CENTRAL CITY OPERA ANNOUNCES ITS THIRD OFFERING FOR 2011 FESTIVAL
Denver (June 22, 2011) - As its final presentation in 2011, Central City Opera (CCO) will produce three one act operas: Gianni Schicchi by Puccini, The Breasts of Tiresias (Les Mamelles de Tiresias) by Poulenc and Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins (Die sieben Todsünden). These three productions will be presented as alternating double-bills (two shows per evening). The productions start on July 9, with performances continuing through Aug. 5. Gianni Schicchi will be performed in Italian with English supertitles, The Breasts of Tiresias (Les Mamelles de Tiresias) will be performed in French with English supertitles, and The Seven Deadly Sins (Die sieben Todsünden) will be performed in German with English supertitles.
For the first time, audiences have the option of purchasing tickets to one, two or three of these one acts, so they can stay for just part of the evening or attend multiple nights for more flexibility. With each one act opera lasting only an hour and tickets starting at $10, this format is also ideal for those attending the opera for the first time.
“You have to try opera to be moved by it. No one forgets his or her first time. This statement holds true for your first opera, your first rock concert or the first time you catch some really great jazz in a club. However, high ticket prices sometimes deter people from trying opera, and why the one acts are ideal with tickets starting at $10,” says CCO General/Artistic Director Pat Pearce. “Opera is great live entertainment that has to be experienced, and we are confident that if people try it once, opera will move them.”
Production Team (for all three one act productions)
The director of last summer’s Three Decembers, Ken Cazan returns to CCO to direct the three one acts after his other recent credits with CCO 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 including Possible Dangerous Side Effects with Little Edy Broad Theatre, and Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot, at the University of Southern California. Says Cazan, “the main thrust of the one-acts is the search for home and one’s place in a family without losing self identity. The post WWII stylistic setting, combined with Dadaist art, sets the stage for the evening. The concepts of survival and procreation (i.e. rebuilding a society that has been ravaged by war) become tantamount.”
Celebrating his 20th Festival with the company in 2011, CCO Music Director John Baril will serve as conductor for all three one act operas. Maestro Baril has led a wide range of productions during his tenure with the company, including last summer’s performances of Three Decembers. 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 2010 and made his Opera Delaware debut in May 2010 conducting Tosca. And in 2012, Mr. Baril will conduct Opera Colorado’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro.
Cameron Anderson, who made her debut with Central City Opera in 2008 with the popular West Side Story and designed the sets for 2009’s A Little Night Music and last summer’s Three Decembers, returns as scenic designer for each of the one act operas. Having designed extensively for both opera and theater, her recent designs include La Cenerentola for Glimmerglass Opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Maria Padilla at Minnesota Opera. The same set will be fashioned in different ways to be used for all three one-act productions. Costume designer Alice Marie Kugler Bristow returns for the three one acts following her work for last summer’s critically acclaimed Three Decembers, 2009’s A Little Night Music and West Side Story in 2008. Having designed for the company many times, Ms. Bristow is also an Assistant Professor of Costume Design at Berry College.David Martin Jacques returns this summer for his 11th festival as Resident Lighting Designer. 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 are Jason Allen* and Ronell Oliveri*, both making theirCentral 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.
Puccini’s Gianni Schicchiis a comedic one act opera with an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano, based on a story referred to in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The story, set in Florence, Italy, follows the family of Buoso Donati, an extremely wealthy man who dies and leaves his fortune to the local monks. The family begs the cunning Gianni Schicchi to help them procure Donati’s fortune, and hijinks ensue. Best known for the soprano aria, “O mio babbino caro (Oh, my dear Papa),” the opera is the third portion of Puccini’s trilogy of one act operas, Il trittico.
