Wednesday, July 18, 2018

DIE ZAUBERFLOTE (THE MAGIC FLUTE)
CENTRAL CITY OPERA: 7/7 – 8/5
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder


L-R:Veronique Filloux(Papagena) and Will Liverman (Papageno,the Bird Catcher) (Photo: Courtesy of Central City Opera.)

Director Alessandro Televi’s vision for Central City Opera’s production of THE MAGIC FLUTE will make the most jaded opera-goer feel as though he were attending Mozart’s masterwork for the very first time. You will be enchanted from curtain to curtain!

     Mozart wasn’t doing well in the period just prior to composing THE MAGIC FLUTE. Money was scarce, and his wife, Constanze, was not well. When his friend, Emanuel Schikaneder, proposed the idea of working on an opera based on a play involving magic, humor and Masonic ritual (both men were Masons), Mozart agreed. As Mozart set to work on the musical composition, Schikaneder, who would later play Papageno, wrote the libretto. The opera appeared in 1791, having 100 performances, and becoming one of Mozart’s most popular operas. 
    Alessandro Televi’s directorial concept for the opera allows us as audience to view our young hero, Tamino’s, journey through the eyes of three spirits (in this case, three very talented little boys from the Colorado Children’s Chorale.) 
     Their mother is the Queen of the Night in this production.  Sarastro, the high priest at the Temple of Isis and Osiris, is their father.
     As the Queen of the Night, Jeni Houser gives a virtuosic performance. Scaling the musical heights with her exquisite coloratura, this Diva dazzles us. 
    Kevin Langan has played the role of Sarastro numerous times over the last two decades. His superb basso delivers the hymn-like “O Isis, O Osiris,” magnificently.
       In his journey to and through the ritual cleansing of fire and tears at the Temple, Joseph Dennis provides a strong stage presence and a superb tenor as Tamino.
      You will fall in love with Will Liverman’s  Papageno, the bird catcher.  Liverman’s performance is most memorable in both the singing and the acting.
     Katherine Manley is a fetching Pamina with a gorgeous soprano.
    The harmonies delivered by the Three Ladies (Tasha Koontz, Kira Dills-DeSurra and Melanie Ashkar), who follow Tamino throughout the opera, are nothing short of divine.
     Under the baton of conductor, Andre de Ridder, Mozart’s sublime score receives exquisite treatment from the luscious Central City Opera orchestra.
     Madeleine Boyd’s scenic design is eye-pleasing indeed. 
     Susan Kulkarni’s costumes are eye-popping! Besides a nod to the costume design of Downton Abbey, Ms. Kulkarni leans into the look of 19thcentury German circus posters with her imagining of Papageno, the bird catcher. Here he and his love, Papagena(Veronique Filloux),  are seen as half human and half ostrich. Whimsical magic!
     David Martin Jacques’ lighting design delivers the supreme best in mood-altering, scene illumination. He’s a master of the craft and has done this great work for virtually every season except one for two decades. Marlowe's Musings



For tickets call: 303-292-6700 or 1-800-851-8175.

Or go online at Centralcityopera.org

Thursday, June 28, 2018


DISNEY'S "THE LITTLE MERMAID"
BDT STAGE: June 1 – Sepmber 8


L-R: Lillian Buonacore and Cole LaFonte

BDT Stage’s production of DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID is sheer theatre magic from curtain to curtain. The magician who created this evening of delight is director/choreographer Matthew Peters. His casting is phenomenal, and his team of techies unbeatable.
     Lillian Buonocore, who plays Ariel, enchants us! 
     Cole Lafonte’s performance in the role of Prince Eric is unforgettable. Both actors come to us from the theatre arts department at CSU. Their onstage chemistry will make you smile.
     Alicia K. Meyers is hilariously wicked as Ursula, the Sea Witch. 
     Chas Lederer is smashing as Flounder!    
    Bob Hoppe’s Scuttle, the sea gull is sensational.          Anthony P. McGlaun (Sebastian) gets to delight us, singing "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl!" 
    Scott Beyette’s performance in the role of Chef Louis is a dazzler.  
     Add to this list stellar performances by Scott Severtson as King Triton and Brian Burron as Grimsby! 
      Both the kingdom beneath the sea and the one on land perfectly mirror the animated Disney film.      
       Amy Campion’s scenic design is a breath
taking stunner. 
      Linda Morken makes her costumes shimmer, sparkle and flash. This artist’s costume design, creating the illusion of scales, fins and their requisite stage movement, is genius!
   Karl Hermanson’s puppets for Flounder,Scuttle and Sebastian delight us in a way that brings up memories of Julie Taymor’s “The Lion King.”
     The music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken sounds better than ever under the baton of musical director Neal Dunfee. 
     I could say more about this glorious production, but absolutely refuse to add spoilers. 

