Denver, Colo.- Central City Opera (CCO) opens its 2013 Festival with a new production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Directed by CCO’s Administrator of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program Marc Astafan, the production opensJune 29, with performances continuing through July 27.
One of the most beloved and performed operas throughout the world, The Barber of Seville had its world premiere in 1816 in Italy and was one of the first Italian operas performed in the United States.
This Italian comic opera in two acts about a matchmaking barber is set among the everyday places and characters of 17th century Seville, Spain. It tells the story of Rosina, a young woman who is a ward to an older man, Dr. Bartolo, who plans to marry her when she is of age so he can have her dowry. But Rosina is in love with the poor student, Lindoro, who has been serenading Rosina and is really the nobleman Count Almaviva in disguise. Figaro, the barber of Seville, is asked by Almaviva to help him lure Rosina so he can tell her he loves her. Figaro’s advice and actions lead to the adventures and mistaken identities for which the opera is known. The Barber of Seville will be performed at the Central City Opera House in Italian with English supertitles.
Live Broadcast on Colorado Public Radio: June 29
Colorado Public Radio’s (CPR) Classical Music station will feature a live broadcast of Central City Opera’s opening-night performance of The Barber of Seville on June 29. This will be the third live broadcast on CPR from the historic Central City Opera House. CPR Classical Music Host Charley Samson will present The Barber of Seville broadcast and provide interviews with performers and insightful commentary throughout the program. The broadcast begins at 7:55 p.m. prior to the start of the opera at 8 p.m. Listeners can tune in to: Denver 88.1 FM, Boulder 99.9 FM, Pueblo 91.9 FM, Colorado Springs 94.7 FM, Glenwood Springs 90.5 FM, Aspen 101.5 FM, Western Slope 103.3 FM, Dove Creek 88.7 FM, Gunnison 89.1 FM, Cortez 102.5 FM, Crystal River Valley / Old Snowmass 93.9 FM, Thomasville 93.7 FM, and online at www.CPR.org.
CCO’s Administrator of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program Marc Astafan will direct the 2013 production of The Barber of Seville. Marc Astafan is a respected director, educator, mentor and coach who has dedicated most of his career to the development of young opera singers in the United States. Astafan has directed critically acclaimed productions across the country, and his CCO directing credits include Tosca in 1998, Don Giovanni in 2006, Cendrillon in 2007, Rinaldo in 2009, Orpheus in the Underworld in 2010 and The Medium in 2012. Mr. Astafan also worked with CCO as an Assistant Stage Director for multiple shows from 1994 to 2005. In addition, he directed the collaborations with CCO and The Colorado Symphony for A Night at the Opera in 1997, The Jerome Kern Songbook in 2002, HMS Pinafore in 2004, The Pirates of Penzance in 2005, and The Mikado in 2006. 2012 was Mr. Astafan’s first year as Administrator of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, a national model for the professional development of young singers that provides 10 weeks of rigorous training and sessions in career management with rehearsals and opera performance opportunities in main stage and additional festival productions.
Set Designer Arnulfo Maldonado returns to Central City Opera for The Barber of Seville following his CCO debut for 2010’s Orpheus in the Underworld. Mr. Maldonado was the Set Designer for La finta giardiniera at the Alexander Kasser Theater, The Hairy Dutchman at the University of Rochester, and Romeo and Juliet for Classic Stage Company. Most recently, he has designed sets for Tosca with the Anchorage Opera and Electra/Orestes with Centro Cultural Universidad del Pacifico. He was also the Costume Designer for Betrayal with the Perseverance Theatre. Costume Designer Sara Jean Tosetti returns after designing the celebrated costumes for 2011’s Carmen, the “eye-catching styles” for 2007’s Cendrillon, the “luxuriant costumes” for 2009’s Rinaldo hailed by the Denver Post as “nothing short of spectacular,” and 2010’s Orpheus in the Underworld costumes also touted by the Denver Post as having a “showy, masquerade-ball sensibility”. A Princess Grace Award recipient, Ms. Tosetti’s recent credits include The Exonerated with Culture Project, Jane Eyre with Focus Features/BBC Films, 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 13th festival as Resident Lighting Designer. He has been lauded for his design of more than 300 theatre, opera, television, dance and special event productions. The Wig/Makeup Designer is Dave Bova, who made his CCO debut in 2012. Mr. Bova’s recent work has included Cabaret and Death of a Salesman with The Dallas Theater Center, Sweeney Todd with Barrington Stage, and Annie Get Your Gun with the Ravinia Festival.
Celebrating his 22nd Festival with the company, CCO Music Director John Baril will serve as conductor of The Barber of Seville, having led a wide range of productions during his tenure with the company, including last year’s performance of La bohème, 2011’s triple bill of one-act operas, and 2010’s performances of Three Decembers. Chorus Master for Opera Colorado since 2003, Mr. Baril made his official Opera Colorado conducting debut leading Le nozze di Figaro in 2012 and conducted the young artist performance of The Barber of Seville for the company in February 2010. He made his Opera Delaware debut in May 2010 conducting Tosca, and returned last fall for Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. Levi Hammer* will be making his CCO debut as associate conductor for all three productions. Mr. Hammer also currently serves as assistant conductor of the Akron Symphony and music director of the Akron Youth Symphony. Previously, Mr. Hammer spent three seasons as associate conductor of the Castleton Festival, has assisted George Manahan at the Aspen Music Festival, and is a regular cover conductor at the Atlanta Symphony, where he has assisted Robert Spano, among others.
