Denver operastad i Colorado
Denver är huvudstad och även den folkrikaste staden i delstaten Colorado, USA. Staden ligger på High Plains, precis öster om bergskedjan Front Range som är en del av Klippiga Bergen.
Central City Opera House History
The Central City Opera House was built in 1878 by Welsh and Cornish miners. This National Historic Landmark, centerpiece of the historic gold mining town of Central City, has hosted performances of the nation’s fifth-oldest opera company since 1932 (after the Metropolitan Opera, Cincinnati Opera, San Francisco Opera and Chautauqua Opera). As the second oldest summer opera company (following Chautauqua Opera), Central City Opera’s national summer festival attracts patrons from all over the country and abroad to enjoy intimate opera in its 550-seat opera house.
View a listing of all repertoire performed from 1932 to present.
In 1877, the citizens of Central City organized a fundraising drive for a grand new opera house befitting the gold mining town’s reputation as “the richest square mile on earth.” Many of the town’s residents were Welsh and Cornish miners, who brought with them a rich tradition of music from their homeland. While locals pitched in during construction, the organizers also retained some of the best building professionals in the area. Prominent Denver architect Robert S. Roeschlaub provided an elegant, understated design for the stone structure, and San Francisco artist John C. Massman added elaborate trompe l’oeil murals to the interior.
Her early glory years following the 1878 grand opening were short-lived. When the Central City mines were played out, the Opera House fell into disrepair. Fortunately, a volunteer-driven effort led by Ida Kruse McFarlane, Edna Chappell and Anne Evans led to an extensive restoration of the Opera House in 1932. That summer, the legendary actress Lillian Gish opened the newly restored opera house with Camille, launching an annual tradition of summer festivals in Central City that continues to this day.
Early festivals featured both opera and theater; more recently, the six-week festival has been a celebration of traditional and progressive works. In addition to Lillian Gish, other stars of the opera and stage have performed in the Central City summer festivals, including Beverly Sills, Jerome Hines, Helen Hayes, Samuel Ramey, and Catherine Malfitano. Successful commissions for the company include the American classicThe Ballad of Baby Doe by Douglas Moore, premiered in 1956, the popular one-act opera The Face On The Barroom Floor by Henry Mollicone, premiered in 1978 and the 2003 world premiere of Gabriel’s Daughter, also composed by Henry Mollicone. Learn more about the opera legends that have graced the Central City Opera stage (pdf).
Central City Opera’s prestigious Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program, founded by Artistic Director Emeritus John Moriarty, has served for more than two decades as a national model for training young singers.
Today, the Central City Opera House features modern comforts with plush new seating, installed in 1999. Continuing a tradition from 1932, many of the chairs commemorate Colorado pioneers, notable performers, and opera supporters. Illustrious names like Horace Tabor, Buffalo Bill, Beverly Sills, and Lillian Gish are carved on the backs of the seats.
The glorious history of the Central City Opera House lives on with exciting new productions each summer.
For more on Central City Opera’s history, check out our historic properties or order the commemorative book, Theatre of Dreams: The Glorious Central City Opera – Celebrating 75 Years.
The Central City Opera House is the oldest surviving opera house in Colorado. For more information on early arts culture in this state, visit Opera in Old Colorado.
In 1980, a group of local opera fans met at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion to discuss the need for an opera company in Denver. While there were several regional companies, the Friends of Opera wanted to establish a major production company that could bring opera to audiences in the area. The group soon attracted Nathaniel Merrill and Louise Sherman, two veterans of the Metropolitan Opera. Excited by the prospect of running an opera company, Merrill soon got to work: Opera Colorado’s first season opened on April 4, 1983, with Otello, which ran for three performances and featured internationally-acclaimed tenor James McCracken. On April 5, the company performed La Bohème with world-renowned tenor Placido Domingo.
All of Opera Colorado’s main stage productions took place in the round, in the Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver until 1992. To celebrate Opera Colorado’s tenth anniversary season, Merrill added a third main stage production in the Temple Buell Theatre. The first performance at the Buell took place on November 2, 1992.
In 1998, Merrill left Opera Colorado and was succeeded by Stephen Seifert, who became the President and General Director. During his time at Opera Colorado, Seifert appointed James Robinson as Artistic Director for the company. Robinson had previously worked with Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera and many other grand opera companies.
The following year, Peter Russell became the President and General Director of Opera Colorado. Prior to joining the company, Russell had led the Lindemann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera and was director of Wolf Trap Opera. Under the leadership of Russell, Opera Colorado helped push for and win the 2002 bond issue to restore and renovate the 1908 Auditorium Theater to create the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The hall was unveiled on September 10, 2005, with a gala concert featuring a roster of famous singers, including Renée Fleming, Ben Heppner, and James Morris. The season then began in November with Denyce Graves and Beth Clayton alternating dates in the title role of Carmen.
That same season, Opera Colorado continued its commitment to bringing opera to Colorado by commissioning a new bilingual opera for the Outreach Ensemble to perform in schools and community venues. The one-act family opera La Curandera was written by Robert Xavier Rodríguez and was based off Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne. After opening on CU-Denver’s Auraria Campus at the King Center, this intimate chamber opera began touring schools around the state. In 2007, Opera Colorado was honored when La Curandera received OPERA America’s Diversity Award.
Opera Colorado celebrated its 25th Anniversary during the 2005-2006 season by expanding its offerings with a special concert version of The Flying Dutchman, starring premier Wagnerian bass James Morris. The 2007-2008 Season saw the appointment of a new General Director, Greg Carpenter, who had previously served as Director of Development for Opera Colorado. In June 2008, Opera Colorado presented John Adams’ Nixon in China as part of the National Performing Arts Convention held in Denver with Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, subsequently released on the Naxos label.
During the 2010 – 2011 season, Opera Colorado presented Dvořák’s Rusalka, its first Czech language production, followed in 2011 – 2012 by its first Spanish language production, the Rocky Mountain Regional Premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. The 2012- 2013 season marked Opera Colorado’s 30th Anniversary with performances of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
The 2013 – 2014 season met with great success, featuring a traditional production of Verdi’s Rigoletto and sold-out performances of Bizet’s Carmen.
The 32nd Season (2014-2015) included a traditional staging of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The 2015-2016 season will feature Verdi’s Aida and the world premiere of a New American Opera, Lori Latemen’s The Scarlet Letter.
In future seasons, Opera Colorado will continue the tradition established by Nat Merrill of presenting conventional performances and innovative restagings, bringing renowned stars and emerging talent to Denver, and sharing opera with audiences through live performances and educational and cultural programs.