Valerie Hamlin, Central City Opera Publicist/Associate Director of Marketing, 303-292-6500, ext. 108, vhamlin@centralcityopera.org
March 08, 2010





2010 Festival Features Three Productions with World Renowned Artists

*=Central City Opera Debut

Denver, Colo.— The slate of internationally renowned artists has been selected for Central City Opera’s (CCO) 2010 Festival featuring three productions of works ranging from classic to contemporary. Running June 26 to Aug. 8, the Festival includes a revival of CCO’s best selling show to date, the popular 2005 production of Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, the tragic tale of one woman betrayed by love and her ultimate sacrifice; Orpheus in the Underworld, the satirical operetta based on the story of Orpheus from Greek mythology featuring the famous “Can-can” dance; and Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, a modern chamber opera about the struggles of a famous actress and the twists and turns of the relationships with her two adult children. A full cast list for each of the 2010 productions is located at the end of this release.                                           

Madama Butterfly (June 26 – Aug. 7) – Giacomo Puccini’s tale of love, betrayal, and sacrifice, the ever-popular Madama Butterfly is the opening production of Central City Opera’s 2010 Festival. Set in early 20th century Japan, the story follows the marriage of a naïve geisha, Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly), and her aloof husband, Naval Officer Lt. Pinkerton. The lush musical score incorporates Japanese themes and includes such favorite arias as “Un bel di vedremo.” Puccini’s opera with text by Giacosa and Illica was a fiasco upon its premiere at La Scala in Milan on Feb. 17, 1904. A revision in May of 1904 led to its status that continues today as one of the most beloved pieces in the operatic genre.

Performing Artists
British maestro Matthew Halls, who made his CCO debut with 2009’s Rinaldo, will return to conduct his first production of Madama Butterfly. Recently, Mr. Halls assumed the position of Artistic Director for the newly formed Retrospect Ensemble based in the U.K. Following their successful May 2009 inaugural performance at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the Ensemble already boasts a new annual season at the prestigious Wigmore Hall in London, and tours to Korea, Israel, Portugal and Switzerland. Korean soprano Yunah Lee* makes her Central City Opera debut as Cio Cio San (Butterfly). Touted by The Sunday Business Post as “ a comprehensively beautiful and believable Butterfly…notable not just for the effortless ease of her singing but for Lee's extraordinary ability to heighten the dramatic tension,” the Juilliard graduate has performed the role of Cio Cio San around the globe. Ms. Lee recently performed the role for De Vlaamse Opera in Belgium as well as Braunschweig Staatstheater in Germany, and returns to New York City Opera for performances this April before singing Cio Cio San in her debut with the Dallas Opera in May. Tenor Chad Shelton returns as Cio Cio San’s love interest, Lt. Benjamin F. Pinkerton, after his most recent performances with the company as Alfredo in La Traviata in 2007 and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (2006). A former CCO Apprentice Artist, Mr. Shelton has performed often with the company as well as across the United States with such companies as San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and New York City Opera, as well as abroad with the Australian Opera, Grand Théâtre de Genève in Switzerland and Opéra National de Lorraine in France, to name a few.

Japanese mezzo soprano Mika Shigematsu returns as Butterfly’s loyal servant, Suzuki, after making her Central City Opera debut in the same role with the 2005 production. A signature role for Ms. Shigematsu, she has performed Suzuki with companies such as Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera and Opera de Montpellier in France, among many others. Baritone Grant Youngblood returns as U.S. Consul Sharpless after his performances as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor last summer. Having performed often with Central City Opera, other recent appearances include Reverend Olin Blitch in Susannah in 2008 and Giorgio Germont in La Traviata in 2007. A role he has performed often, as Sharpless his credits include San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera and Madison Opera. Tenor Joseph Gaines makes his main stage debut with Central City Opera as Goro, the marriage broker, after his appearances in L’Incoronazione di Poppea and The Ballad of Baby Doe while an Apprentice Artist in the company’s Bonfils-Stanton Young Artists Training Program in 2006. This spring, Mr. Gaines performs as Basilio/Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro with Pittsburgh Opera and as Cicillo in I Gioielli Della Madonna with Teatro Grattacielo in New York City. Additional roles in Madama Butterfly will be performed by members of the 2010 Bonfils-Stanton Young Artists Training Program.

