CENTRAL CITY OPERA AWARDED $20,000 GRANT FROM NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTSGrant to Support Central City Opera's 2013 Festival Production of Ned Rorem's Our Town
Denver, CO (December 3, 2012) -- Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), announced that Central City Opera is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to be awarded an NEA Art Works grant this year. The grant for $20,000 will support the company's 2013 Festival production of Ned Rorem's Our Town. An independent agency of the federal government, the NEA advances artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. "I'm proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public including Central City Opera's production of Our Town," said Chairman Landesman. "These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new works, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs." Central City Opera was one of 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff, and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit. "One of Central City Opera's primary goals is to contribute to the strength and vitality of the operatic art form by offering extraordinarily varied subjects and styles of opera and music theater repertoire," explains Central City Opera General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce. "Funding from the NEA makes it possible for us to realize this goal by introducing attendees to significant opera and music theater works, as well as attracting multi-talented vocal and production artists seeking to explore new or less familiar pieces." The grant money will go towards presenting Central City Opera's new production of Ned Rorem's Our Town, opening July 6 and running through July 28, 2013. Rorem, an award-winning composer, worked with librettist J.D. McClatchy to transform Thornton Wilder's classic American play into an opera that premiered in 2006. States the New York Times, Our Town is "an intimate chamber opera to match the play's sparseness...Rorem's music is accessible, singable, and full of integrity." Known as a quintessential American play, Our Town tells the story of the ordinary and extraordinary events in the lives of those in Grover's Corners, a small New Hampshire town in 1901. A story that delves into three critical components of the human experience - daily life, love/marriage, and death/loss - Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work in 1938. Ken Cazan returns to CCO to direct Our Town following his hugely successful partnership with this past Summer Festival's Oklahoma! Other recent credits with the company of 2010's Three Decembers, A Little Night Music in 2009, and the sold-out West Side Story in 2008. 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. Christopher Zemliauskas returns to Central City Opera to conduct Our Town. Currently the Assistant Musical Director of the Opera Program at CU Boulder, Mr. Zemliauskas was the Associate Conductor and Chorus Master for Central City Opera from 2004-2008. He made his debut as a conductor with the company leading A Little Night Music in 2009 and most recently conducted five performances of Carmen in 2011, and Oklahoma! last summer. He has also been on the music staff with Minnesota Opera, San Francisco Opera, Opera Colorado, and Indianapolis Opera. In addition to Our Town, Central City Opera's 2013 Festival will feature a new production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville, directed by Marc Astafan, CCO's administrator of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program; Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Show Boat, which will be performed in Denver only at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and directed by Ray Roderick who will be making his CCO debut. For more information or to purchase tickets for 2013, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700. Next month, on January 16 and 17, 2013, CCO will be collaborating with Ballet Nouveau Colorado (BNC), Colorado Symphony, Mizel Arts and Culture Center, and University of Denver's Newman Center for two special performances of the Colorado premiere of A Journey of the Human Spirit. An inspiring evening of live music, opera, and dance, tickets start at just $26 and can be purchased by calling the Newman Center Box Office at 303-871-7720 or at www.journey.maccjcc.org. The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government that has awarded more than $4 billion on projects of artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the National Endowment for the Arts at arts.gov. Celebrating its 81st year in 2013, Central City Opera is 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 during its annual summer festival; to offer career-entry training to young singers; to produce education and community programs; and to preserve and maintain the Opera House and 30 other Victorian-era properties.