Central City Opera Announces 2007 Festival
April 28, 2007

Central City Opera Announces 2007 Festival

Central City Opera Announces 2007 Festival

Commemorating 75th Anniversary with Three New Productions and a World Premiere

Apr 28, 2007

La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi
Poet Li Bai (World Premiere) by Guo Wenjing
Cendrillon (Cinderella) by Jules Massenet
The Saing of Bleecker Street by Gian Carlo Menoiit



Denver, Co. - General/Artistic Director Pelham Pearce announces Central City Opera’s 2007 Festival, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the company, with three Festival productions and the world premiere of a Chinese opera presented as a special offering in partnership with the Asian Performing Arts of Colorado. The 2007 Festival, June 30 to Aug. 19, features Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, the popular Italian opera about a consumptive courtesan and her turbulent love affair; the world premiere of Chinese composer Guo Wenjing’s Poet Li Bai, an opera which portrays the life story of the famous Tang poet as he converses with his friends, Wine and Moon; Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon (Cinderella), the classic tale of Cinderella accompanied by the charming, melodious music of Massenet; and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street, the story of a young woman who performs miracles and her disbelieving brother.

“During our 75th anniversary season, we celebrate the past with a new production of La Traviata, commemorating the opening of the company in 1932 with the play Camille, and look to the future with the exciting world premiere of the Chinese opera Poet Li Bai,” comments General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce. “We will also perform two pieces I have been wanting to produce for some time, Massenet’s beautiful Cendrillon (Cinderella), and the rarely performed The Saint of Bleecker Street, as we present four operas during one festival for the first time in the history of the company.”

The 2007 Festival opens with Verdi’s popular Italian opera, La Traviata, opening June 30 and running through Aug. 16. This production commemorates Central City Opera House Association’s first festival in 1932, which opened to great fanfare with Lillian Gish starring in the lead role of the play Camille. Both Camille and La Traviata are based on the novel La Dame aux Camélias by French writer Alexandre Dumas fils.’ This story of a young courtesan stricken with consumption and her tumultuous love affair with a nobleman in Paris will be presented in a new production directed by Royal Opera House Staff Director Justin Way. La Traviata will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.

The world premiere of Poet Li Bai, presented as a special addition to the Festival in a co-commission with the Asian Performing Arts of Colorado (APAC), will be the second offering with six performances only July 7 through July 28. “It is an honor,” said President of the Asian Performing Arts Council (New York) and APAC, Dr. Martha Liao, “to work with Central City Opera in its 75th year and to present this modern opera by a Chinese composer.” The piece features music by composer Guo Wenjing, honored as one of the top 100 living artists in China, with the Chinese version of the libretto translated by playwright Xu Ying from the original English version by Diana Liao. The opera takes place in China during the Tang dynasty and features the writings of famous poet, Li Bai. On a houseboat on a moonlit night, Li Bai searches for answers to the meaning of life by conversing with his alter egos, Wine and Moon. This new production will be directed by Chinese director, Lin Zhaohua. Denver University alumnus Hao Jiang Tian, who performed at the Metropolitan Opera last December opposite Placido Domingo in The First Emperor, will make his debut with Central City Opera in the title role of poet Li Bai. In addition to APAC, Central City Opera will be collaborating with the chorus of University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, directed by Catherine Sailer, for this premiere. Poet Li Bai will be performed in Chinese with English supertitles.

Massenet’s melodious Cendrillon (Cinderella) will be the third opera performed July 14 through Aug. 19. It tells the classic rags-to-riches fairytale of Cinderella, from her sad existence with an evil stepmother and stepsisters to her night at the ball and living happily ever after with Prince Charming. The design team for Don Giovanni in 2006, director Marc Astafan and set designer Caleb Wertenbaker, return to create this new production. Central City Opera Music Director John Baril conducts. Cendrillon will be performed in French with English supertitles.

Closing the anniversary season is Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street, July 21 through Aug. 18. A rarely performed 20th century opera, this piece was first performed at the Broadway Theatre in New York City in 1954. It is set in the ‘50s in the intensely-Catholic Little Italy of New York City and follows a young woman, who is blessed with seeing visions of angels and the ability to perform miracles, along with her disbelieving brother and his deadly love affair. Catherine Malfitano, who made her directorial debut with Central City Opera’s Madama Butterfly in 2005, returns to direct this new production. Maestro Hal France will conduct, returning to Central City Opera after his most recent appearance conducting L’Italiana in Algeri in 2003. The Saint of Bleecker Street will be performed in English with English supertitles.



For tickets or additional information visit www.centralcityopera.org or call (303) 292-6700


Currently in its 75th year, the 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 pursue its four-part mission to present artistically excellent professional opera; 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. The 2007 75th Anniversary Festival includes Verdi's La Traviata, the world premiere of Guo Wenjing's Poet Li Bai, Massenet's Cinderella and Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street. For tickets and information call (303) 292-6700, (800) 851-8175 or visit www.centralcityopera.org..