Production Team
Catherine Malfitano returns as stage director, having staged this production of Madama Butterfly for its premiere at CCO in 2005. A Central City Opera milestone, the 2005 production is Central City Opera’s best selling production to date. The 2005 CCO landmark was the career directorial debut of Ms. Malfitano, who had also made her debut as a professional singer with CCO in 1972 as Nannetta in Falstaff. Ms. Malfitano’s recent directing credits include Rigoletto at Washington National Opera and Don Giovanni for the Merola Program at San Francisco Opera, along with her upcoming staging of Tosca scheduled for this May with English National Opera. In addition to her 2005 debut, Ms. Malfitano also directed CCO’s The Saint of Bleecker Street in 2007, as well as Lucia di Lammermoor last summer. Canadian Dany Lyne designed the colorful, traditional Japanese sets and costumes for this production. A Dora Award winner for her set design of productions in Toronto, Ms. Lyne has collaborated on over 70 opera, theatre and musical theatre productions in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. David Martin Jacques returns this summer for his tenth festival as Resident Lighting Designer. Mr. Jacques will light all three productions for the 2010 Festival. Having designed more than 300 theatre, opera, television, dance and special event productions, he will also be collaborating with director Catherine Malfitano on the upcoming production of Tosca at the English National Opera this May. The wig/makeup designer for all three productions in 2010 is Alison Mizerski, who returns for her sixth summer in residence with Central City Opera.

Orpheus in the Underworld (July 3 – Aug. 8) – As the second offering in the 2010 Summer Festival, Central City Opera will present a new production of Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld . This marks the first staging by Central City Opera of the operetta famous for its widely recognized “Can-can” music. A work of opéra bouffe, the satire focuses on the story of the character, Orpheus, from Greek mythology. He is sent begrudgingly by the representative Public Opinion to Hades to rescue his estranged wife, Eurydice, from her new lover, Pluto. Jupiter, who learns of Orpheus’ plight from his fellow gods, joins the pursuit and intends to win the hand of Eurydice as well. After employing the magical powers of the gods, Jupiter succeeds in seducing Eurydice to the delight of Orpheus and the dismay of Public Opinion.

Performing Artists
Having made his CCO debut in 2007’s production of La Traviata, Martin André returns to conduct Orpheus in the Underworld. Familiar with conducting Offenbach’s oeuvre, Mr. Andre has previously led his Ritter Blaubart at both the Bregenz Festival and the St. Pölten Festival in Austria. Other recent engagements include Martinů’s Mirandolina at Garsington Opera in England and Janáček’s The Excursions of Mr. Brouček with both Opera North and Scottish Opera. Soprano Joanna Mongiardo returns as the female love interest, Eurydice, in Orpheus in the Underworld after her appearances as Baby Doe in the company’s 50 th anniversary production of The Ballad of Baby Doe in 2006. A past Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Studio and Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera, Ms. Mongiardo has since gone on to perform with New York City Opera, Portland Opera, at the Caramoor Festival and at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Germany. She is joined by baritone Matthew Worth* who makes his Central City Opera debut as Jupiter. Hailed by the New York Times for a voice that is “fully powered and persuasively expressive,” Mr. Worth’s additional engagements in the 2009-10 season include the role of Charlie in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers at Chicago Opera Theater, Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette with New Orleans Opera and the title role in Don Giovanni with Virginia Opera.

Mezzo soprano Joyce Campana returns to Central City Opera as Public Opinion, after her most recent appearances with the company as Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus and Mrs. Jones in Street Scene in 1999. Tenor Ryan MacPherson returns as Aristeus-Pluto after making his Central City Opera debut in 2005 as Hot Biscuit Slim in Paul Bunyan. Mr. MacPherson’s recent appearances include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Lyric Opera Dublin, Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Heurtebise in Phillip Glass’ Orphée with Portland Opera. Rising young tenor Edward Mout makes his mainstage debut with Central City Opera as Orpheus, after performing with the company as an Apprentice Artist in 2005. Recent appearances include Beppe in I Pagliacci (student matinees) and Shepard in Tristan und Isolde both with Lyric Opera Chicago. Mr. Mout also garnered third place in the Midwest Region’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions this February. Baritone Curtis Olds returns as John Styx after his most recent appearances with the company as Frank in Die Fledermaus and Dick McGann in Street Scene in 1999. A former Studio and Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera, Mr. Olds now enjoys a career in both opera and musical theatre having performed in the original German production of Cats, on Broadway in Riverdance, as well as with opera companies such as Arizona Opera, Edmonton Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre, to name a few. Additional roles in Orpheus in the Underworld will be performed by members of the 2010 Bonfils-Stanton Young Artists Training Program.

