Central City Opera Presents Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street July 21 Through August 18
July 10, 2007

Central City Opera Presents Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street July 21 Through August 18

Central City Opera Presents Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street July 21 Through August 18

Central City Opera Festival Orchestra Ensemble to Perform Menotti Tribute - Barber's Adagio for Strings - Prior to Opening Night Performance July 21

Jul 10, 2007

Christina Martos Sings Role of Annina, Replacing Maria Kanyova


Denver, Co. - Menotti’s Pulitzer Prize winning contemporary opera set in the 1950s in New York City’s Little Italy, The Saint of Bleecker Street is the final offering of Central City Opera’s 2007 Festival. A rarely-performed 20th century piece originally written for Broadway, it follows a young woman, who is blessed with seeing visions of angels and the ability to perform miracles, along with her disbelieving brother and his deadly love affair. The Saint of Bleecker Street opens Saturday, July 21 and runs through Aug. 18 at the Central City Opera House in Central City, Colo. This new production will be performed in English with English supertitles.

As a tribute to composer Gian Carlo Menotti who passed away on Feb. 1, 2007, Samuel Barber’s (Menotti’s longtime companion) Adagio for Strings will be performed by an ensemble of the Central City Opera Festival Orchestra on opening night of The Saint of Bleecker Street, July 21. Barber’s well-known piece will be played at 7:20 p.m. that evening in the garden adjacent to the Opera House, prior to the performance of The Saint of Bleecker Street at 8:00 p.m.

Performing Artists
Conductor Hal France returns after his most recent performances with the company of L’Italiana in Algeri (2003). Mr. France is currently Music Director of the Orlando Philharmonic and has served on the music staffs of the Aspen Music Festival, Glyndebourne Festival and Netherlands Opera, among others. Soprano Christina Martos returns as Annina, the young woman who sees visions. Ms. Martos, who was originally scheduled to perform the role of Carmela, is replacing Maria Kanyova in the leading role due to complications with Ms. Kanyova’s pregnancy. A former Central City Opera Apprentice Artist, Ms. Martos makes her main stage debut with the company in this production. Recent appearances for Ms. Martos include Berena in Jenufa and Julia Grant in the world premiere of Democracy: An American Comedy at Washington National Opera; Liu in Turandot at Palm Beach Opera; and Pamina in Wichita Grand Opera’s production of Die Zauberflöte. Annina’s brother, Michele, will be sung by tenor Derek Taylor.* Last season, Mr. Taylor performed La Traviatawith Opera Illinois and La Bohème with El Paso Opera, as well as concert appearances such as a gala recital for the World Bank to benefit AIDS in Africa. Soprano Christine Brandes returns as the newspaper seller, Maria Corona, after her acclaimed debut as Poppea last summer in The Coronation of Poppea. Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chavez,* who made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the world premiere of An American Tragedy last season, makes her CCO debut as Michele’s lover, Desideria. Bass-baritone Philip Cokorinos, also performing in Cinderella, sings the role of the priest, Don Marco. Melina Pyron* makes her CCO debut as Carmela and 2006 Apprentice Artist Corinne Wallace appears as Assunta.

Production Team
Catherine Malfitano, the famed soprano who made her directorial debut with Madama Butterfl (2005) at Central City Opera, returns to direct this production. A champion of 20th and 21st century operas, Ms. Malfitano is intimately familiar with The Saint of Bleecker Street, having performed the role of Annina early in her career at the Wolf Trap Festival and also at the New York City Opera (NYCO). Following CCO, Ms. Malfitano will direct Rigoletto for Washington National Opera as well as Don Giovanni for San Francisco Opera. The set design for this production was conceived by Ms. Malfitano, with realization by Wilson Chin*, who makes his debut at Central City Opera. Previous opera designs for Mr. Chin include Dido and Aeneas at New York Chamber Opera and L’italiana in Algeri at Berkeley Opera. Dona Granata*, who has designed costumes for numerous films, such as Robert Altman’s Dr. T and the Women, as well as Broadway theater productions including Canciones de mi Padre with Linda Ronstadt, makes her debut as costume designer. David Martin Jacques returns as Resident Lighting Designer for the 2007 Festival, after his most recent appearance with the company lighting Madama Butterfly in 2005. A complete listing of the cast for The Saint of Bleecker Street is located at the end of this release.

“Menotti brought the struggle of belief under such intense scrutiny. His words and his music highlight both the light and dark hues of the human soul. Our questions continue even after the curtain falls on this passionate tale,” states Catherine Malfitano.

In Memory of Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)
Gian Carlo Menotti was composing and staging operas at the age of 11. From his first hit in 1937, Amelia Goes to the Ball, and through seven decades he remained in the public spotlight as a composer and librettist of opera (24 in all, including several children’s operas) and as a stage director and impresario. “I’m Michele but I envy Annina,” Menotti said of the opera’s protagonists. The Saint of Bleecker Street is considered by many to be Menotti’s most musically and dramatically accomplished piece and a story steeped in sorrow, anguish, blood and tears—and a miracle. The Saint of Bleecker Street, in addition to The Consul, premiered on Broadway and both were awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize as well as the New York Drama Circle Award for Best Musical. In 1950, Time magazine hailed Menotti for popularizing opera in America. In 1958 he founded the Spoleto Festival, a summer arts celebration still held annually in Italy and Charleston, South Carolina.

Central City Opera has championed the works of Menotti with productions of Amelia Goes to the Ball (starring Eleanor Steber) in 1951 and The Mediumin 1979. This summer the company presents its first production of The Saint of Bleecker Street.

-Excerpted from Rebecca Paller’s “Remembering Gian Carlo Menotti” in the Central City Opera 2007 Program



For tickets or additional information visit www.centralcityopera.org or call (303) 292-6700


Currently in its 75th year, the 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 pursue its four-part mission 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. The 2007 75th Anniversary Festival includes Verdi's La Traviata, the world premiere of Guo Wenjing's Poet Li Bai, Massenet's Cinderella and Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street. For tickets and information call (303) 292-6700, (800) 851-8175 or visit www.centralcityopera.org..