Central City Opera
“Love Notes” are reflections on the ups, the downs, the all around magic love from operas and music theater by Mozart, Puccini, Stephen Sondheim, Irving Berlin and others. Performing for student and community audiences are members of Central City Opera’s Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. Recognized as one of the most effective and competitive career-entry training programs in the country, CCO’s Artists Training Program has earned international renown. Graduate level students of Colorado University’s Opera Studies program, directed by Dr. William Gustafson, make up the remainder of the roster for the tour.
2008 marks the 12th year for Central City Opera’s “Opera in the Rockies ” award-winning touring program and the fifth year of collaboration with Colorado University (CU). The 2008 tour of “America On Stage” begins April 23 and will include appearances in Southwest Colorado communities such as Canyon City, Montrose, Ouray and Ridgway through April 25.
“Touring the state is our way of giving back to the many people who support us. We’re happy to be able to partner with CU to bring opera performances to the diverse communities we visit,” states Central City Opera’s Director of Education and Community Programs, Deborah Morrow. Central City Opera’s Education and Community Programs have visited over 100 communities across Colorado and entertain and educate more than 60,000 people each year, making it one of the most active opera companies in the nation in education and community services.
Central City Opera’s touring programs are sponsored in part by generous grants from the Colorado Council on the Arts, CW2 Gives, a Fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation ,National Endowment for the Arts, Wells Fargo, William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and Xcel Energy Foundation.
Brief History and Mission
Flush with mining wealth, the leaders and citizens of the City of Central raised funds to build an opera house that, upon its opening in 1878, was described as “…a theater of which any city might be proud.” Fifty years later the gold rush was over, Central City had fallen on hard times, and the opera house was in sad disrepair. But once again, in 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression, patrons and volunteers rallied their resources and set to work. Thus came the night of July 16, 1932, when the world’s attention turned to the stage of the beautiful, painstakingly restored opera house and, in the spotlight, Miss Lillian Gish as Camille.
With that second opening, Central City Opera revitalized the summer cultural scene in the Rocky Mountain West. Since then, and still owing to the dedication of many friends, Central City Opera House as been constant to its purpose of preserving the historical integrity of its unique mountain setting.
During its 74th year, Central City Opera continues with marked success to pursue the four areas of activity mandated by its mission:
- To present artistically excellent, professional opera in Central City. The programming strategy established in 1996 for the Summer Opera Festival combines selections from the traditional repertoire with works that may be unfamiliar but that have proven merit and can challenge audiences and artists alike. The 2006 Opera Festival will feature the 50 th anniversary production of Moore ‘s The Ballad of Baby Doe ; a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni , a 250 th birthday tribute to the great composer; and a new production of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea , an opera which will have its debut this year at the Central City Opera.
- To offer career-entry training to help young singers make the transition from preparation to performance. The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program is recognized as among the most effective and, therefore, the most competitive in the country. In 2005, 33 young artists were selected from nearly 800 applicants, and many program alumni have established careers of international renown (including “the Voice of America,” Denyce Graves).
- To maintain education and community programs available year-round to schools and communities throughout Colorado and the region. A varied roster of programs ranges from interactive introductions to the operatic art form to concerts featuring opera excerpts complete with props and costumes. Planned in collaboration with educators and community arts organizations, programs can be made suitable for audiences of all ages, from 6 to 90, and the scope of the activity makes Central City Opera a national leader in opera education and outreach.
- To preserve and maintain the Opera House and 30 other Victorian-era properties located in the Central City/Black Hawk National Landmark Historic District. The Opera House itself, the oldest operating theater in the Rocky Mountain Region, has received awards for the excellence of its restoration. The other properties are all in use as residences for artists and facilities to support productions.