2022 Family Series
Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World
Music by Joe Illick
Libretto by Mark Campbell
Based on the children’s book by Laurence Anholt and inspired by real life
Mariana, a young girl living in the heart of Mexico City, whose home is full of beautiful artwork by Frida Kahlo. She is encouraged by her family to visit Kahlo and have her portrait painted the renowned artist, but is terrified at the thought. There are rumors that Frida keeps skeletons above her bed and exotic pets in her Blue House — people have even said that she is a witch. As Kahlo begins to paint Mariana in her studio, this fear quickly disappears, and a friendship blooms between the two. Mariana meets Frida’s husband, Diego Rivera, and learns of the horrible accident that almost killed her new friend. Through the magic of opera, Frida’s parrot, dog, and monkey all sing, and the audience is invited to join in on the fun as well.
35 minutes; performed mostly in English
Saturday, May 7
6363 W. 35th Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
$5 ages 0-12
$12 ages 13 and above
HEALTH & SAFETY:
Patrons will be expected to comply with health and safety guidelines as directed by the venue and Central City Opera. CCO will clearly communicate guidelines with patrons before the date of performance.
Lyric baritone Adam Ewing (he/him/his) is an Affiliate Professor of Voice at Regis University. As well as coaching, accompanying, conducting theatrical performances, and teaching voice, Ewing has performed with Loveland Opera, the Colorado Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, Boulder Philharmonic, Opera on Tap, and many other local companies. In addition to dramatic works, Ewing is an avid performer of art song. He studied with Stephanie Blythe and Dr. Alan Smith at the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar in Potsdam, NY, and attended the Vancouver International Song Institute. He holds degrees from Northwest Missouri State University, Indiana University, and CU-Boulder.
Role(s):Eduardo, Sr. (Mariana’s Father)/Bonito the Parrot/Diego Rivera (April 2nd & 3rd performances)
Hailing from Interlochen, Michigan, baritone ZEKY NADJI (he/him/his) most recently appeared in the title role in Boulder Opera’s 2021 Le nozze di Figaro and will sing Truffaldin/Lakai in Opera Steamboat’s 2022 Ariadne auf Naxos. He received the Jack Race Young Singer Encouragement Award (MONC-Rocky Mountain Regionals) in 2020. In 2019, he appeared as baritone soloist in the Faure Requiem with Denver Pro Chorale and covered the role of Pa in Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up while attending the Aspen Music Festival and School. That summer he also covered The Sacristan in Tosca (Bravo! Vail Music Festival) under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Zeky holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Denver.
Role(s):Eduardo, Sr. (Mariana’s Father)/Bonito the Parrot/Diego Rivera (April 24th performance)
Mezzo-soprano KIM STANISH (she/her/hers) is a native of Denver. Recent engagements include La Bergè/La Chatte/L’Écurueil in Boulder Opera’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges and Nancy in Albert Herring with Miami Classical Music Festival. In 2019 she played Lupe Marin/Mrs. Rockerfeller in Opera Steamboat’s Frida. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was to debut in the title role of Carmen at the 2020 Miami Classical Music Festival and as mezzo-soprano soloist in the Choirs of America’s Masterworks: The Music of Dan Forrest at Lincoln Center. Kim holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Denver (June, 2021) and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy from Western Washington University.
Role(s):Alicia (Mariana's Mother)/Frida Kahlo
Originally from Ecuador, Daniela Guzmán (she/ella/hers) made her professional operatic debut in Ecuador’s Teatro Nacional Sucre in 2010 as Gianetta in The Elixir of Love. She has since performed leading roles in The Marriage of Figaro, Cosí fan tutte, Carmen, Suor Angelica and, most recently, in Viardot’s Cinderella. Daniela advocates for the greater visibility of Latin American and Spanish music, incorporating zarzuela and Latin American art song into her performances. She has an Artist Diploma from the University of Denver, a Master of Music from Texas Christian University and Bachelor of Music from the University of Denver.
Role(s):Rosita (Mariana’s grandmother)/Fulang Chang (the monkey)
Equally at home on the operatic stage and the concert hall, Melaina Mills (she/her/hers) appears regularly throughout the United States. In early 2021 she sang The Governess in an innovative filmed version of The Turn of the Screw with The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. As an emerging artist at the prestigious Seagle Festival in 2018 and 2019, she made role debuts as Jocelyn Jordan (The Manchurian Candidate) and Paquette (Candide). This season, she is excited to perform with Opera Colorado and Central City Opera in her home city of Denver.
