The Talented Teens of the Summer Performing Arts Intensive

This week is one of my favorite times of the entire year. As production/stage manager of Central City Opera’s Education & Community Programs, I get to witness some pretty transformative experiences as young students enjoy their first exposure to classical music. But probably the most touching, powerful and uplifting moments for me happen during our Summer Performing Arts Intensive. For two weeks, in a collaboration with Linda Weise and our friends at the Colorado Springs Conservatory, we bring together approximately 20 teenagers for an amazing experience.

The students met just shy of two weeks ago and spent the first week and a half of their Intensive in residency in Colorado Springs. In addition to classes in acting, movement and more, they work with composer Roger Ames (who taught our Build an Opera educators’ professional development class the week before) and librettist Jeff Gilden to create an original opera. This year’s opera is inspired by a Waldo Canyon Fire survivor, asking the question, “If you had to pick your most prized possessions to fill just one box, what would you pick?”

The preview of their original opera “Re-Collections” was presented Tuesday night in Colorado Springs.

After roughly ten days in the Springs, the students arrive in Central City. They enjoy all three mainstage operas of the 2012 Festival as well as Lunch & A Song and Short Works, and they also become fully-immersed company members of the Central City Opera. While continuing to rehearse their scenes program and original opera, these talented teens not only observe classes of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, but also participate in numerous private masterclasses with CCO staff.

Movement Coach Melinda Sullivan leads them in the “Farmer & The Cowman” dance from Oklahoma!
Andy Moss shows the intricacies of unarmed stage combat to the Intensive students.


Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program Administrator Marc Astafan coaches a section of the students’ original opera.
Principal Coach Michael Baitzer gives some advice on diction and vocal production.
Music Director John Baril works one-on-one with Chloe on her aria.

The two-week program culminates with two public performances of the students’ scenes program “Salt of the Earth” and their original opera “Re-collections,” this Friday (today) and Saturday at 4pm in the Foundry. Tickets are just $5 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 303-292-6700. Check it out – you’ll be amazed!

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