Valerie Hamlin, Publicist
June 6, 2008 303-292-6500, ext.108
June 06, 2008




LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR by Gaetano Donizetti

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC by Stephen Sondheim

RINALDO by George Frideric Handel


Denver, Colo.— General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce announces Central City Opera’s 2009 Festival, with three productions of works spanning the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The 2009 Festival will be a return to the company’s regular schedule from late June to early August, running June 27 to Aug. 2. It features a new production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, the popular Italian Bel Canto style opera about feuding families in Scotland and young Lucia’s forbidden love; a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, the Tony award winning musical that portrays the romantic lives of couples in Swedish society; and a new production of George Frideric Handel’s Italian opera Rinaldo, a heroic story of battle and love set in the time of the First Crusade.                                          

The 2009 Festival opens June 27 with Donizetti’s, Lucia di Lammermoor, running through Aug. 2. The opera, including the famous “Mad Scene,” premiered in 1835 at Teatro San Carlo in Naples and today remains one of the leading Bel Canto operas in the standard repertoire. The piece’s Italian libretto is by Salvatore Cammarano after Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel, The Bride of Lammermoor. A drama tragico (tragic opera) Lucia di Lammermoor follows two feuding families, the Ashtons and the Ravenswoods, in the Lammermuir Hills area of Lowland Scotland and the forbidden love between Lucia, an Ashton, and Edgardo, a Ravenswood. Catherine Malfitano returns to direct this production, after her most recent success with the company directing The Saint of Bleecker Street (2007) and her directorial debut with Madama Butterfly in 2005.   

The second offering of 2009 is Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, opening July 4 and running through July 31. A Tony award winner for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score, Sondheim’s music is set almost entirely in waltz time and includes the famous song “Send in the Clowns.” The book by Hugh Wheeler was inspired by the Ingmar Bergmann film Smiles of a Summer NightA Little Night Music premiered on Broadway in 1973 and was revived in London both in 1989 and 1995. Set in Sweden at the turn of the century, the musical follows the lives of several couples from all walks of life and their views on life, love and sex are explored with compassion and humor. This work has become part of the repertoire of several opera companies including the New York City Opera, which performed it in 1990, 1991 and 2003, the Houston Grand Opera who performed it in 1999 and Los Angeles Opera with a production in 2004. A regular guest of Central City Opera Ken Cazan returns to direct A Little Night Music after his most recent appearances with the company directing critically-acclaimed productions of West Side Story last summer, L’Incoronazione di Poppea (2006) and Paul Bunyan (2005). 

The 2009 Festival concludes with Handel’s Rinaldo, opening July 11 and running through Aug. 1. The first Italian opera composed specifically for the London stage, Rinaldo was first performed in Her Majesty’s Theatre in Haymarket in 1711. A great success, the piece appealed to many Baroque artists due to its inclusion of two castrato roles (now played by mezzo-sopranos or countertenors). The Italian libretto written by Giacomo Rossi is based on episodes of Torquato Taso’s Gerusalemme liberate (“Jerusalem Delivered”). It is a story of love amidst battle during the First Crusade (1096 – 1099) between Almirena, daughter of the General of the Crusade Goffredo and the knight, Rinaldo, who are torn apart during battle and must overcome adversity to be together. Having worked often with Central City Opera, Marc Astafan returns to direct Rinaldo after his most recent successes directing Cendrillon (2007) and Don Giovanni (2006).   

Subscriptions for the 2009 Festival are now on sale, ranging from $90 to $178, with single tickets on sale February 9 from $50 to $99.   For more information on the 2009 Festival, call 303-292-6700 or visit 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.