Kelly Nelson, Publicist
(303) 909-5716; kelly@citruspr.com
Valerie Hamlin, Director of Marketing
(303) 292-6500 x 108; vhamlin@centralcityopera.org
May 26, 2011


JUNE 25-AUG. 7


Denver, Colo. - Central City Opera (CCO) opens its 2011 Festival with a new production Georges Bizet's famous story of love, jealousy, and murder, Carmen. Directed by Metropolitan Opera choreographer Daniel Pelzig, the production starts June 25, with performances continuing through Aug. 7. The opera will be performed in French with English supertitles.

Set in Seville, Spain, the story follows the romance of the beautiful gypsy, Carmen, and Corporal Don José. After their relationship leads him to reject his former love, commit mutiny against a superior officer and join a gang of smugglers, José's jealousy turns to murder when Carmen leaves him for a bullfighter.

Carmen grew in popularity after its premiere and is today one of the most beloved and frequently performed operas of all time. Much more tragic than any opera Bizet's audiences were used to and a departure from the tradition of Opéra Comique, critics denounced Bizet's opera as immoral even before it was first performed in Paris in 1875.

With a new production of one of opera's beloved classics, "CCO has shaken up the sense of time in order to create a true emotional resonance," comments Carmen director, Daniel Pelzig. "Within this gritty industrial world, we explore the issues of class as well as the divisions within the working class. Characters' needs are more primal."

Denver Performance of Carmen at Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
For those opera lovers who can't visit Central City or for those who are looking for a whole new way to experience Carmen outdoors and under the stars, Central City Opera is coming to Denver! On July 12, CCO will conduct its first-ever semi-staged performance of a main stage production in Denver, Carmen at the Comfort Dental Amphitheatre (formerly known as Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre) in the Tech Center. The Amphitheatre Box Office is open Monday through Friday, Noon - 6pm; Saturdays 10am - 2pm; and 10am - 9pm on July 12. The performance will take place at 7:30 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm), rain or shine, featuring the same Central City cast and the company's full live orchestra on stage. The performance will be sung in French with English supertitles and narration. Tickets are on sale now at $22 for adults and $15 for ages 6-12 (this performance is not recommended for children under six). For more information or to purchase tickets for Carmen in Denver, visit www.livenation.com or call 303-292-6700. Presented with the Museum of Outdoor Arts. Sponsored by John Madden Company and the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District.

Production Team
Daniel Pelzig, choreographer of CCO's West Side Story in 2008, will direct and choreograph Carmen. Having worked often with companies across the country such as the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera and Houston Grand Opera, Mr. Pelzig directed the Fort Worth Opera Festival's 2008 production of Turandot and is also a director at ABC Television. For theater companies on Broadway, he has choreographed 33 Variations at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre and A Year with Frog and Toad at the Cort Theatre. Sara Jean Tosetti returns as costume designer after designing the "eye-catching styles" for 2007's Cendrillon labeled a "coup de theatre" by the Rocky Mountain News, the "luxuriant costumes" for 2009's Rinaldo hailed by the Denver Post as "nothing short of spectacular," and last season's Orpheus in the Underworld costumes also touted as having a "showy, masquerade-ball sensibility" by the Denver Post. Tosetti's designs for Carmen will create a marked divide between the drab people of Seville, the exotic and foreign gypsies, and the matadors who parade on stage like peacocks. Says Pelzig, "The costumes are stripped down to illustrate feelings of love, hate and jealousy - everything layering up the way one's life experiences layer up, like scar tissue." A Princess Grace Award recipient, Ms. Tosetti's recent credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor with Shakespeare Festival of Saint Louis and Artifice with Complexions Inc. on Broadway. David Martin Jacques returns this summer for his 11th festival as Resident Lighting Designer. Mr. Jacques will light all five productions for the 2011 Festival. Having designed more than 300 theatre, opera, television, dance and special event productions, he collaborated with director Catherine Malfitano on last May's production of Tosca at the English National Opera. This May, he will light The Tsar's Bride at the acclaimed London's Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. The wig/makeup designers for all five productions in 2011 are Jason Allen* and Ronell Oliveri*, both making their Central City Opera debut. Mr. Allen's recent work has included Maria Stuarda with The Minnesota Opera, After Image/The Emperor of Atlantis with Boston Lyric Opera, and Educating Rita with The Huntington Theatre Company. Ms. Oliveri has worked with the Chicago Lyric Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Opera Colorado and Minnesota Opera. In 2007, she was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy for outstanding makeup in a miniseries. Set Designer Michael Raiford* makes his debut with Central City Opera with his timeless designs for Carmen. Recent credits for Mr. Raiford include The Bartered Bride at Opera Boston, The Magic Flute at Ballet Austin, and Kite Runner for Actors Theatre of Louisville/Cleveland Playhouse.

