“The entire performance created a shattering impact that was both emotionally draining and spiritually uplifting…It is a production that is spectacular in every way.” – Kelly Dean Hansen, Boulder Daily Camera, in reference to Oklahoma!

“‘Boheme’ and ‘Oklahoma!’ ignite Central City’s 80th season…The Central City Opera is ready to lift us out of the post-Waldo Canyon Fire blues with stunning productions of arguably the greatest works from opera and musical theater.” – David Sckolnik, The Gazette (Colorado Springs)

“This summer’s production of ‘The Turn of the Screw,’ Benjamin Britten’s elusive opera about children possessed by ghosts, took me deeper into the piece’s darker-than-dark heart more than any previous encounter…”

– David Patrick Stearns, ArtsJournal.com

Denver, Colo. (Sept. 5, 2012)  Central City Opera (CCO) closed its 2012 Festival on Aug. 12 with wide praise for all productions and the highest sales revenue attained in five years. Despite the continuing difficult economic climate, 2012 ticket revenue surpassed last year’s Festival by more than $200,000 with a total of $991,658 in sales. A combined rate of 85% audience capacity was achieved for the entire festival representing a 15% increase in capacity from 2011. In 2012, the company staged its traditional six week festival with three main stage shows totaling 35 performances and additional Festival offerings. The 2012 Festival ranks tenth in income since 1991 and 15th in audience capacity.

The 2012 Summer Festival continued to build upon CCO’s reputation as a leader among summer festivals with year two of innovative initiatives that helped engage a new and younger audience. The events included Central City Days, a day of history and modern fun; the Paranormal Project culminating in Turn of the ScrewFest; Menotti’s short opera, The Medium, and more. Of these events, the Paranormal Project (spooky events surrounding Britten’s The Turn of the Screw) reached nearly 2,000 people, the vast majority of which were new to Central City Opera, and culminated in the sold out Turn of the ScrewFest (an evening of ghostly happenings, performances, pub fare and cocktails at the Teller House). Both performances of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium, starring Joyce Castle and performed in the intimate Williams Stables Theater, also sold out and Central City Days drew a crowd of 100 new attendees to Central City Opera.

This year’s festival also brought Oklahoma! to Denver with two fully staged performances at Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center for Performing Arts at the University of DenverBoth performances were sold out.

“We’re proud of the outstanding artistic product we put on the stage each year, and we’re thrilled that this year’s festival was a success not only artistically, but also financially with the highest revenue we’ve achieved since 2007 despite all of the challenges we’ve faced due to the recession and shrinking budgets to support the arts,” says Central City Opera’s General/Artistic Director Pelham (Pat) Pearce. “We’ve been dipping our toes in the water with innovation initiatives for the past couple of years and our experiment with OKLAHOMA! in Denver at the Newman Center was a great success! We’ll continue to look for ways to continue our strong history of championing the art form while adapting to an ever-changing environment.”

As part of the Festival’s education and community initiatives, CCO presented a performance focused on introducing children and youth to the world of opera. The Nina Odescalchi Kelly Family Matinee offered family and community audiences the opportunity to see a full-length production of La bohème. The matinee was once again performed by members of CCO’s competitive Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program and included comments on what to look for before each act and a meet-and-greet/autograph session with the young artists after the show. The company also hosted Opera Inside Out, which offered participants a behind-the-scenes look at the 2012 Festival, and the opportunity to learn about Colorado and Central City history through an interactive discussion and performance of CCO’s short opera about the Western frontier, How the West Was Sung.


As a component of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, 13 scholarships were awarded to exemplary Program participants at the 2012 Festival’s closing ceremonies on Aug. 12. The young artists are selected based on criteria including the artistic quality of performances given during the Festival, a demonstration of a strong work ethic during training activities and career potential as a performing artist. Award winners were congratulated by General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce, Artists Training Program Administrator Marc Astafan, Board President/Chairman Nancy Parker, and Guild President Anne McGonagle. Recipients for 2012 are: Claire Cuttler – McGlone Award; Edward Nelson – Apprentice Artist Award; Amy Owens – Studio Artist Award; Galeano Salas – In Memory of Callae Gillman Award; Erin Greene – Iris Henwood Richards Award; Patrick O’Halloran – In Memory of Wes Blomster Award; Alisa Jordheim – Young Artist Award; Paige Stanley – Adelaide Bishop Award; Ian O’Brien – Ginney and John Starkey Young Artist Award; Chris Carr – John Moriarty Award; Stephen Carroll – Dorsey Family Award; and Sonja Krenek – Yellow Rose Award.

2013 Festival

Central City Opera’s 2013 Festival runs June 29 through July 28 in Central City with Rossini’s comic opera about a matchmaking barber, The Barber of Seville followed by Ned Rorem’s operatic adaptation of Our Town about life, love and loss in small town America. Central City Opera then comes down the mountain to Denver July 30 through August 4 for its presentation of Kern and Hammerstein’s musical, Show Boat, the Broadway classic that features “Ol’Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” at the Buell Theater in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Subscriptions for the 2013 Festival will be on sale starting mid-September. For more information, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.

Celebrating its 80th year in 2012, Central City Opera is 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 during its annual summer festival; to offer career-entry training to young singers; to produce education and community programs; and to preserve and maintain the Opera House and 30 other Victorian-era properties.


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