Production Team
A Central City Opera veteran, Marc Astafan returns to direct Orpheus in the Underworld, after accomplishments with last summer’s Rinaldo, 2007’s Cendrillon and 2006’s Don Giovanni. Colorado audiences may also remember Mr. Astafan for his direction and choreography of H.M.S. Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance and Mikado, all of which were collaborations between Central City Opera and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Astafan recently made two company debuts with critically acclaimed productions including Tosca at Virginia Opera and Romeo et Juliette at Syracuse Opera. Set designer Arnulfo Maldonado* makes his debut with Central City Opera with his timeless designs for Orpheus in the Underworld. Recent designs for Mr. Maldonado include La finta giardiniera at the Alexander Kasser Theater, The Hairy Dutchman at the University of Rochester, and Romeo and Juliet for Classic Stage Company. Sara Jean Tosetti, who designed the “eye-catching styles” for 2007’s Cendrillon labeled a “coup de theatre” by the Rocky Mountain News, and the “luxuriant costumes” for last year’s Rinaldo hailed “nothing short of spectacular” by the Denver Post, returns to design the costumes depicting Greek mythology to the opulence of the Underworld. Ms. Tosetti’s recent credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor with Shakespeare Festival of Saint Louis and Artifice with Complexions Inc. on Broadway.

Three Decembers (July 10 - Aug. 6) – Central City Opera’s final offering in 2010, Three Decembers, was created in 2008 by American composer Jake Heggie. This production marks the debut of Jake Heggie’s work on the Central City Opera stage. The opera’s libretto, written by Gene Scheer ( Thérèse Raquin, An American Tragedy), is based on Terrence McNally’s unpublished play "Some Christmas Letters (and a Couple of Phone Calls)." McNally and Heggie continued their creative partnership for this new opera after their highly acclaimed first collaboration on Dead Man Walking, which premiered in 2000 at San Francisco Opera. In addition to his writing capabilities, Scheer is also a lauded singer who has appeared often with Central City Opera including his recent appearances as Lutz in the 2004 production of The Student Prince and Dr. Pangloss and Voltaire in the 2000 production of Candide. This production marks the first time a work with a libretto by Gene Scheer will be performed at the Central City Opera.

Three Decembers follows the relationships of a dysfunctional American family. A famous actress, Madeline often chose the spotlight over her now adult children, Bea and Charlie, and must deal with the outcome of her actions. Through a series of phone calls, letters, and interactions, family relationships and strife are revealed. The narrative follows three decades (between 1986 and 2006) in three acts.

Performing Artists
CCO Music Director John Baril will serve as conductor, having led a wide range of productions during his tenure with the company; most recently Lucia di Lammermoor last summer. After recently making his Nashville Opera debut conducting Don Giovanni, he also led the young artist performance of The Barber of Seville for Opera Colorado in February and makes his Opera Delaware debut in May conducting Tosca.

Making her role debut as Madeline in Three Decembers, mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle marks her 40th career anniversary in opera this year. With an extensive repertoire of 132 roles from Strauss and Wagner to Bernstein and Sondheim, Ms. Castle’s recent portrayal of roles in contemporary opera have earned her much acclaim. No stranger to the work of Heggie and Scheer, Ms. Castle recorded the duo’s song-cycle “Statuesque” in 2008 for a benefit CD. In 2005, Ms. Castle portrayed the role of Mrs. Bertram in Heggie’s The End of the Affair at Seattle Opera and again in 2007 at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in which performances were recorded for commercial release. A CCO veteran, Ms. Castle returns to Central City Opera after notable appearances as Augusta in 2006’s The Ballad of Baby Doe and Elizabeth in the highly acclaimed 2001 production of Britten’s Gloriana. Soprano Emily Pulley returns to CCO in her role debut as Madeline’s daughter, Beatrice. Also a CCO regular and a former CCO Apprentice Artist, Ms. Pulley most recently appeared with the company in the title role of Susannah in 2008. Having performed a wide range of roles in her career with opera companies from the Metropolitan Opera to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London and everywhere in between, Ms. Pulley has enjoyed many of her biggest successes in contemporary American operas. Her credits in the genre include Lavinia in Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra at New York City Opera, Lysia in Mark Adamo's Lysistrata with Houston Grand Opera and New York City Opera and Sarah Miles in Heggie’s The End of the Affair at Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Baritone Keith Phares* makes his Central City Opera debut as Madeline’s son, Charlie. Having created the role for the world premiere production of Three Decembers, Mr. Phares has previously performed Charlie at both Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera. Other recent appearances included Haly in L’Italiana in Algeri with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Falke in Opera New Jersey’s Die Fledermaus and Ned Keene in Peter Grimes with Washington National Opera.

