Opera Colorado launches 2005-2006 season in a new opera house
DENVER, CO--President and General Director Peter Russell and Artistic Director James Robinson announced today the company's 2005-2006 season as the company prepares to move to its new state-of-the-art home, the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. For Opera Colorado patrons, the new opera house will offer unprecedented patron services: increased legroom, more restrooms, spacious lobbies, premium sightlines from all seating locations, superb acoustics, and an exclusive donor lounge. The move allows Opera Colorado to add performances and spread out its three annual productions over the course of a traditional season.
Opera Colorado's first season in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House kicks off with five spectacular performances of Carmen starring international superstar Denyce Graves in the title role. Stephen Lord will conduct. James Robinson will direct. The production of Carmen is a co-production with Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Florida Grand Opera.
Opera Colorado season ticket-holders will be among the first to hear Ms. Graves perform her signature role in Denver. "Few Carmens bring such beauty and unselfconscious sensuality to the role," raved a critic from The New York Times. Graves has become an international phenomenon with multiple recordings to her credit and many featured appearances on television programs as diverse as "60 Minutes," "Sesame Street" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show." "Denyce Graves had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand," read a recent Boston Globe review. "Graves is a gorgeous creature with a wonderful natural instrument. She is a born performer...a natural wonder."
The sterling cast also includes Australian tenor Julian Gavin as Don José. Mr. Gavin appeared to great acclaim as Cavaradossi in Opera Colorado's 2002 production of Tosca and will return to Denver this spring as The Duke in Rigoletto. Bass-baritone David Pittsinger, last seen at Opera Colorado in the title role of Don Giovanni, returns to sing the role of the toreador Escamillo. And soprano Pamela Armstrong returns to sing Micäela after her triumphant performances here as Mimì in 2004's La Bohème. (Ms. Armstrong will perform the role at all eight performances.) Carmen will kick off with a spectacular opening night gala, "An Evening in Seville," featuring cocktails and dinner before the performance and dessert and champagne after the opera. The opening night gala will be chaired by Opera Colorado Board Member Kalleen Malone.
Opera Colorado will also present three additional performances of Carmen with an alternate cast for a total of eight exquisite evenings to start our season in the new opera house. Praised for her "robust, luminous and penetrating" mezzo (Opera Now) and her "noble, attractive presence" (Opera News), American mezzo soprano Beth Clayton has been recognized for her commanding vocalism, compelling stage presence and superb musicality. Ms. Clayton makes her Opera Colorado debut this spring as Maddalena in Rigoletto and returns to Denver next fall to sing the title role in Carmen at three performances. Tenor Roger Honeywell will make his Opera Colorado debut as Don José. Mr. Honeywell is an alumni of both the Canadian Opera Company's and Lyric Opera of Chicago's studio programs. This season he made his debut at New York City Opera and will sing in the world premiere of Margaret Garner at Michigan Opera Theatre. Baritone Timothy Mix makes his debut at Opera Colorado in the role of Escamillo.
Bellini's epic drama Norma has rarely been performed in the Rocky Mountain region. Regarded by many as the operatic equivalent of Hamlet, the title role in this opera is one of the most challenging, demanding, and beautiful roles in all of opera. Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian will take on this awesome title role for four performances in February 2006. Mezzo soprano Irina Mishura reunites with Ms. Papian to sing the role of Adalgisa, roles both singers performed before at The Washington National Opera to rare critical acclaim.
"Miss Papian's vocal range is astounding," wrote T.L. Ponick of The Washington Times. "Alternating throughout the opera between raging and quietly pleading, Norma is a role that plumbs musical and emotional peaks and valleys. Miss Papian's crystalline voice guided the audience through each nuance with an apparent ease that belied the hard work required to make it happen. It was a breathtaking, heartbreaking, memorable performance." Ms. Mishura's credits include major performances with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper and Italy's renowned Arena di Verona among many others. Stephen Lord will return to conduct. James Robinson will direct.
The Abduction from the Seraglio
The 2005-2006 season concludes with four spring performances of Mozart's delightful comedy The Abduction from the Seraglio in a sparkling new co-production directed by James Robinson. Critics across the country have praised this light-hearted interpretation that moves the action from 18th-century Turkey to a fashionable French line of the Orient Express in the 1920s, a setting that offers plenty of opportunities for visual humor. "Dicey, suspenseful action un-spools in train compartments and hallways, where scenes are choreographed side-by-side as on a split television screen. Champagne flows freely and everyone is quick to light up a cigarette, lending the show the campy feel of an 'Upstairs, Downstairs' episode," wrote Cynthia Greenwood of the Houston Press.
Scott Terrell returns to Opera Colorado to conduct. James Robinson will direct. The cast includes Maria Kanyova as Konstanze (The Marriage of Figaro, 2005, Don Giovanni, 2003); Amanda Pabyan as Blonde (Santa Fe Opera, The Washington National Opera); Charles Castronovo as Belmonte (Royal Opera House Covent Garden); Scott Sculley as Pedrillo (Houston Grand Opera) and Dale Travis as Osmin (Don Giovanni, 2003)
The Abduction from the Seraglio is a co-production with Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Pacific and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
For season ticket information and updates, watch your mailbox and the Opera Colorado website at www.operacolorado.org or call Opera Colorado's Subscriber Services Office at 303-468-2030.
[Source: Opera Colorado Press Release]