Performing Artists
With a repertoire encompassing a wide variety of symphonic works and nearly 60 operas, American maestro Timothy Myers returns to Central City Opera to conduct Carmen. Myers was the associate conductor for CCO's 2005 productions of Vanessa and Paul Bunyan, and was the conductor for CCO's Nina Odescalchi Kelly Family Matinees in 2003 and 2004. Myers' recent and future engagements include the New York City Opera, the Wolf Trap Festival, Opera Africa, Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts, New York Philharmonic, London BBC Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Atlanta, North Carolina and Milwaukee symphony orchestras. In 2008, Myers was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Opera Company of North Carolina, making him one of the youngest artistic leaders in American opera. Christopher Zemliauskas returns to Central City Opera to conduct the final five performances of Carmen. Currently the Assistant Musical Director of the Opera Program at CU Boulder, Mr. Zemliauskas has also been an associate conductor and chorus master for Central City Opera. His conducting credits with the company include performances of West Side Story, Susannah, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Massenet's Cendrillon and most recently, 2009's A Little Night Music. He has also been on the music staff with Minnesota Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Colorado, and Indianapolis Opera.

Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez, who made her CCO debut as Desideria in the 2007 production of The Saint of Bleecker Street, returns to perform the title role of Carmen. Since her 2008 debut as Carmen at the famous Sydney Opera House with Opera Australia, Ms. Chávez has become known as one of the definitive Carmens of today. Now her signature role, Ms. Chávez has performed Carmen with great success at Oper Graz in Austria, New York City Opera, Tokyo City Opera, Minnesota Opera, Orlando Opera, Arena di Verona, Manitoba Opera, the New National Theatre in Tokyo, as well as in Beijing, China. She has also been praised for her renditions of Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at San Diego Opera, France's Opéra de Nice, and Santa Fe Opera; Dorabella in Così fan Tutte for Connecticut Opera and Oper Graz in Austria; Maddalena in Rigoletto with San Diego Opera, New York City Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia; Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with New York City Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia; as well as Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice and Sondra Finchley in An American Tragedy with Metropolitan Opera.

Tenor Jonathan Burton* makes his Central City Opera debut as Carmen's self-destructive and obsessive love interest, Don José. A young tenor with a thrilling, powerful voice, Mr. Burton has performed with the University of Kentucky Opera, Opera Omaha, Phoenix Opera, Annapolis Opera and Opera on the James in many roles including Borsa in Rigoletto, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and Cavaradossi in Tosca.

Baritone Gustavo Ahualli* takes on the role of Escamillo in his Central City Opera debut. Mr. Ahualli has sung leading baritone roles such as Count di Luna in Il Trovatore and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Argentina's Teatro San Martin; Baron Douphol in La Traviata, Masetto in Don Giovanni, and Dancaïre in Carmen with Palm Beach Opera; Escamillo in Carmen and Juan in Los Gavilanes (a zarzuela by J. Guerriero) with the Teatro Segura in Lima, Peru; and Marcello in La Bohème on tour in Castres and Toulouse, France. Soprano Elizabeth Caballero* makes her CCO debut as village maiden, Micaëla, after her roles as Nedda in I Pagliacci with Kentucky Opera, Liù in Turandot with Florida Grand Opera, and Violetta in La Traviata with Madison Opera.

Apprentice Artists in CCO's Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, celebrating 33 years in 2011, round out the remainder of the cast. Tenor Philippe Pierce takes on the role of a Guide and baritone Patrick McNally plays Moralès, while bass Brian Wehrle performs Zuniga. Sopranos Bridgette Gan and Alexandra Loutsion take on the role of Frasquita and mezzo-sopranos Kaitlyn Costello and Nicole Rodin portray the role of Mercédès, both companions of Carmen. Tenor Brad Benoit plays Remendado, and baritone Jonathan Cole returns as Dancaïre. Countertenor Anthony Bucci plays Lillas Pastia. The Solo Dancers will be performed by Sarah Tallman and Jesse Marks, and the Street Urchins will be performed by the Colorado Children's Chorale.

Shine-N-Dine Kicks Off on Opening Night
On opening night of Carmen and of the 2011 Festival, June 25, the buffing of opera goers' shoes will help feed the hungry with Shine-n-Dine. A partnership that combines old-fashioned shoe shining with a decadent dessert from Kevin Taylor Restaurants and a glass of wine, opera patrons will have their shoes shined during intermission for a donation with 100 percent of the proceeds used to feed children in Uganda and feed people locally in Denver. Shine-N-Dine was started by Peter Vogel, the founder of the Culture Prep organization started in 1988 with the mission to feed hundreds of hungry children in a large slum area in Uganda's second largest city, and Emmy Award winning journalist and host of Meals in a Rush on 9News' Colorado & Company, Tawnya Rush. Kirstin Chávez, who performs the title role in Carmen, has sat on Culture Prep's Advisory Board since September 2007. Additional dates that Central City Opera will host Shine-n-Dine include July 16 and 23. For more information, visit www.centralcityopera.org/shinendine, www.cultureprep.com or www.mealsinarush.com.

2011 Ticket and Festival Information
Subscriptions and single tickets are now available for CCO's 2011 Festival. Subscriptions to see 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 during the 2011 Festival start at just $42 and go up to $259. Single tickets range from $20 - $105, and tickets for individual one-act performances start at $10. 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. Packages are also available to see all five shows this summer. 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 the 2011 productions, CCO will be unveiling a new feel, new activities and new ideas that align with its new brand. On select weekends of the Festival season, 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.