Production Team
Stage Director Ken Cazan returns to CCO to direct Three Decembers after his recent credits for 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. Cameron Anderson, who made her debut with Central City Opera in 2008 with the popular West Side Story and returned last summer as scenic designer for A Little Night Music, returns with her contemporary set designs depicting windows into the lives of the characters as the past unfolds in Three Decembers. 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. Costume designer Alice Marie Kugler Bristow returns for this production after her design work for A Little Night Music last summer 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.

2010 Festival Tickets on Sale Now!
Subscriptions and single tickets for the 2010 Festival are on sale now. Single tickets for individual shows are $38 to $99 and subscriptions to see all three productions range from $90 to $237. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 303-292-6700 or visit www.centralcityopera.org.

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 present artistically excellent professional opera in an 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. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Central City Opera, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.


Central City Opera 2010 Production Cast Lists

Additional roles TBA *=Central City Opera Debut

Madama Butterfly

Music: Giacomo Puccini

Libretto: Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

Conductor: Matthew Halls

Director: Catherine Malfitano

Scenic & Costume Designer: Dany Lyne

Lighting Designer: David Martin Jacques

Wig/Makeup Designer: Alison Mizerski

Cast in order of vocal appearance

Pinkerton: Chad Shelton

Goro: Joseph Gaines

Suzuki: Mika Shigematsu

Sharpless: Grant Youngblood

Cio Cio San: Yunah Lee*

Cousin: Kaileen Miller

Mother: Julia Tobiska

Uncle Yakuside: Max Wier

Aunt: Jacqueline Brecheen

Imperial Commissioner: Jeffrey Seppala

Registrar: Andrew McLaughlin

The Bonze: Nicholas Nelson

Prince Yamadori: Scott Johnson, Jesse Enderle

Kate Pinkerton: Lindsey Anderson

Orpheus in the Underworld

Music: Jacques Offenbach

Libretto: Ludovic Halévy with revisions by Hector-Jonathan Crémieux

Conductor: Martin André

Director: Marc Astafan

Scenic Designer: Arnulfo Maldonado*

Costume Designer: Sara Jean Tosetti

Lighting Designer: David Martin Jacques

Wig/Makeup Designer: Alison Mizerski

Cast in order of vocal appearance

Public Opinion: Joyce Campana

Eurydice: Joanna Mongiardo

Orpheus: Edward Mout

Aristeus-Pluto: Ryan MacPherson

Cupid: Kaileen Miller

Venus: Monica Boldt

Jupiter: Matthew Worth*

Diana: Jacqueline Brecheen

Juno: Julia Tobiska

Mars: Max Wier

Minerva: Alexandra Loutsion

Pomona: Bridgette Gan

Mercury: Phillippe Pierce

John Styx: Curt Olds

Gods and Goddesses Members of Bonfils-Stanton Young Artists Training Program

Three Decembers

Music: Jake Heggie

Libretto: Gene Scheer

Conductor: John Baril

Director: Ken Cazan

Scenic Designer: Cameron Anderson

Costume Designer: Alice Marie Kugler Bristow

Lighting Designer: David Martin Jacques

Wig/Makeup Designer: Alison Mizerski

Cast in order of vocal appearance

Charlie: Keith Phares*

Beatrice: Emily Pulley

Madeline: Joyce Castle

(Set, costume designs, and headshots available upon request.)