Opera Colorado Releases Schedule for New, Expanded Season

Opera Colorado Releases Schedule for New, Expanded Season

DENVER, CO-November 7, 2015-Today, Opera Colorado announced the highly anticipated return to a three-production season that will broaden the scope of its programming and further extend the Company's reach into the community. Beginning in November 2016, the expanded new season launches Opera Colorado into an exciting new era in the Company's history, as it commences a five-year strategic plan to increase artistic and educational offerings throughout Denver and Colorado, generate new audience development initiatives, and establish a new artistic vision.

"Opera Colorado has been building towards this announcement over the past two years-our higher-than-anticipated ticket sales and sold-out performances confirm that there is a strong and growing audience for opera in Denver," said Greg Carpenter, General Director. "At the same time, we have been putting the building blocks in place to ensure a strong financial foundation for the company's future and an inspired artistic vision working with Ari Pelto, our first Music Director. The upcoming season is the beginning of a very new and progressive future for our Company, in which we give our audiences beloved classic productions while continuing to support new and rarely performed works, extending Opera's reach beyond the walls of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House."

The 2016-17 season embraces a new artistic vision that continues Opera Colorado's commitment to presenting contemporary and classic opera repertoire while expanding the Company's repertoire to include one production per year of a new or rarely performed work in a more intimate setting, where the audience can experience opera on a more personal level.

  • An innovative new Opera Colorado production of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West-a work depicting a mining community during the California Gold Rush of the 1850s that is widely regarded for its impressive orchestration and intensely dramatic vocal writing-will set the work in Colorado. Opera Colorado will partner with History Colorado, and the Denver Public Library to develop a video backdrop for the story that includes historical photos reflecting the state's rich mining history (November 2016, Ellie Caulkins Opera House);
  • The Colorado premiere of Laura Kaminsky's unique production As One will bring a fully staged opera outside of the Company's walls for the first time with a presentation in the L2 Church in Denver's Congress Park neighborhood. This new, 75-minute chamber opera depicts the experiences of its sole transgender protagonist, Hannah, as she endeavors to resolve the discord between herself and the outside world. Two singers, a baritone and a mezzo-soprano, together portray the character Hannah. The work is inspired in part by the life experiences of acclaimed filmmaker Kimberly Reed. (January 2017, L2 Church); and
  • The season will close with a traditional Grand Opera production of Gaetano Donizetti's dark and tragic Lucia di Lammermoor-following a young woman's decline into madness as a result of a feud between her family and the man she loves (May 2017, Ellie Caulkins Opera House).

"Opera is ever evolving and our new season embraces the widening expanse of the genre," said Ari Pelto, Opera Colorado Music Director. "We are thrilled to be showcasing works by three composers representing very different musical periods and styles, and are at the same time engaging with our community in deeper and more meaningful ways-whether through an examination of Colorado's mining history, or by creating an connection between performers and audiences in intimate, non-traditional spaces."

Opera Colorado's return to a three-production season is yet another major milestone for the Company, which is continuing to see pivotal growth and success from the completion of a restructuring campaign in 2013. In May 2016, Opera Colorado will present the world premiere of The Scarlet Letter-a new American opera composed by Lori Laitman, with libretto by David Mason.Earlier this year, the Company also announced the appointment of Ari Pelto as the first Music Director in its history. Opera Colorado preemptively embarked on a reorganization initiative in 2012 to address an operating deficit from lower-than-anticipated ticket sales and fundraising shortfalls. The reorganization included postponing the premiere of The Scarlet Letter by two years and moving to a two-production season, as well as introducing other measures to reduce operating overhead. Since the restructuring, Opera Colorado has garnered valuable support from the community, achieved higher-than-anticipated ticket sales and sold-out performances, and ended both the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years with surpluses.

"In January 2015, we embarked upon a strategic planning process to consider the future of the Company and how we can continue to serve our community," said Mike Bock, Chairman of Opera Colorado's Board of Directors. "Now, after extensive internal planning and with the help of our partners the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, we have formulated a five-year vision of how we might work to fulfill that objective. I and my fellow members of the board look forward to the implementation of a plan that provides for meaningful growth in the artistic and educational offerings of the company while remaining rooted in the tradition and core competence of producing world class grand opera at the Ellie."