Denver, Colo. (Oct. 24, 2013)  Central City Opera’s (CCO) General/Artistic Director, Pelham (Pat) G. Pearce, is pleased to announce that Michael Ehrman has been named as director and administrator of the company’s nationally recognized Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program.

Ehrman will maintain the format established by John Moriarty, who founded the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program in 1978.  It will continue to include added acting and stage technique classes, as well as aria coaching. The Studio Artists will have opera scene study with the CCO directing staff in preparation for the Short Works scenes offerings. During the 2014 Festival, Apprentice Artists will also perform in Trouble in Tahiti, a one-act opera by Leonard Bernstein being performed on select dates at the Williams Stables, which is directed by Ehrman. They will continue to perform featured roles in the main stage productions, as well as covering roles that will be performed by CCO’s guest artists. CCO will also carry forward its mission for the program to make sure that the Apprentice Artists receive information and coaching in regards to the business aspects of the art form and its ever-evolving trends.

In addition to his new position with CCO, Ehrman will remain the Director of Opera at Northwestern University, where he recently produced and directed the Chicago premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath. Ehrman has extensive experience as a teacher and as author/director of many educational opera programs. In addition to Northwestern, he was Director of Opera for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and at Roosevelt University/Chicago College of Performing Arts. He has also directed at Yale University, Hartt School of Music, University of Kentucky, New England Conservatory of Music and Colorado University – Boulder. He has been a frequent guest director at Indiana University, where he has staged Little Women, Faust, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Romeo et Juliette, Manon, Susannah and Le Nozze Di Figaro.

“I’m thrilled to return to Central City Opera, my favorite opera company, where I have so many wonderful memories. I relish the opportunity to work with such talented young singers and help them in their development,” says Ehrman. “It is an honor to follow in the footsteps of John Moriarty, who was a mentor and major influence on me as both a teacher and a director. At Central City Opera, John created and developed a truly outstanding model for an opera training program.”

Ehrman first made his debut with Central City Opera in 1981 as Assistant Director of The Ballad of Baby Doe. He has directed 20 productions with CCO, including the American Opera Series from 1996-1999, which featured the fortieth anniversary of The Ballad of Baby Doe (recorded by Newport Classics), Susannah, The Crucible, and Street Scene. Mr. Ehrman returned to direct the 50th anniversary production of The Ballad of Baby Doe in 2006, followed by his most recent credit with the company as director of Susannah in 2008.

Ehrman has directed more than 150 productions and has won acclaim for his productions at such companies as Houston Grand Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Minnesota Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Atlanta Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.  Ehrman’s staging of the musical Carnival was named on several of Chicago’s “Ten Best” lists for 2005.  Recent works include La bohème for Indianapolis Opera and Madison Opera, Falstaff for Indianapolis Opera, Street Scene for the Minnesota Opera, Die Zauberflöte and The Mikado for the Colorado Symphony, and The Barber of Seville and The Sound of Music for Tulsa Opera. And, in 2013, Ehrman made his debut with the Ravinia Festival directing Die Zauberflöte, which starred James Conlon and Nathan Gunn.

2014 Festival
Central City Opera’s 2014 Festival runs June 28 through August 10 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 Lousiana death row inmate Joseph De Rocher which was also an award-winning movie; and Rodgers and Hammerstein II’s glorious musical The Sound of Music performed in Denver at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Subscriptions for the 2014 Festival will be on sale starting in November. For more information, visit www.centralcityopera.org or 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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