     You, and your entire family – and the rest of the neighborhood - need to experience this for yourself!
It’s the hottest ticket in town this summer! Run, swim or fly to get tickets now!!!Marlowe's Musings

BDT Stage 
5501 Arapahoe Ave
Boulder, CO 80303 United States
Phone: 
(303) 449-6000 Website: www.bdtstage.com


Saturday, June 23, 2018

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY
VINTAGE THEATRE: JUNE 22 – AUGUST 5


     L-R: Megan Van De Hey and Andy Sievers

Can an Italian war bride living in Madison County, find happiness with a photographer from National Geographic while her husband and kids are away at the state fair? This is the question asked by playwright, Marsha Norman. One assumes this is the question Robert James Waller asks as author of the best-selling book, and that Richard Le Gravenese asks as screen writer for the 1995 movie, in which Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood starred. (Eastwood also directed the film.)
      Andy Sievers is a believable Robert. The chemistry between Ms. Van De Hey and Mr. Sievers is poignant.
     If one looks at this evening as a concert by the mega-talented Megan Van De Hey, I can recommend it. If not, I can’t. Other than Ms. Van De Hey’s beautiful and powerful vocals, only the comic moments provided by Abby Apple Boes as a prying, nosey neighbor named Marge, delight.Marlowe's Musings



Vintage Theatre presents the Regional Premiere of
“The Bridges of Madison County” 
A four-day love affair has lifelong repercussions.
June 22-Aug. 5
Fri/Sat and Mon., July 9, Thurs., Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays and Sat., Aug. 4 at 2:30 p.m.
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.
2hrs. 30mins; 1 intermission.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

THE BOOK OF MORMON
ELLIE CAULKINS OPERA HOUSE: 6/14 - 7/7
              
                                                          Kevin Clay 

With a firm grip on the funny bone, this evening of theatre has a little something to offend everyone.
       Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, joined forces with Robert Lopez of AVENUE Q fame in 2011, to create the Broadway phenomenon, THE BOOK OF MORMON.
       Nominated for 14 Tony Awards, the show won 9, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Score.
        Like Rabelais and Swift, Parker and Stone are masters of the art of satire. Unsavory and in extremely bad taste, the bald Truth gets told with relish, and hypocrisy gleefully eviscerated. 
      The cast, led by Kevin Clay (Elder Price) and  Conner Peirson (Elder Cunningham), is all exuberant talent, and yes, poignantly heart-opening warmth. (Need your heart opened? These kids have just the right crow bar!!!)
     Heavenly Father won’t mind if you pee your pants laughing at this universally acclaimed masterpiece. THE BOOK OF MORMON will leave you helpless with laughter.

      p.s. It’s even better the second time around.

For tickets call  303-893-4100 or go online at DENVERCENTER.ORGMarlowe's Musings

Saturday, June 2, 2018

AGNES OF GOD
VINTAGE THEATRE PRODUCTIONS: 5/30 – 7/8

                                               Haley Johnson(above) and Mariel Goffredi


Thought-provoking and disturbing, Vintage Theatre’s compelling production of AGNES OF GOD is not to be missed.
     John Pielmeier was inspired to write this play when he came upon a newspaper article about an event that took place in a convent in Brighton, New York.
    After a successful run on Broadway, Norman Jewison directed a film adaptation of the play, starring Meg Tilly, Anne Bancroft and Jane Fonda.
     In Vintage Theatre’s production Haley Johnson portrays Dr. Martha Livingstone, a psychiatrist who is brought to the convent to determine the sanity of a young novice, who’s accused of killing her new-born child. 
     A radiant Mariel Goffredi performs the role of  Sister Agnes. 
     Emma Messenger portrays Mother Superior. 
     All three women deliver the requisite bravura acting.
    Ms. Goffredi’s performance is a tour de force. 
     Pillars flank the playing space, and swirling bolts of pure white tuele surround the set pieces, giving an otherworldly look to Cheryl Brodzinski’s scenic design. 
     Steve Tangedal's lighting design enhances the production exponentially.
      Taking us from the mundane to the sublime and back again, Craig Bond directs with a touch of the poet.Marlowe's Musings

