Thursday, July 19, 2018

Composer Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano

L-R: Michael Mayes, Alexandra Loutsion and Jonathan Burton (Photo courtesy of Central City Opera)

     I’ve been waiting for two seasons to experience Central City Opera’s production of Verdi’s IL TROVATORE. Worth the wait on all counts, this is Grand Opera of true magnificence.
     The complex plot is made simple to understand because of director Joachim Schamberger's brilliant concept!  This opera and the play on which it was based, were penned in an era in which it was considered to be tasteful to have the characters only talk about the violence and gore in their world, rather than to display it onstage. 
     Lucky for us, director Schamberger took into account the sensibilities of a modern audience, and opted to make those offstage scenarios visible above the stage as well as in an aperture behind it.
      Some of the glorious vignettes depicting the offstage action are lit so exquisitely by master lighting designer David Martin Jacques, you may feel as if you’re seeing classical paintings come to life.
     The look of this production owes a great deal to the genre of Fantasy, which includes such works as Game of Thrones and the Lord of the Rings.  Just as in those quasi Medieval productions, cruelty is often couched in visually stunning imagery. In IL TROVATORE, some of Verdi’s most beautiful music is paired with disturbing atrocities.
     Lyndsay Amman(Azucena) and Michael Mayes (Count Di Luna)Photo courtesy of Central City Opera

 The casting is sensational! For this opera CCO has brought back the outstanding cast of TOSCA!  
     Michael Mayes, who thrilled us as Scarpia, is Count Di Luna. Jonathan Burton, whose Cavardossi stunned, is Manrico, and Alexandra Loutsion , who dazzled us as Floria Tosca, has been cast as Leonora.
     Add to this the magnificent mezzo soprano of Lyndsay Ammann as Azucena and Ashraf Sewailam’s profound basso as Ferrando, and you have a cast of dreams!
      Casting against the traditional choice of two buff, muscular men pounding out the percussion in the famous Anvil Chorus, CCO has opted to have two strong, beautiful women hammer it out.
      The costume design by Dana Tzvetkova, with its armor for the men and fur-collared gowns for the women, assists in creating the illusion of Medievalism.
    Conductor John Baril elicits all the dynamic passion and power of Verdi’s score from Central City Opera’s ear-pleasing orchestra with glorious ease.
     A riveting and visceral production of one of the best loved Verdi operas, this is Grand Opera at its finest!

     Just as I had to wait for two seasons to experience CCO’s IL TROVATORE, now the wait is on for their production of Benjamin Britten’s “BILLY BUDD” next summer. Having seen this company’s breathtaking productions of Britten’s GLORIANA and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, the chance to see and hear them do BILLY BUDD will be a dream come true!Marlowe's Musings 

For tickets call: 303-292- 6700  or 1-800-851-8175 or go online at

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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