Celebrating John Moriarty

Artistic Director Emeritus John Moriarty is spending his first summer of retirement where he’s spent the last thirty-three: in Central City.  Last night, Central City Opera celebrated his years of service during a reception at the Gilpin County Arts Association Gallery across the street from the Opera House.

Mr. Moriarty first arrived in Central City in 1978 and founded the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. After the company ran into financial trouble and cancelled the 1982 Festival, the Board of Directors asked him to become artistic director. When he transitioned to the role of artistic director emeritus in 1998, he continued to serve as the administrator of the training program through 2011.

At the reception, Mr. Moriarty explained that before he came to Central City, he had never spent more than seven years at any one opera company. Little did he know that he’d be spending the next three decades with Central City Opera.  

One of his accomplishments in his tenure as artistic director was creating the Lanny and Sharon Martin Foundry Rehearsal Center. Until that point, the company rehearsed on the creaky second floor of Williams’ Stables and any other large space in town they could rent. John Moriarty had the vision of turning Peter McFarlane’s old foundry, a few blocks west of the Opera House on Eureka Street, into a brand new rehearsal center. One of the busiest and most used buildings in Central City, the facility now houses three rehearsal halls, four smaller studios, the props shop and stage management office. At tonight’s reception, President/Chairman of the Board Nancy Parker announced that one of the building’s rehearsal halls, previously known as “Minor” will now be named “Moriarty Hall.” Now, not only will John Moriarty’s legacy live on in Central City through the countless contributions he has made to Central City Opera, but also in the rehearsal hall that bears his name. 

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