     


Vintage Theatre presents
“Agnes of God”
May 30-July 8*
Opening Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Fri/Sat and Mon., June 11, Thurs., May 31 & July 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays and Sat., July 7 2:30 p.m.
$16 - $32 
www.vintagetheatre.org or 303-856-7830. 
Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010.
1 hr. 45 min. with 1 intermission.
* Please Note Opening night date change.



Monday, May 21, 2018

DISTRICT MERCHANTS
Miners Alley Playhouse: 5/18 – 6/24


District Merchants is a dazzling, multi-faceted gem of a production!
L-R: Chris Kendall and Cris Davenport

So many times, Shakespeare’s works are transported to other times, places and planets for little,
if for any good reason. Here, playwright Aaron Posner’s choice to set his reimagining of “THE MERCHANT OF VENICE” in post - Civil War Washington D.C. works like a charm. Although the focus is on the conflictual relationship between blacks and Jews, the play touches on many aspects of racial prejudice. 
    Posner’s bold choice to have the actors in constant connection – and communication - with the audience works superbly. His is a juicy piece of writing that stuns both in craft and wordmanship!
     Len Matheo, who brought Posner’s “My Name is Asher Lev” to the stage with such heart-opening brilliance, has directed this show with a sure hand. He’s cast some of Denver’s finest actors and given the piece a brisk pace.
      Chris Kendall’s Shylock is powerful. 
      Cris Davenport’s Antoine Dupree is revelatory! 
      Last seen by this reviewer as Mother in The Oldest Boy at Vintage Theatre, Candace Joice is luminous as Portia. 
       Sinjin Jones is  splendid as Portia’s love interest, Benjamin Bassanio. 
      Kristina Lorice  Fountaine is a vibrant Nessa.
       Isaiah Kelley’s performance as Launcelot is hilarious!
       Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, is an arresting Amy Elizabeth Grey.
       Sean Michael Cummings is most memorable as the bold Finn Randall, Jessica’s impetuous lover.
     The technical aspects of the show are handled with a professional expertise sometimes lacking in other venues. One would be remiss not to mention Jonathan Scott-McKean’s stunning set, Vance McKenzie’s mood shifting, eye-leading lighting design and the costumes created by Crystal McKenzie. Len Matheo’s  sound design choices add a startling emotional dimension to the proceedings.

In case you missed something… I LOVED IT!Marlowe's Musings


Miners Alley Playhouse
“District Merchants"
A hilarious retelling of The Merchant of Venice in post-Civil War Washington, D.C.
May 18 – June 24
Thur./Fri. /Sat. at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2 p.m.
$15-$38
Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, CO 80401
303-935-3044 or online at minersalley.com.
2 hr 30 min with Intermission



































Monday, April 30, 2018

Interview with Pelham (Pat) Pearce
A preview of the 2018 season at Central City Opera


