Saturday, June 11, 2022

 Preview of the 2022 Central City Opera        

                  Summer Festival 

     It was an honor to get to interview Pamela Pantos, Central City Opera’s CEO.

      Ms. Pantos is a dynamic presence with a  mind - and a delivery - like a running deer. Truly the most exhilarating interview of my career, I hope to be able to allow you, dear reader, a modicum of this opera star’s electrifying vision.

     When asked about her ideas for the future of Central City Opera, Ms. Pantos said that Artistic Director Pat Pearce, Music Director John Baril and she, were already planning the Central City Opera Centennial celebration. Even though it’s ten years out, there is a decade long path they’re preparing, which, like stepping-stones, will include “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” six years in.

    Since next year’s season has not yet been announced, Pantos couldn’t speak about it yet, only saying that “it will once again be three mainstream productions which are highly interconnected thematically.” 

     She added that “the Colorado State Historical Society is providing a preliminary grant for a master plan for the Williams Stables, that are right across the street from the opera house, which would allow them to become a one hundred seat black box theatre which will be winterized so that shows can be done all year round. There will be the possibility that a composer and singer will be able to create and present shows from inception such as theatre companies do Off Off Broadway. In such a way the new piece would conceivably be able to have a world premiere after its workshops and previews on the main stage. It would be an incubator for further great works that could be conceived here at Central City Opera.” 

     Pantos sees herself as responsible for the health and well-being of Central City Opera as well as a conduit for the future of this magnificent opera company. 

    She spoke of fund raising as being so important, especially in these times where we’ve all been so financially strapped by the pandemic.  “Some people don’t know what an impact they can have. A donation of a thousand dollars would pay for two of the kings’ costumes in “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Donating is making an investment in the future that will bring such joy to so many people. It’s a win-win for the donor, the company, and the audience.”

When asked who her favorite opera composers were, she mentioned Mozart and also Rossini. She spoke of the audience’s joy being palpable after Rossini operas. “It’s always such a high! As an artist you feel the audience’s joy like bubbles over the lights and the orchestra.” 

     She also spoke of “the joy of everyone in the company to be back in their home and performing on that stage. And so very sweet for our audience as well!”

      Ms. Pantos radiated a sincere passion and pride for the operas selected for this year’s Summer Opera Festival.

     Central City Opera’s 2022 Summer Festival is also the 90th Anniversary season of this glorious venue! 

     To celebrate this 90th Anniversary season, operagoers are being treated to three thrilling works.

     The first is “THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA” with its Tony-winning score by Adam Guettel and Tony-nominated book by Craig Lucas.   

     When Margaret Johnson, a well-to-do southern lady and Clara, her developmentally disabled daughter, spend a summer together in Italy, love calls unexpectedly. Both mother and daughter must reconsider their hopes for the future. The romantic classical music and operatic aspects of the score leave Broadway’s 21st century popular melodies far behind. The composition of the tunes is enchanting in this heavily orchestrated score. Some of the lyrics are in English and some in broken English since some of the characters only speak Italian.

Adam Turner, who conducted “Madama Butterfly”(2019), Carmen(2017) and “Man of La Mancha”(2015), will conduct “The Light in the Piazza.” 

     Stage Direction will be by Ken Cazan, who directed last season’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” as well as the outstanding production of Benjamin Britten’s “Billy Budd” in 2019.

     Arnulfo Maldonado, who did the scenic design for “Orpheus in the Underworld” in 2010, is creating the set for “The Light in the Piazza.”

     Rebecca Caine will sing the part of Margaret Johnson.

     Diana Newman will portray Margaret’s developmentally disabled daughter, Clara. Ricardo Garcia will play Fabrizio Naccarelli

     Jennifer DeDominici will portray Franca Nacarelli and Curt Olds will perform the role of Roy Johnson.

     Craig Lucas’ book for the musical is based upon the screenplay for the 1962 movie starring Olivia de Havilland, Rossano Brazzi and Yvette Mimieux, which was in turn based upon Elizabeth Spencer’s book.




     Johann Stauss, Jr.’s beloved Die Fledermaus (The Bat) will allow us all to raise a glass to toast the sparkling music and lively escapades in this champagne-soaked operetta.

     Die Fledermaus will be sung in German with super titles and English dialogue.

      Arguably the most exhilarating of Johann Strauss Jr.’s comic operettas, it’s chock-full of the maestro’s intoxicating melodies.

       Will Ferguson will portray Gabriel Von Eisenstein, and Hailey Clark will sing the role of his wife, Rosalinde.

     Alisa Jordheim ( the outstanding Gilda from last summer’s RIGOLETTO!) will perform the role of Adele.

      Matthew Plenk will sing Alfred and Troy Cook performs the role of Dr. Falke.  Curt Olds will sing Frosch.

     With stage direction by Joachim Schamberger, John Baril will conduct.


TWO REMAIN by Jake Hegge


A short opera in two acts, composer Hegge’s new work tells a harrowing tale of two Holocaust survivors. 

     The show was commissioned by Music of Remembrance at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and composed by Hegge with libretto by Gene Scheer. It’s based on documents and journals found in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

     The show will star Sean Stanton as Manfred Lewin and Curt Olds as Gad Beck. John Baril and Brandon Eldridge will conduct.  Dan Wallace Miller will direct.

     Due to the high demand, all performances of Jake Hegge’s TWO REMAIN are being moved from The Foundry to St. James United Methodist Church to increase capacity.


“Proud Voices” is a series of events curated by community organizations to celebrate traditionally underrepresented voices through music and storytelling. There will be a special educational panel and performance highlighting themes from TWO REMAIN.


CCO Applauds John Moriarty

A Musical Celebration of Life


On Saturday, July 23rd there will be a special tribute concert event honoring Central City Opera’s former Artistic Director, John Moriarty and the impact he made on this company.

There is the usual parking available in the Opera Company’s parking lot as well as free parking in the garage at Century Casino. Dining will be available at the Teller House Restaurant, located next to the opera house.


Go online at to get tickets and for more information.



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