"Light in Darkness"

Adolescent Mental Health Program

Chiaroscuro: From the Italian chiaro (light) and scuro (dark), chiaroscuro is a term used in opera to describe a technique where singers navigate the contrast between light and darkness in vocal expression to convey emotional depth and dramatic intensity.

This video contains discussion of mental health and suicide. 

Operatic stories do not shy away from topics of suicide, trauma, bullying, isolation, and challenging social dynamics and relationships.

CHIAROSCURO, Central City Opera’s new pilot program for adolescent audiences, hopes to present, identify, and destigmatize mental health issues through the performance of operatic stories. The goal is to use opera as a vehicle to spark conversation and to connect audiences to mental health and social emotional learning resources from expert partners.

This programming offers a new and innovative way of addressing the mental health concerns that students experience through storytelling. Using unfamiliar musical styles and relatable stories—opera can and does reflect our daily lives and resonate with our inner workings. Using big voices and big emotions to address challenging subject matter, the stories of CHIAROSCURO intend to destigmatize mental health challenges while bringing light to real life stories of hope and resilience through struggle.

If your school is interested in participating in the pilot version of CHIAROSCURO, please reach out to our Education department at The pilot phase of this program includes gathering feedback from our audiences and members of their communities, as well as from a task force of people and organizations with expertise in mental health and school-based social-emotional learning.

Director’s Note

CHIAROSCURO is a reframing of traditional opera scenes into the everyday of teens’ lives and the challenges they face as they navigate in times of light and darkness. It is a mental health program for suicide prevention portraying relevant issues and stories of resilience.

Chiaroscuro is the optimum goal of vocal technique in opera. It is what we strive to achieve and showcase in the operatic artform. It is also the art of sorting and making the best out of living in a world full of obstacles and finding our inner strength to conquer and overcome them.

Chiaroscuro is our effort to make our artform relevant and to serve our community beyond the beauty of the human voice as an instrument, and to speak out as the voice and heart of young life.

Daniela Guzmán

Stage Director of CHIAROSCURO, Associate Director of Education and Community Engagement, Central City Opera

Special Thanks To:
Regis University
The Collaborative of the SCFD
Central City Opera Guild
The Larrk Foundation
Xcel Energy
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
Safe2Tell Colorado
Thank you to the Xcel Energy Foundation for their generous support of our Education and Community Engagement programs!