Experience a Colorado Premiere and the Return of a Classic: Festival Opens July 6, 2019

Presenting Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd & Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly

Billy Budd
Sung in English with Supertitles in English
Colorado Premiere Performance
July 13, 19 & 25 at 8 pm; July 17, 21, 23, 27, 31 & Aug. 2 at 2:30 pm

Central City Opera presents the Colorado premiere of Billy Budd by Benjamin Britten, a swashbuckling and thought provoking tale of morality and memory. “Billy Budd is the biggest show we will ever have done inside the theater,” General/Artistic Director Pelham (Pat) Pearce says, “I swear the roof is going to come off!” Billy Budd pans between rambunctious seafaring charm and stark reflection on the indomitable impact of class, privilege and power.

The compositions of Benjamin Britten (1913-76) have been an artistic compass for General/Artistic Director Pat Pearce during his 22-year tenure, and he aims to produce the composer’s entire canon at Central City Opera. Billy Budd is a major landmark along the process, following The Burning Fiery Furnace (2017), The Prodigal Son (2015), The Turn of the Screw (2012), Curlew River (2008), The Rape of Lucretia (2008), Paul Bunyan (2005), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1974, 1977, 2002) and Gloriana (2001). Britten’s work is considered a turning point in music history, and his visceral exploration of morality and human experience resonates with contemporary audiences.  These qualities make experiencing Britten works in the Central City Opera House a life changing experience.

Composer                   Benjamin Britten
Libretto                       Eric Crozier & E. M. Forster
                                     Based on the Novel by Herman Melville

Conductor                   John Baril
Director                       Ken Cazan
Captain Vere              Daniel Norman
Billy Budd                  Joshua Hopkins
John Claggart            Kevin Burdette
Mr. Redburn              Dennis Jesse
Mr. Flint                      Federico de Michelis
Lt. Ratcliffe                 Brian Kontes
Red Whiskers             Bille Bruley
Donald                         Jonathan Hays
Dansker                       Matthew Burns
Novice                          Jonas Hacker
Squeak                         Joseph Gaines


Madama Butterfly
Sung in Italian with Supertitles in English
Last Performed at Central City Opera in 2010
July 6, 18, 26 & 30 at 8 pm; July 10, 12, 14, 16, 20, 24, 28, Aug. 1 & 4 at 2:30 pm

Audiences will rarely experience Puccini’s achingly beautiful Madama Butterfly in a venue as intimate as Central City Opera’s 550-seat jewel box theater. Last performed by Central City Opera in 2010, Madama Butterfly is one of the best-loved operas in the repertoire and regularly ranks among the top ten most produced operas nationwide. The plot traces the title character’s life from marriage to an American naval lieutenant at 15 years old, determined motherhood, to an ultimate reclamation of self through her culture’s lethal code of honor.

Puccini is known for exoticism — many of his most famous operas represent cultures outside his native Italy, spanning Japan, China and even the American West. Today, Puccini’s perspective on a Japanese protagonist serves as a cautionary tale against a narrow worldview and inspires audiences to seek perspectives outside their own experience.

Composer                   Giacomo Puccini
Librettist                    Giuseppe Giacosa & Luigi Illica
Conductor                  Adam Turner
Director                      Alison Moritz
Cio-Cio San                Raquel González
Suzuki                         Annie Rosen
Pinkerton                   Cody Austin
Sharpless                    Troy Cook
Goro                            Joseph Gaines

Double Bill: The Blessed Damozel & Litanies to the Black Virgin

July 23, 24, 31 & August 1 at 1 pm

Sung in French

The Blessed Damozel
Composer Claude Debussy
Libretto Dante Rossetti, translated by Gabriel Sarrazin

Litanies to the Black Virgin
Composer Francis Poulenc

The Double Bill of stunning works will be semi-staged and will feature women of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. Casting announced in 2019.

New subscriptions are available December 1, 2018, and single tickets go on sale April 1, 2019. For tickets, email boxoffice@centralcityopera.org or call (303) 292-6700.

Experience More during Central City Opera’s 2019 Festival

Opening Night Celebrations
Opening nights will include a behind-the-scenes look at Madama Butterfly or Billy Budd, along with cocktails and dinner preceding the performance.

Lunch & a Song
30 minute solo performances preceded by lunch to whet your vocal appetite.

Short Works
Engaging short operatic scenes of operas performed by Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists.

Opera Notes
Free pre-performance talks 45 minutes before Central City Opera main stage shows.

After select performances, engage with artists about the main stage productions during special talkbacks.

Artists Mix & Mingle
Mix and mingle with the artists after matinee performances. Enjoy a cash bar and the chance to meet the stars.

Impromptu performances by Central City Opera artists and a cash bar after select weekend evenings shows.

Opera Inside Out Backstage Tours
Behind the scenes tours for all ages.

Nina Odescalchi Kelly Family Matinee
A child-friendly matinee of Madama Butterfly performed by Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists with narration before each act, followed by an autograph session.

Boomer Bus
Add the Boomer Bus package for an insider’s look at Central City Opera. Ride the bus up to Central City and then enjoy an exclusive conversation with a member of the production team, buffet lunch and a glass of champagne prior to the performance.

Opera Bus
Leave the driving to us. Add the Opera Bus for a scenic drive to Central City.

About Central City Opera
Founded in 1932 with roots going back to the mid-1800s, Central City Opera (CCO) is entrenched in Colorado’s rich history and the history of performing arts in the United States and abroad. CCO is the fifth oldest professional opera company in the country and is renowned for its exquisite world-class productions, competitive and robust young artist training program, and creative educational and community engagement activities. Its annual summer festival, only 35 miles west of Denver, takes place at 8,500 feet above sea level in the Colorado mountain town of Central City, where the company owns and maintains 29 Victorian-era properties, including the intimate 550-seat jewel box opera house built in 1878. Central City Opera serves more than 42,000 students, families and seniors throughout Colorado and Wyoming with educational year-round programming, including live performances, workshops and residencies. In conjunction with the town of Central City, Colorado, the organization is focused on attracting diverse audiences to the town by offering a multitude of rich cultural experiences with a long-term goal of establishing a destination arts district. For information, visit www.centralcityopera.org or follow CCO on Facebook, Instagram (@ccityopera) and Twitter (@ccityopera). Use the hashtag #CentralCityOpera to engage. For tickets, email boxoffice@centralcityopera.org or call (303) 292-6700.

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