THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
DEAD MAN WALKING the opera by Jake Heggie
THE SOUND OF MUSIC by Rodgers and Hammerstein II

Denver, Colo. (June 24, 2013) – General/Artistic Director Pelham “Pat” Pearce announces Central City Opera’s (CCO) 2014 Summer Festival, running June 28 through August 10, 2014, featuring Mozart’s beloved opera, The Marriage of Figaro; Jake Heggie’s  opera Dead Man Walking, based on the true story and famous book written by  Sister Helen Prejean about her relationship with Louisiana death row inmate Joseph De Rocher which was also an award-winning movie; and Rodgers and Hammerstein II’s glorious musical, The Sound of Musicperformed in Denver at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

The 2014 Festival opens June 28 with a new production of one of the world’s most beloved operas: The Marriage of Figaro by W.A. Mozart with a libretto in Italian by Lorenzo Da Ponte.  An opera buffa, this Italian comic opera is in four acts. First performed in Vienna in 1786, The Marriage of Figaro has maintained its popularity in an increasingly egalitarian Western world, speaking volumes about serious matters in the best way possible – through the disarming power of comedy.

In this story, Figaro, Count Almaviva’s valet, and Susanna, the Countess’s maid, are about to be married when Figaro discovers that the Count is determined to revive an old custom – the right to have his way with the bride on a servant’s wedding night. Figaro vows to outwit his master, and by nightfall the household finds itself in the midst of trickery and mishaps that culminate in an unlikely ending. The Marriage of Figaro will be performed in Italian with English supertitles, and will run at the Central City Opera House through July 26.

Making his U.S. debut in 2011 directing CCO’s Amadigi di Gaula and returning in 2012 to direct CCO’s The Turn of The Screw, British stage director Alessandro Talevi returns once again to direct a new production of this classic. Mr. Talevi was a prize-winning finalist for the 2007 European Opera-Directing Prize in Wiesbaden.   He was also the co-founder and artistic director of Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells in London, producing acclaimed stagings of works such as Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Händel’s Orlando. Other recent successes have included The Turn of the Screw for Opera North in Leeds, La Cenerentola for Malmö Opera in Sweden, and several productions at the major London conservatories. A versatile young conductor whose work has taken him to some of the world’s most renowned opera companies and festivals, Adrian Kelly* will be making his North American debut conducting CCO’s The Marriage of Figaro. In 2009, Mr. Kelly was appointed First Kapellmeister at the Salzburger Landestheater, where he conducted productions of La traviataDer Freischütz, Don Giovanni and Tosca. Most recently, he has conducted Die Fledermaus, Tristan und Isolde, La Cenerentola, Così fan tutte and he is currently preparing for a new production of Werther.

In 2014, CCO will bring Jake Heggie’s opera Dead Man Walking to the stage for ten performances opening July 5 and running through July 27. Based on the extraordinary book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean C.S.J. and the award-winning movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, Dead Man Walking was Heggie’s first opera, with a libretto by Terrence McNally. It premiered in 2000 at the San Francisco Opera, and has since been performed numerous times across the United States and throughout Europe. “It was a triumph beyond what even its most optimistic boosters could have predicted” wrote the San Francisco ChronicleDead Man Walking will be performed in English at the Central City Opera House.
Set in the 1980s in Louisiana, Dead Man Walking is about the unique relationship between a condemned killer on death row, Joseph De Rocher, and the nun, Sister Helen, who offers him love and support. Even though Joseph has committed a horrible crime and the public has condemned him, Sister Helen agrees to be his spiritual advisor, and the unlikely pair end up forming a close friendship. Finally, right before Joseph is put to death, Sister Helen convinces him to confess his sins, beg for forgiveness and give peace to his troubled soul.

The director of last summer’s Our Town, Oklahoma! in 2012, and 2011’s three one-acts,Ken Cazan returns to CCO to direct Dead Man Walking after his other recent credits with the company of 2010’s Three Decembers, A Little Night Music in 2009 and the sold-outWest Side Story in 2008. As the Chair of Vocal Performing Arts and Opera and the Resident Stage Director for the Flora A. 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 150 productions of opera, musical theater, and plays in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Celebrating his 23rd Central City Opera Festival  in 2014, CCO Music Director John Baril will serve as conductor of Dead Man Walking, having led a wide range of productions during his tenure with the company, including The Barber of Seville in 2013, the 2012 production of La bohème, 2011’s triple bill of one-act operas, and 2010’s performances of Three Decembers. Chorus Master for Opera Colorado since 2003, Mr. Baril made his official Opera Colorado conducting debut leading Le nozze di Figaro in 2013 and conducted the young artist performance of The Barber of Seville for the company in February 2010. He made his Opera Delaware debut in May 2010 conducting Tosca and for whom he recently conducted Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana. In 2010, he also made his Nashville Opera debut leading Don Giovanni.
Directed by Ken Cazan, the final production for CCO’s 2014 Festival will feature seven performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein II’s glorious musical The Sound of Music,running in Denver only at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex from August 2 through August 10. The original Broadway production opened in 1959, and the show has enjoyed numerous productions and revivals since then. It was adapted as a 1965 film musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, and won five Academy Awards. The Sound of Music will be performed in English.

Based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp’s The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, Maria is a sweet young postulant whose love of freedom makes it obvious to her superiors that she is not quite suited for religious life. She is sent off to be the governess to Captain von Trapp’s seven troublesome children, and unlike past governess’, Maria becomes friends with the children due to their mutual love of music, and soon, even the strict Captain begins to admire Maria. Eventually, the Captain and Maria fall in love and are married. All seems right in the world of the von Trapps until the Nazis invade their homeland, Austria, and the whole family is forced to flee over the Alps to escape. Many songs from the musical have become classics sung by young and old, including “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “The Sound of Music,” and many more.

Artistic staff announcements and further casting for the 2014 Summer Festival are to be announced. Subscription packages to see all three shows of the 2014 Festival are now available starting at just $56!  Single show tickets will be available in January. Visitcentralcityopera.org for the most up to date 2014 information and a calendar of performances. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 303-292-6700.

Celebrating its 81st year, Central City Opera is the nation’s fifth-oldest opera company, 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 in its annual summer festival; to offer career-entry training to young singers; to produce education and community service programs; and to preserve and maintain the Opera House and 30 other Victorian-era properties.###

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