A 2010 Grammy winner, baritone Daniel Belcher returns to Central City Opera as the sly and clever Gianni Schicchi after his performances with the company in 2001 as John Brooke in Little Women and Henry Cuffe in Gloriana. Also a past Central City Opera Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist, Mr. Belcher has recently performed the roles of Taddeo in L'Italiana in Algeri with Utah Symphony & Opera, Dandini in La Cenerentola with Utah Opera, and Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Soprano Joanna Mongiardo returns as Lauretta after making her Central City Opera debut in 2006 as Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe and returning last summer as Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld. Also a past Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist, Ms. Mongiardo’s recent appearances include Anne Trulove in A Rake's Progress at Toledo Opera, and Rosalina in Il Re with Teatro Grattacielo. In the 2011/2012 season, Ms. Mongiardo will join the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Manon. Mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell* makes her debut with Central City Opera as Zita. She has performed with Long Beach Opera in roles including The Fox in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen, Ramiro in Vivaldi’s Motezuma(US Premiere), Drummer in Ullman’s Emperor of Atlantis, Nancy T’ang in Adams’ Nixon in China, Neris in Cherubini’s Medea and Carmen in Brook’s La Tragédie de Carmen. Rising young tenor star, Norman Reinhardt*, makes his debut with CCO as Rinuccio. Reinhardt has performed with Opera Colorado in roles including Tamino in The Magic Flute and Ernesto in Don Pasquale, and with Leipzig Opera as Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Alfredo in La Traviata, and Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
The Breasts of Tiresias (Les Mamelles de Tirésias)
A surrealist opéra bouffe by Francis Poulenc, The Breasts of Tiresias (Les Mamelles de Tirésias) is based on a play of the same name by Guillaume Apollinaire, and set in the imaginary town of Zanzibar, near Monte Carlo. It follows the story of Thérèse who tires of her life as a submissive woman and becomes the male Tirésias when her breasts turn into balloons and float away. She then tries to conquer the world as General Tiresias; meanwhile her husband finds a way to bear children without women. The Breasts of Tiresias (Les Mamelles de Tirésias) first premiered at the Opéra Comique in 1947. The comic opera was a needed relief for Parisians in the midst of war.
Baritone Robert Gardner returns to Central City Opera for the role of Le Directeur, following his performance as Elder McLean in CCO’s 2008 production of Susannah. Appearing with numerous opera houses and symphony orchestras in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Gardner was the 2007 winner of the Lili Boulanger Memorial Award. Soprano Joanna Mongiardo, who also will play the role of Lauretta inGianni Schicchi, plays the title role of Thérèse. Also starring as Gianni in Gianni Schicchi, baritone Daniel Belcher will play the role of Le Mari, her husband.
The Seven Deadly Sins (Die sieben Todsünden)
Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins (Die sieben Todsünden) is a satirical ballet chante, or “sung ballet,” in seven scenes. It was the last collaboration between Weill and Bertolt Brecht, who wrote the libretto and who are also known for the Threepenny Opera, which includes the beloved jazz standard, “Mack the Knife.” It follows the story of Anna and her split personalities, the singer (Anna I), and the dancer (Anna II). Starting from the banks of the Mississippi in Louisiana, Anna travels to seven big cities, running into a sin in each city, as she searches for money to build a home for her family on the river. The opera was first performed in 1933 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, and was directed, produced, and choreographed by George Balanchine.
Mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell* performs the role of Anna I, tenor Norman Reinhardt*plays the role of the Father, or Tenor I, and tenor Philippe Pierce plays Tenor II, or Brother. Baritone Robert Gardner plays the role of Baritone, or Brother, and bass Andrew Harris plays the role of Bass, or Mother. Returning members, both Mr. Pierce and Mr. Harris are 2011 Apprentice Artists in CCO’s Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. In collaboration with Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Sarah Tallman makes her Central City Opera debut performing the dancing roll of Anna II.
SinFest (July 16 & 24)
CCO patrons will also have an opportunity to getin touch with their inner sinner this summer at this progressively sinful experience. See the one-hour Kurt Weill opera, The Seven Deadly Sins, followed by a sinful evening of dance, slam poetry, experiential art, swing dance, and an indulgence of food and the 7 Deadly Zins wine at CCO’s very own Lucifer's Lair bar in Central City. Tickets are just $50. Attendees can also come and go in style with a Party Bus for an additional $20 per person.
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 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 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.
Central City Opera’s 2011 Festival sponsors include the CCOHA Endowment Fund, Lanny and Sharon Martin, Avenir Foundation, 5280, 9News, The Denver Post Community, and the Citizens of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.