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New Opera Workshop Celebrates 10th Anniversary With Award-Winning Composer


New Opera Workshop Celebrates 10th Anniversary With Award-Winning Composer

The CU New Opera Workshop (CU NOW), a three-week program to refine an in-progress professional opera, celebrates 10 years at the University of Colorado Boulder this summer. Starting on May 28 and running through mid-June, voice students will collaborate directly with award-winning composer Tom Cipullo to workshop and perform his new piece, "Hobson's Choice."

Cipullo joins a growing list of notable composers-including Herschel Garfein, Mark Adamo, Gene Scheer and Jake Heggie-to workshop operas at CU NOW.

"The program creates a win-win situation," said Christie Conover, production assistant for Eklund Opera. "It's good for students to learn the professional skills of preparing a living, breathing piece. And it's good for composers, who are looking for the equivalent of an editor and get more time to do an intensive workshop of their opera."

Based on the 1915 play of the same name, "Hobson's Choice" follows Maggie Hobson as she starts her own business and marries a talented, yet illiterate, man against the wishes of her father and in defiance of early 20th-century social standards. It's a story that hit home with Cipullo's friend and Met Opera mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe, who first approached him about recreating it for the opera stage.

Cipullo, who is coming to CU NOW for the first time this summer, is excited to see the program's intensity in person.

"With most workshops, you go in and get knocked around a bit, and then figure out what went wrong and proceed from there. But it's very reliant on audience participation for feedback, and often only a day or two," said Cipullo. "CU NOW is much more intense. It's 17 days where you're working together-and practically living together-every day. You're getting feedback from the performers and director, which is more valuable."

Culminating performances for "Hobson's Choice" will be held in the Music Theatre on Friday, June 14, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 16, at 2 p.m. All performances are free and open to the public.

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