CENTRAL CITY OPERA ANNOUNCES ITS 80th ANNIVERSARY 2012 FESTIVAL FEATURING A VARIETY OF DYNAMIC OFFERINGS
OKLAHOMA! by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
LA BOHÈME by Giacomo Puccini
THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Benjamin Britten
Denver, Colo. (June 16, 2011) - General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce announces Central City Opera’s (CCO) 2012 Festival, opening June 30, featuring three new productions of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s original collaboration, Oklahoma!, Puccini’s famous opera, La Bohème, and Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of The Screw.
In addition to its slate of operas for 2012, CCO will continue to present innovative initiatives that will engage a broader and younger audience, such as continuing this year’s new Fringe Festival and performances outside of Central City. Attendees will once again find many exciting enhancements to their Central City experience in 2012.
The 2012 Festival opens with a new production of the Broadway classic Oklahoma! by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. A “Great American Musical” that launched the remarkable songwriting collaboration of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma! is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, two Academy Awards, a Grammy and a special Tony Award, among many others. Based on the 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, Oklahoma! ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances after its original opening in 1943. Set in the turn of the century in the territory now known as Oklahoma, Oklahoma! is the cherished love story of Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, an endearing, yet independent farm girl. Featuring such favorite numbers as “People Will Say We’re In Love”, “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’ “, and “Surrey With A Fringe On Top”, this musical is a true treasure that has won the hearts of people time and time again. The director of 2010’s Three Decembers and this summer’s three one acts, Ken Cazan returns to CCO to direct Oklahoma! after his other recent credits with the company 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. Oklahoma! will be performed in English.
Possibly one of the world’s most popular operas, Central City Opera will present an all new production of La Bohème for its 2012 Festival’s second offering. Giacomo Puccini’s famous four-act opera with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa is about struggling young artists and the risks of living life on the edge. Based on Henri Murger’s book, Scènes de la vie de bohème, the opera first premiered in Turin in 1896 and quickly gained popularity in Italy, then internationally, and is now one of the most performed operas worldwide. Set in Paris in around 1830, La Bohème follows the challenges faced by Bohemians, specifically Mimì and Rodolfo, whose love-at-first-sight attraction is stifled by the hopeful but impoverished lives they lead. The heartwarming story that inspired the popular musical Rent, La Bohème combines the perfect mix of romance, friendship, and the pursuit of love and art. Grammy-nominated Kevin Newbury makes his CCO debut as director of La Bohème. Mr. Newbury’s work has been produced throughout North America and Europe. His production of Virginia for the Wexford Opera Festival won the 2010 Irish Times Theatre award for Best Opera Production. He has directed productions with several leading opera companies, including Minnesota Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Portland Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He has also directed for Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, L’Opéra De Montréal, The San Francisco Symphony, Wolf Trap Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Colorado, and many more. Known for his commitment to developing new work, Mr. Newbury has directed the world premieres of many productions in New York City, five of which have been published or recorded for commercial release. Celebrating his 20th Festival with the company in 2011, CCO Music Director John Baril will serve as conductor of La Bohème, having led a wide range of productions during his tenure with the company, including 2010’s performances of Three Decembers and this summer’s triple bill of one act operas. 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 2010 and made his Opera Delaware debut in May 2010 conducting Tosca. He will make his official Opera Colorado conducting debut in February of 2012 leading Le Nozze di Figaro. La Bohème will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.
As its final presentation in 2012 and in celebration of the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth in 1913, Central City Opera will feature a new production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, with a libretto by Myfanwy Piper based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. A chamber opera set in an English country house during the mid-nineteenth century, The Turn of the Screw tells the story of an unnamed Governess who keeps watch over two children, Miles and Flora, at their home called the Bly House. The story quickly unfolds as the Governess’ seemingly simple job becomes a fight to protect the troubled children from the apparitions of Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, the former servant and governess. First premiered in London in 1954 and described as one of the most dramatically appealing English operas, Turn of the Screw is oftentimes recognized by its twelve-note ‘Screw’ theme, which precedes each of the opera’s sixteen scenes. Making his U.S. debut this summer directing CCO’s Amadigi di Gaula, British stage director Alessandro Talevi returns to CCO in 2012 to direct the new production of this ghost story. A prize-winning 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 Händel’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 conservatories. British maestro and Britten specialist Steuart Bedford returns to CCO as conductor of The Turn of the Screw. Bedford made his CCO debut with 2005 regional premiere of Paul Bunyan. An orchestral and opera conductor, Mr. Bedfordis closely associated with the music of Benjamin Britten and conducted the world premiere of Death in Venice in 1973. Bedford has also conducted Britten's other operas and made commercial recordings including an orchestral suite of music from Death in Venice. His other work in contemporary opera has included conducting the 1996 world premiere in Monte Carlo of Lowell Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Turn of the Screw will be performed in English.
Artistic staff announcements and further casting for the 2012 Festival are to be announced. Subscriptions for the 2012 Festival will be on sale starting September 15.
2011 Ticket and Festival Information
Running June 25 to Aug. 7, the 2011 Festival offers a wide range of selections with something for everyone, including a new production of Bizet’s Carmen; the first fully-staged production in North America of Händel’s Amadigi di Gaula; and a double bill of three one act operas: Gianni Schicchi by Puccini, The Breasts of Tiresias by Poulenc and Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins. 2011 Festival subscriptions, starting at just $42, are on sale now and include Carmen, Amadigi di Gaula and two of the one-acts. Packages are also available to see all five shows this summer. Single tickets, starting at $20, and tickets for individual one-act performances starting at just $10, are also on sale now. For more information or to purchase tickets for 2011, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.
OMG! Central City Opera Gets Festivalized
Beyond the2011 productions, CCOwill be unveiling a new feel, new activities and new ideas that align with its new brand. On select weekends of the Festival, food carts, chalk art, buskers and entertainers will enliven the quaint, historic streets of Central City. And, for the first time, CCO invites music lovers to explore the Fringe Festival, a collection of short performances, a 19th century weekend of history and modern fun, jazz, tours, and much more. Explorers of the Fringe Festival will experience local history, nature, culture, and of course, opera like never before. Visit www.centralcityopera.org/fringe for more information and tickets.
Celebrating its 79th 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 in its 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.