Colorado Music Hall of Fame Announces 2024 Induction Class: Opera in the High Country
Central City Opera (CCO), along with opera singers/professionals Cynthia Lawrence and Keith Miller, as well as the late conductor/artistic director John Moriarty, will be inducted into Colorado Music Hall of Fame (“The Hall”) in its first “destination” induction to be held in Central City, Colorado, on Saturday, June 29, 2024. The event is being hosted in partnership with the City of Central and Central City Opera and will be held in conjunction with the opening night of The Pirates of Penzance.
“We are deeply honored to be receiving this recognition,” says Scott Finlay, Central City Opera’s President and CEO. “Central City Opera’s 92 years of rich musical heritage is a testament to the dedication of our supporters, volunteers, artists, and staff who have made this milestone possible. This distinction is a tribute to their commitment.”
Central City Opera is the fifth-oldest opera company in the U.S. originating in 1932 in the small mountain town of Central City, a scenic 35-mile drive west of Denver. Operating out of the Central City Opera House, a National Historic Landmark predating the opera company by 54 years, CCO’s annual summer festival showcases an impressive talent pool of artists, paired with quality music education and training. Created in 1978 by John Moriarty, CCO’s Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program is a national model for the professional development of young singers. With only 30 artists selected from 1,000 applicants each year, the competitive program has trained many of our country’s most notable opera professionals, including fellow inductees Cynthia Lawrence and Keith Miller.
Cynthia Lawrence currently serves as the Endowed Chair for Voice and Opera at the University of Kentucky School of Music. An alumna of University of Colorado Boulder, the soprano went on to become a principal artist with dozens of opera companies across the globe, as well as here in her Colorado, including Central City Opera, Colorado Opera Festival and Fort Collins Opera. Boasting over 70 performances with Maestro Luciano Pavarotti, Cynthia Lawrence has taken on some of opera’s most iconic parts. As a dedicated music educator, Lawrence conducts Master Classes and serves as a judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Keith Miller is from one of Colorado’s smallest towns, Ovid, with a population of less than 300. A star football player at the University of Colorado Boulder, Miller went on to play professional football before shifting careers to opera. Once an Apprentice Artist at Central City Opera, Miller has had an impressive musical career across the U.S., from here in Colorado serving as the Crested Butte Music Festival Opera Director for six years to the iconic Metropolitan Opera in New York City, performing as a principal artist for 18 years.
Conductor, artistic director, educator, vocal coach, singer and pianist John Moriarty was a leader in Central City Opera for more than forty years. Holding a bachelor’s degree and honorary doctor of music from the New England Conservatory of Music, Moriarty has two named opera scholarships at the Conservancy: the John Moriarty Presidential Scholarship, and the John Moriarty Encouragement Award. In his adopted town of Central City, Moriarty Lane is named after him, as is the John Moriarty Award of the Central City Opera. He was also the recipient of the National Opera Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Moriarty passed away at the age of 91 in 2022.
“Colorado Music Hall of Fame is honored to be presenting an opera-themed induction class for the first time, recognizing the important contributions that opera has made in music while expanding to a new musical genre for our inductees. Opera in the High Country, focused around the impressive and historic Central City Opera and those whose careers were influenced by it, also expands The Hall of Fame’s reach into the Colorado mountains and out of the metro area. This June 29, 2024, event in Central City will be the first of many destination inductions that The Hall plans to host statewide. With all it has to offer, we really hope that folks from across the state, and out-of-state tourists, come out and celebrate opera with us in Central City for a summer weekend this year,” comments Karen Radman, executive director of Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
Hotel room blocks are being offered to attendees at the Grand Z Casino Hotel and at Monarch Resort & Casino for the nights of June 28-29, 2024. Induction sponsors receive some added perks to encourage their weekend stay, such as special invites to the opening night cast party following The Pirates of Penzance, as well as exclusive historic walking tours of Central City on Sunday, June 30.
Comments Central City Mayor Jeremy Fey: “It is a great honor for Central City to host Colorado Music Hall of Fame. We are especially proud as Central City Opera, a pillar of Colorado’s cultural landscape for 92 years, leads the 2024 class of inductees. June 29 will be a landmark day, celebrating both the Opera’s venerable history and Central City’s ongoing revitalization.”
The Opera in the High Country induction will be held in the historic Teller House and the Central City Opera House located on Eureka Street in Central City. The special event will include a pre-ceremony reception and plated dinner with opera performances by Central City Opera apprentices. After dinner, guests will move over to the Opera House for the induction ceremony, followed by the opening night performance of Central City Opera’s 2024 Summer Festival.
Available through the Central City Opera box office, VIP tickets are $250 and include the reception, dinner and premium seating for the ceremony and The Pirates of Penzance. Sponsorships starting at $1,000 are available through Colorado Music Hall of Fame and come with many exclusive benefits. Single ticket purchases for only the operetta and induction ceremony are also available at the Central City Opera box office.