               Central City opera house 

Today I had the great pleasure of interviewing Pelham (Pat) Pearce about the upcoming Central City Opera (CCO) season at his administrative office in Glendale. In the past we have met in the board room, but this year I was treated to an interview in Pearce’s spacious office, which overlooks the city and has a grand view of the mountains. Pearce, who has been the general/artistic director of Central City Opera for the last two decades, spoke enthusiastically about the upcoming opera season.    
     As reviewer for numerous front range publications, and now my blog, MARLOWE’S MUSINGS,” I have been able to revel in the delicious artistry of Central City Opera’s productions for the last two decades. 
     In this reviewer’s not so humble opinion the productions of Central City Opera are head and shoulders above those of every other opera company he has attended in the region. High, wide and handsome, the renown of this illustrious band of gypsies and family of techies, is one of international renown. Such magnificent evenings as the first American production of Benjamin Britten’s “GLORIANA,” and the world premier of Guo Wenjing’s “POET LI BAI,” are indelible memories! 
   The enchanting production of Britten’s “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” was unforgettable! 
     Besides the outstanding productions from the beloved Verdi and Puccini oeuvres, Central City Opera has allowed us a window into the excellence of American operas with such entries as DEAD MAN WALKING, SUSANNAH and SUMMER AND SMOKE.
     Its commissions, based upon the history of Gilpin County, such as “THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE,” “GABRIEL’S DAUGHTER,” and “THE FACE ON THE BARROOM FLOOR,” have enriched the repertoire greatly. “THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE” is now one of the most frequently produced American operas in the country.
     Soon followed by exhilarating productions of Broadway musicals such as “OKLAHOMA” AND “WEST SIDE STORY,” CCO’S production of Bernstein’s “CANDIDE” was an outrageous success! 
     The entire operation at CCO is one of class and respect for the Art of Opera, the opera audience, and yes, even the opera critics. 
      One can only hope that other companies aspiring to this level of artistry-and civility-will, begin to rise to the standards of excellence that are omnipresent at this venue.

     This year Colorado operagoers will be treated to Mozart’s “The Magic Flute and Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.” Besides these two beloved classics, there are also some one-act operas including: Handel’s “Acis and Galatea” and Henry Mollicone’s “The Face on the Barroom Floor.” 

  DIE ZAUBERFLOTE
    1995 was the last time Central City Opera presented Mozart’s “THE MAGIC FLUTE.” It’s a brand new production which director Alessandro Talevi has set in the same time frame as his “The Marriage of Figaro.”
     Pearce spoke rhapsodically about the director’s concept. “He’s telling the story through the eyes of the three little boys’ spirits, who identify with Tamino and his search. The Queen of the Night is basically their mother.”
     It’s a fantasy world in which the costume design(Susan Kulkarni) and scenic design(Madeline Boyd) add those ingenious skills which they used for “The Marriage of Figaro.” So the look of the show is Edwardian Germany by way of Downton Abbey.
     The fantastical stuff is projected into “the realm of circus.” For example, Papageno and Papagena are half-human and half-ostrich. You know, it’s that turn-of-the- last-century look of Victorian and Edwardian circus posters.
    The three ladies kill a serpent and save Tamino in Act One and the Queen of the Night and her good people tell how awful Sarastro is. But in Act II Sarastro gets them into the Temple of Knowledge. Good becomes bad and bad becomes good. The director is going to ‘beef up’ Sarastro so the Queen and Sarastro come off as equals.
     Director, Alessandro Talevi said “This interpretation also respects and conveys what I have already stated to be the essential meaning of Die Zauberflöte: the journey of every human being towards self-fulfillment and wholeness. The implication here is that within every little boy (and girl) there is a Tamino and a Pamina, and that their adventure is symbolic of the journey that every human being must take towards adulthood.
     David Jacques will do his usual magic with the lights. 




        “IL TROVATORE” 
Falling between RIGOLETTO and LA TRAVIATA in the Verdi canon, you can expect riveting melodrama, exceptional singing and the famous “Anvil Chorus” in this production of IL TROVATORE. 
   Pearce said: “It’s our job to tell you a story. When a director comes to me with his directorial concept I tell him that I hire stage directors to clarify the story and not obfuscate it. We should not have to have a full page in the program to tell the audience what’s going on. You have to tell a very clear story to have honest communication between the stage and the audience.”
    Pearce went on to say, “Joaquim’s projections for Il Trovatore are much like the ones used for Tosca in that they are projected over a bare stage. The characters in this opera talk about what happens offstage.
     Joaquim’s projections showus what’s happening offstage. The images will appear in an aperture above the action and as rear projections as well. The look of the show will be sort of neo- Mediaeval…think Game of Thrones. It’s the medieval time period through modern eyes.” 

      ACIS AND GALATEA

     Acis and Galatea was the most popular Handel opera during the composer’s lifetime. It’s a nature-based pastoral opera.  Written in English, it was intended to be performed outside and around a fountain by the singers that the lord had on staff. 
 Christopher Zemliauskas, who worked such magic with last year’s production of Britten’s “The Burning, Fiery Furnace,” will conduct the sixteen-piece orchestra. Ken Cazan will direct.


