to a wide array of musical theater credits. Mezzo-soprano Myrna Paris returns to Central City Opera as Madame Armfeldt after appearing with CCO as the Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide (2000) and previously as Mamma McCourt in The Ballad of Baby Doe (1996), a role she has received acclaim for at New York City Opera and Pittsburgh Opera. Ms. Paris has also been touted for her Gilbert & Sullivan and musical theater roles. Stephanie Nelson returns as Petra after her acclaimed debut with the company as Anita in 2008’s West Side Story. Ms. Nelson is an accomplished singer and dancer who recently performed at the Metropolitan Opera in Iphigénie en Tauride with Plácido Domingo, and has also appeared with companies such as Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Kansas City Lyric Opera. Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm is portrayed by baritone Jeff Mattsey, who returns after his CCO debut in the title role of Don Giovanni (2006). A frequent performer at the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Mattsey has also performed abroad at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and is known for his Gilbert & Sullivan roles. Mezzo-soprano Sarah Kleeman, a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation apprentice artist with CCO in 2007, returns in her main stage debut as Countess Charlotte Malcolm. Recent credits include Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with Pacific Repertory Opera and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Bear Valley Music Festival. An alumnus of Central City Opera’s Bonfils-Stanton Foundation 2008 program as a studio artist, tenor Matthew Giebel returns this summer in his main stage debut to portray the role of Henrik Egerman. Giebel was recently a studio artist with Sarasota Opera Company and performed in their production of Don Carlos.

As part of their rigorous vocal and performance training, members of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training program will perform the roles of the Liebeslieder Singers and other roles in A Little Night Music. Created by Artistic Director Emeritus John Moriarty in 1978, the rigorous 10-week program integrates daily training in diction, movement, and stage combat; individual coaching; and sessions in career management with rehearsals and performance opportunities in the summer's main stage and surrounding productions. A full cast list is available at the end of this release.

Ticket and Festival Information
Subscriptions and single tickets are now available for Central City Opera’s 2009 Festival. Subscriptions to see Lucia di Lammermoor and A Little Night Music (with exclusive subscriber-only pricing for Rinaldo) during the 2009 Festival start at just $95 and go up to $183. Bus subscriptions are available, as well as a 15% discount for groups of 10 or more and special discounts for seniors and students. Single ticket prices range from $50-$99. Supersaver discounts are also available for select performances. NEW THIS YEAR: Tuesday and Friday night performances start early at 7:30 p.m. with Thursday and Saturday night performances starting at 8:00 p.m.

2009 Festival goers 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 cabaret opera about the Central City legend, The Face on the Barroom Floor. Commissioned by CCO in 1978, the popular one-act opera tells the legend of the famous painting on the Teller House floor. Prior to several matinee performances, patrons have the opportunity at the Teller House to enjoy lunch by Kevin Taylor and a recital by a 2009 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training performer for Salon Recitals. 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; 800-851-8175 or go online to www.centralcityopera.org.

Central City Opera House Association 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 an 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. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Central City Opera, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.

(Photos available upon request.)


*=Central City Opera Debut

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by Hugh Wheeler

Suggested by a Film by Ingmar Bergman
Originally Produced and Directed on Broadway by Harold Prince

Presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

All authorized performance materials also supplied by MTI, 421 West 54 th St., New York, NY 10019, phone: 212-541-4684, fax: 212-397-4684, www.mtishows.com.

Conductor: Christopher Zemliauskas

Director: Ken Cazan

Choreographer: Kimberly Mackin

Scenic Designer: Cameron Anderson

Costume Designer: Alice Bristow

Lighting Designer: David Martin Jacques

Wig/Makeup Designer: Alison M. Mizerski

Stage Manager: Pamela Durban

Musical Preparation: Tony Cho, Katherine Kozak

Assistant Director: Alan E. Hicks

Assistant Stage Manager: Lisa M. Kelly

Piano and Keyboards: Tony Cho, Katherine Kozak

Piano courtesy of Baker’s Piano Center

Cast in order of vocal appearance

Mr. Lindquist: Scott Johnson

Mrs. Nordstrom: Ashlyn Rust*

Mrs. Anderssen: Annamarie Zmolek*

Mr. Erlanson: Drake Dantzler*

Mrs. Segstrom: Stephanie Lauricella

Frederika Armfeldt: Alisa Jordheim*

Madame Armfeldt: Myrna Paris

Frid: Jesse Enderle*

Henrik Egerman: Matthew Giebel

Anne Egerman: Sarah Jane McMahon

Petra: Stephanie Nelson

Desiree Armfeldt: Sylvia McNair

Malla: Claire Kuttler

Bertrand: Elias Traverse*

Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm: Jeff Mattsey

Countess Charlotte Malcolm: Sarah Kleeman

Frederik Egerman: Robert Orth

Osa: Kaitlyn Costello*

Central City Opera Sponsors
Erna D. Butler
Estate of Carol K. Gossard
Lanny and Sharon Martin
Central City Opera House Association Endowment Fund
Citizens of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District

Major Sponsors
Avenir Foundation
Boettcher Foundation
Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Endowment Fund
El Pomar Foundation
The Hill Foundation
Newmont Mining Corporation

Production Sponsors
Mr. and Mrs. Louis P. Bansbach, III
Mr. and Mrs. John E. Fuller
City of Glendale
Mabel Y. Hughes Charitable Trust
Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation

Performance Sponsors
Mr. and Mrs. Cannon Y. Harvey
Debbie Matthews
Trask Family Foundation