Central City Opera presents "The Blessed Damozel" by Claude Debussy and "Litanies to the Black Virgin" by Francis Poulenc as part of a Double Bill performance opening July 23.

These enchanting and rarely-performed works, helmed by 2018 "The Magic Flute" Director Alessandro Talevi, showcase the women of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. Neither "The Blessed Damozel" nor "Litanies to the Black Virgin" are commonly experienced in performance, much less heard together.

"Damozel" is based on a poem and painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, which was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven." Debussy musically paints a picture about a lover looking down from heaven, lamenting over her short time on earth. "It's beautiful music," says General/Artistic Director Pelham Pearce, "and all you're going to have to do is sit down and be immersed in the sound."

"Litanies" captures composer Francis Poulenc's personal grappling with religion and grief through strains of stunning, unearthly music. Following the death of a close friend, the composer traveled to the holy pilgrimage site of Rocamadour in the south of France, known for the famous statue of the "Black Virgin" for which the composition was named. Emblematic of change "Litanies" also marks an important turning point between the irreverence of Poulenc's early compositions and the gravitas of his later works.

For more information about Central City Opera's 2019 Festival and to purchase tickets, visit www.centralcityopera.org, email boxoffice@centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.

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