A 2010 Grammy Award winner, baritone Daniel Belcher returns to CCO as Figaro, the barber of Seville, following his roles as the sly and clever Gianni Schicchi (2011), The Husband in The Breasts of Tiresias (2011), John Brooke in Little Women (2001), and Henry Cuffe in Gloriana (2001). A past CCO Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist, Mr. Belcher has recently performed the roles of Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri with both the Utah Symphony & Opera and Houston Grand Opera; Dandini in La Cenerentola and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Utah Opera; Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City; and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet with Opera Colorado.
“Figaro is like an old friend to me, particularly Rossini’s Figaro,” says Belcher, who has previously sung the role of Figaro with Arizona Opera, Portland Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Utah Opera, to name a few. “There is one secret to making Figaro complete, which is making everything sound vocally and seem physically at ease. Somehow, Figaro can always get out of situations. The moment it looks hard, it undermines the character. Everything must be a complete joy.
A sought after and versatile lyric mezzo soprano, Jennifer Rivera* will make her CCO debut performing the role of Rosina, a role she has performed with numerous companies, including the New York City Opera, Florentine Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Dayton Opera, Portland Opera, and the Berlin Staatsoper. Other recent credits include the title role of Stellidaura in La Stellidaura vendicante with the Innsbruck Early Music Festival, Mrs. Williamson in The Difficulty of Crossing a Field with the Nashville Opera, and Nerone in Agrippina with Berlin Staatsoper.
The tenor role of Count Almaviva will be double-cast. Making his CCO debut, David Portillo* will perform the role for performances between June 29 – July 17. Mr. Portillo has previously performed the role of Count Almaviva with the Pittsburgh Opera, Tulsa Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Having established a reputation as an accomplished vocalist with uncommon technical facility, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2009 Shoshana Foundation Grant, 2009 American Opera Society of Chicago Award, and is a two-time recipient of a Shouse Career Development Grant from the Wolf Trap Foundation. His recent credits include: Tonio in La fille du regiment with the Ft. Worth Opera; David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Percy in Anna Bolena with the Minnesota Opera. Also making his professional CCO debut, Javier Abreu* will perform the role of Count Almaviva, for the July 21, 23 and 27 performances. A past CCO Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice and Young Artist, his recent credits include the role of Ramiro in La Cenerentola with Nashville Opera and Lyrique en Mer; Ernesto in Don Pasquale with Opera Santa Barbara, and Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville with the Lismore Music Festival.
Returning after his role as Pandolfe in Cendrillon (2007), The Doctor in Vanessa (2005) and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2002), bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi will perform the role of the doctor and Rosina’s guardian, Doctor Bartolo. A frequent artist with the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Carfizzi’s credits there include performances of La bohème, Turandot and Andrea Chénier. Other recent credits include Henry Kissinger in Nixon in China with the San Francisco Opera, Fra Melitone in La forza del destino with Oper der Stadt Köln, and Jailer in Dialogues des carmélites with the Metropolitan Opera. Making his CCO debut, Russian bass Grigory Soloviov* will perform the role of music teacher Don Basilio, which he performed with the Washington National Opera in 2009. A graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory and the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Mr. Soloviov has won or placed as a finalist in many prestigious vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, the XIII International Tchaikovsky Competition, the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, and the Giulio Gari Foundation Competition.
Hailed as a “promising young soprano” by the Los Angeles Times, Alexandra Loutsion* makes her professional CCO debut in the role of Berta, servant to Doctor Bartolo. A past CCO Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist and recipient of the John Moriarty Award, Ms. Loutsion continues to be recognized for her passionate performances and vocal versatility as a rising star on the operatic and concert stage. Her recent credits include Mother/Witch in Hänsel und Gretel with the Pittsburgh Opera, the cover role of Anna in Maometto II with the Santa Fe Opera, and the cover role of Tosca in Tosca with the Santa Fe Opera.
Artists in CCO’s Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, celebrating 35 years in 2013, round out the remainder of the cast. Baritone Shea Owens will be playing the role of Fiorello; and tenor William Dwyer performs as an Officer.
Central City Opera 2013 Festival – Tickets on Sale Now!
Central City Opera House – June 29 to July 28
The Barber of Seville opens the Festival in Central City on June 29 and runs through July 27. Ned Rorem’s operatic adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town about not-so-ordinary life in small town America is the second offering opening July 6 and running at the Opera House through July 28.
Show Boat at Denver’s Buell Theatre – August 6 to 11
Central City Opera comes to Denver for seven consecutive performances of Show Boat, Kern and Hammerstein II’s Broadway classic slice-of-life musical of workers on a Mississippi showboat at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex from Tuesday, Aug. 6 to Sunday, Aug. 11.
In addition to its slate of operas for 2013, CCO will continue to present innovative initiatives that will engage a broader audience with exciting enhancements to the Festival experience. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.
Celebrating its 81st 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.