Joshua Zabatta (he/him/his) never imagined that singing while driving a tractor on a Montana farm would eventually lead to a singing career. After graduate school, Zabatta emerged onto the professional scene and quickly received acclaim as a “terrific soloist” by the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Since relocating to Colorado, Joshua has sung roles including Harry in La Fanciulla del West (Opera Colorado), Don José in Carmen and Fernando in Goyescas (Boulder Opera), and Harlekin in Der Kaiser von Atlantis (People’s Theatre of Denver). Mr. Zabatta currently serves as Faculty for Rushmore Music Festival.
Role(s):Eduardo, Jr. (Mariana’s brother)/Mr. Xoloti (the dog)
Iliana Lucero Barron
Iliana Lucero Barron (She/Ella/ Hers) is a bilingual Latinx teaching artist, creative, and advocate based in Denver, Colorado. Graduating from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2016, Iliana became a first generation college graduate. Since then, she has worked in multiple capacities throughout the Colorado theatre community with organizations including The Denver Center for Performing Arts, Mirror Image Arts, Colorado Theatre Guild, Casa Milagro Youth Solutions, and more. Recently, she directed IDEA Stages and Control Group Productions’ Sojourners Project: Busing! and performed in the Denver Center’s Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Education Tour.
Argentinian-American Steven Aguiló-Arbues (he/el/his) enjoys his various roles as a conductor, vocal coach, pianist, and producer. He has served on the music staffs of Sarasota Opera, Opera Colorado, The Atlanta Opera, San Diego Opera, Central City Opera, Boulder Opera Company, Crested Butte Music Festival, Festival Amadeus, Miami Music Festival and Centro Studi Lirica in Italy. Steven has also worked at academic institutions including Manhattan School of Music, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He earned his Professional Studies Certificate and Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music.
Shay Dite (she/her/hers) is a freelance scenic, costume, prop designer and artisan from Fort Collins, Colorado. Her most recent work include assistant prop master for Central City Opera’s 2021 productions of Carousel and Rigoletto and the prop master for Curious Theater’s production of American Son, currently showing November 6 through December 11 in Denver. She is thrilled to be part of Central City Opera’s educational production of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World and hopes you enjoy the show.
Ray Vann (they/them/theirs) is a Colorado State University graduate with a degree in drawing and philosophy. Currently located in Fort Collins, they are passionate about building community and making expressive art. Ray is inspired to create through watercolor and acrylic painting, cooking, gardening, and playing guitar. Central City Opera’s production of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World is their first step into scenic painting and set design.
Jaime McNear (she/her/hers) is a Denver-raised costume and props enthusiast who got into live theatre for the life-sized dolls and stayed for the camaraderie and teamwork. A smattering of her recent works includes The Arsonists with Benchmark Theatre and The Vibrator Play with Fearless Theatre. This is her first time working with Central City Opera and she’s thrilled!
Emily Murdock, Director of Education, has been with Central City Opera since 2011, bringing opera performances and education to schools and communities across Colorado. An accomplished soprano, Emily has performed across the country with regional opera, choral and symphonic organizations. She is also the host and producer of the Central City Opera Podcast, available at ccopodcast.org. Emily holds music performance degrees from the University of Montana and the University of Colorado at Boulder. As someone who is passionate about inspiring the next generation of storytellers, Emily is thrilled to produce this new work for Central City Opera’s Education and Community Engagement program.
Margaret Ozaki Graves
An advocate for opera education, Margaret Ozaki Graves (she/her/hers) works as an arts administrator, teaching artist and performer. Following work as cultural consultant to Central City Opera’s 2019 production of Madama Butterfly and six seasons as a Touring Artist, Meg began as Education Coordinator. Performance highlights include Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera, Arizona Opera, Cincinnati Opera, in Germany, and across Colorado. She’s taught at UW-Milwaukee, Ithaca College, CCM Prep. Meg holds a Certificate in Diversity & Inclusion from Cornell University along with music degrees from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (DMA-Voice Performance Studies/Opera and Japanese Aesthetics & Music, MM) and Lawrence University (BM). Raised in Golden, Colorado, Meg grew up performing Japanese taiko drums with her family’s troupe.