THE PRODIGAL SON (July 29 & 30, August 5)
The one-acts are shorter in length (about an hour) and presented in English in non-traditional spaces with an affordable admission fee with the goal of reaching new audiences. As Pat Pearce, General/Artistic Director for Central City Opera notes, “Our goal is that many of these audiences will be new to the art form and benefit both Central City Opera and our collaborators in the region. The problem of shrinking audiences is shared by all performing arts organizations; we hope we can begin to address that with this effort.”
Don Quixote and the Duchess by French Baroque composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier with a libretto by Charles-Simon Favart is based on an episode in Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote, wherein a Duke and Duchess amuse themselves by creating an elaborate ruse to fool the title character and his sidekick, Sancho Panza. Told that a damsel is in need of rescue from a monster, the pair set out to save her, not knowing that their adventures happen to be on the stage of the estate’s theater. Rich with incisive, quick and ironic turns, this production is the regional premiere of the opera which provides a completely different episode from that featured in Man of La Mancha. “Opera can give audiences a vast range of emotional experiences, but few operatic works are meant to simply delight the audience. Within the rich and varied canon of opera, Don Quixote and the Duchess is one such work,” said Kyle Lang who makes his Central City Opera directorial debut with this production. Mr. Lang worked as Assistant Director for Dead Man Walking, 2014; Show Boat, 2013; and Oklahoma!, 2012. Christopher Zemliauskas serves as Conductor and Chorus Master for both one acts. Having worked often with the company, his most recent Central City Opera appearances include Our Town in 2013 and Oklahoma! in 2012. Wig and Makeup Designer/Supervisor for the 2015 Festival, Dave Bova continues in that role for this production. Set Designer is Nathan E. Thompson, with costume design by Janetta A. Turner. Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program Apprentice Artists in lead roles are Maya Kherani, James Dornier, Michael Kuhn, Joshua Arky and Andy Berry. Additional roles are performed by Apprentice and Studio Artists of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. For performing artist and production team bio information, along with director’s notes, visit www.centralcityopera.org/donquixote.
This production is performed in English with a singing translation provided by Thomas Getty. Central City performances take place in the Atwill Gilman Studio at the Lanny and Sharon Martin Foundry Rehearsal Center at 12:30 pm on July 28 (SOLD OUT) and August 1. A performance will also take place in Fort Collins at 12:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church on August 6, presented in partnership with Opera Fort Collins and Loveland Opera Theatre.
Don Quixote and the Duchess Production Team
Music by: Joseph Bodin de Boismortier
Libretto by: Charles-Simon Favart
English Singing Translation by: Thomas Getty
Conductor: Christopher Zemliauskus
Director: Kyle Lang
Set Designer: Nathan E. Thompson
Costume Designer: Janetta A. Turner
Wig/Makeup Designer: Dave Bova
Musical Preparation: Jay Rozendaal, Thomas Getty
Stage Manager: Kaley K. Smith
Assistant Stage Manager: Samantha Burke
Don Quixote and the Duchess Performing Artists
Altisidore: Maya Kherani
Don Quixote: James Dornier
Sancho: Michael Kuhn
Merlin: Joshua Arky
Montesinos: Andy Berry
Peasant Girl: Katherine Weber
First Lover, Attendant of the Duchess: April Martin
Second Lover: Cristina Bakhoum
Japanese Man: Alexander James York
Japanese Woman: Jin-Xiang “JX” Yu
The Prodigal Son is one of Benjamin Britten’s three operas based on church parables. In this one-act opera with a libretto by William Plomer from the New Testament, a son is bored with life on his father’s farm and takes his inheritance to explore an exciting city life. The biblical tale tells of his return, starving and penniless. When he arrives home to beg forgiveness, his father accepts him with open arms, much to the dismay of his older brother. A veteran of Central City Opera, Ken Cazan returns to direct The Prodigal Son after his most recent credits with the company directing the 2014 productions of Dead Man Walking and The Sound of Music. “The story of The Prodigal Son is as universal as the sun coming up in the morning,” says Cazan. “It is the ultimate story of unconditional love, understanding, forgiveness, and acceptance, in the tradition of almost all of the great spiritual figures in recorded history.” 2015 Festival Wig/Makeup Supervisor Dave Bova provides wig and makeup design for this show. Costumes for this production were designed by Jacqueline Saint Anne, who originally created the designs for the premiere of James Conlon’s 2013 The Prodigal Son as part of the Britten 100/LA Festival in partnership with USC Thornton School of Music. Christopher Zemliauskas is the Conductor and Chorus Master. Bille Bruley, Matt Moeller, Nicholas Ward and Michael Kuhn are the featured Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program Apprentice Artists in the leading roles with additional roles also performed by Apprentice and Studio Artists of the Program. For performing artist and production team bio information, along with director’s notes, visit www.centralcityopera.org/prodigal-son.
The story will be performed in English at St. James United Methodist Church in Central City at 12:30 pm on July 29 and August 5. A performance will also take place in Colorado Springs at 12 pm on July 30 at First Christian Church in partnership with Opera Theatre of the Rockies.
The Prodigal Son Production Team
Music by: Benjamin Britten
Text by: William Plomer from the New Testament
Conductor: Christopher Zemliauskas
Director: Ken Cazan
Original Costume Designer: Jacqueline Saint Anne/K-Gals, Inc.
Wig/Makeup Designer: Dave Bova
Chorus Master: Christopher Zemliauskas
Musical Preparation: Michael Baitzer, Sheldon Miller
Stage Manager: Kaley K. Smith
Assistant Stage Manager: Laurel Wiley
The Prodigal Son Performing Artists
Tempter (Abbot): Bille Bruley
Father: Matt Moeller
Elder Son: Nicholas Ward
Younger Son: Michael Kuhn
Tickets for one-act opera performances in all locations are $25; $23 for Central City Opera two-pack subscribers. Tickets are available any time by ordering online for just $4 per transaction, or at the Central City Opera Box Office open Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm at the Denver office, 400 S. Colorado Blvd., Suite 525.
The 2015 Central City Opera Festival also includes two productions currently running at the Central City Opera House now through August 9. One of opera’s greatest romances, Verdi’s La Traviata, tells the story of tragic love between courtesan Violetta Valery and Alfredo Germont and runs through August 8; and the Tony Award-winning musical full of heart and adventure, Man of La Mancha, which follows the quest of a fanciful knight and features the popular song, “The Impossible Dream,” runs through August 9. Single tickets for the 2015 Festival range from $25 (one-acts only) and $31 (Central City Opera House shows) to $114 and are subject to change based on availability. For complete information on the entire 2015 Festival, visit www.centralcityopera.org.