THE FACE ON THE BARROOM FLOOR
Commissioned by Central City Opera in 1978, it’s the 40thanniversary of this one-act opera by Henry Mollicone, who also wrote “Gabriel’s Daughter.” It couldn’t be a better time to see and hear this famous piece in its rightful setting.

There are a number of other exciting productions and events also coming up. On August 8th,9thand 11th, we can all look forward to a special musical theatre revue with maestro John Baril conducting the Central City Opera orchestra. It will feature artists from the season and some “special guests.” So keep your eyes and ears open!
    Other events include Jazz weekend June8 and 9, 2018 as well as a Plein Air Festival complete with juried competition the last weekend of September. The paintings will be displayed, judged and for sale. The Jazz weekend features Dragon Smoke, the Nola Central Allstars and lots more! 

      Central City Opera is the fifth oldest opera company in the country and has been in operation since 1932. Besides enthralling Colorado audiences, it has attracted national and international attention with its operatic offerings.
      You get to see this in the smallest professional space in North America. The opera house seats five hundred fifty people. So you get this incredible intimacy with this art form so full of emotion that can’t be found anywhere else in this country.
     Coming up the hill to Central City Opera is an experience that is uniquely Colorado. Whether coming up the canyon or travelling I-70, it’s a glorious drive. The gorgeous vistas are just spectacular.
     “Before air conditioning, people came to Central City because of the cool mountain air. Many bought houses up here for the summer. The Penroses  and Ellie Wechbaugh owned houses here. They later donated all the houses and we can now house one hundred twenty plus each summer.”
     The Central City opera house was built in 1878 by Robert Roeschlaub, the architect who also built the Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver. It’s graced by the magnificent trompe l’oeil murals by San Francisco artist John C. Massman. This venue provides an intimacy that’s hard to come by. When it first opened its doors there was no such thing as air conditioning. As a result many famous actors chose to leave the heat of New York City’s asphalt jungle to perform in plays in the fresh, cool atmosphere of Central City, Colorado.
     Lillian Gish christened the newly restored opera house with “Camille”; beginning the tradition of the annual summer festivals we have today. Some of the other stars who, have played at Central City summer festivals are: Beverly Sills, Helen Hayes and Samuel Ramey. Walter Huston played Othello with his wife, Nan Sunderland as Desdemona at the opera house in 1934.
     There are numerous hauntings reported in the area; so if you happen to be a ghostbuster you have a whole new world to explore when you’re not at the opera.
     If you’re a history fan there’s lots to learn about this town. After gold was discovered at Gregory’s Gulch in 1859 there was a gold rush that added 10,000 people to the little town.
     In 1871 the Republican convention found its way to Central City and the rowdy participants (200 of them) found themselves unceremoniously dumped into an office on the first floor. Luckily nobody was injured.
       In an interview some fifteen seasons ago Artistic Director Emeritus John Moriarty told me that Meredith Willson got the inspiration to write “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” while having a cocktail at the Teller House right next door to the Opera House.
    And don’t forget to check out Herndon Davis’ stunning 1936 painting now known as “The Face on the Barroom Floor” while having your own cocktail at The Teller House. Ever since the Gold Rush of 1859, Central City, Colorado, has been known as “the richest square mile on earth.”  Now however, the mother lode is Central City Opera. The gems are its glorious productions.
     There is the usual parking available in the opera company’s parking lot for a small fee as well as free parking in the garage at Century Casino.
     Kevin Taylor is serving dinner upstairs next door to the opera house and there is the usual light fare at the Teller House and in the casinos. Get your rezzers early because they fill up early on opera evenings!
     In closing Pearce said “there is nowhere on earth that you can get the combination of the bracing Colorado fresh air, the gorgeous scenery, the experience of the once booming mining town and the very best of world-class opera.”
     The intimacy of Central City Opera provides an up close and personal delivery of the repertoire of grand opera as well as the very best gems of American opera.”
     Whether you’re an opera virgin or a jaded culture vulture, it’s this reviewer’s not so humble opinion that Central City Opera is the most consistently excellent producer of operas in Colorado.
      See you at the opera!
      For more information regarding the specific dates and times of the operas and scheduling of the events go online to centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.