TRAGIC PASSION TAKES CENTER STAGE
Opera Colorado opens its 2018-19 season with this romantic masterpiece, overflowing with some of Verdi’s most brilliant melodies—including the instantly recognizable “Drinking Song,” which will have you humming all through intermission!
Experience why La Traviata ranks as the world’s most beloved opera, and get swept away in the drama of its iconic heroine: the doomed courtesan Violetta, who sacrifices everything for love. Set among the glamour of 1850s Paris, La Traviata offers a stunning combination of music and drama…and an unforgettable evening for newcomers and longtime fans alike.
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House at Denver Performing Arts Complex
Estimated Length: Two hours and 45 minutes, including two 20-minute intermissions
Performed in Italian, with English and Spanish subtitles at every seat.
The November 11th performance will be audio described.
Click to Read Synopsis | Click to Read Program Note | Watch Video Trailer
Celebrated soprano Cecilia Violetta López has been named one of opera’s “25 Rising Stars” by Opera News. She has received accolades for her signature role of Violetta in La Traviata, which she has performed countless times throughout North America. This season, López will perform the role of Maria in a concert production of West Side Story with Opera Idaho, Violetta in La Traviata with Minnesota Opera, Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Virginia Opera and Opera Las Vegas, and Marguerite in Faust with Opera Omaha. Other concert engagements include a performance for the opening of the Idaho State Museum and performing as a soloist in Madison Symphony’s Christmas Concerts. Last season’s highlights include multiple role debuts, including Rosina in The Barber of Seville, the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow, Lucy in Fellow Travelers, and Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas.
With a voice described as having a “rich vocal range full of inviting nuance,” Malcolm MacKenzie is quickly capturing attention in the dramatic baritone repertoire. Current engagements include Peter in Hansel and Gretel with San Diego Opera, and a return to North Carolina Opera as Scarpia in Tosca. Recent engagements for MacKenzie have included Rigoletto with North Carolina Opera; Scarpia in Tosca with Opera Omaha; Roger Chillingworth in Opera Colorado’s world premiere of The Scarlet Letter; his Metropolitan Opera debut as Dancaïre in Carmen; Stubb in Moby-Dick with Pittsburgh Opera and Los Angeles Opera; George in Of Mice and Men with Phoenicia Festival; the title role in Simon Boccanegra with Kentucky Opera; and Il Trovatore with Fort Worth Opera. On the concert stage, MacKenzie has been the baritone soloist for Carmina Burana, most recently with New West Symphony; the Symphony Orchestra of the University of California, Davis; and the Savannah Symphony.
Winner of the Bel Canto Prize at the 2016 Maryland Lyric Opera Competition, Spanish-American tenor Eric Barry holds a master of music degree and artist diploma from the School of Music at Yale University. He has a close association with the Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, for which he has sung and recorded Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, as well as Djamileh, The Turn of the Screw, Maria Padilla, Iphigénie en Tauride, At the Boar’s Head, L’Amore dei Tre Re and Simon Boccanegra.
Other companies with which he has worked include Amarillo Opera, the Florentine Opera Company, North Carolina Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera San Antonio, Pittsburgh Opera, Shreveport Opera and the Teatro Comunale di Sulmona in repertoire including Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Lensky (Eugene Onegin), Macduff (Macbeth), The Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), and Alfredo (La Traviata). Recent concert engagements have included performances with Jacksonville Symphony, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra and Utah Symphony. Having previously sung Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) for Opera Colorado, Barry is delighted to return for La Traviata.
Kira Dills-DeSurra is from Petaluma, CA, and earned her artist diploma and master of music from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and her bachelor of music from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining Opera Colorado, Dills-DeSurra was a Central City Opera Apprentice Artist (and was award the Central City Opera Guild Award in 2017), as well as part of the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program. This season with Opera Colorado, Dills-DeSurra will perform the mainstage roles of Flora Bervoix in La Traviata and Gertrude Stein in After Life, and cover Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, as well as sing that role for the Student Matinee performance. As part of the company’s touring productions, she performs Hansel in Hansel and Gretel; and Lady Capulet and Stephano in Romeo & Juliet. Other recent roles include an Actress in Sir David McVicar’s production of Elektra at Lyric Opera of Chicago; her debut as Vera Boronel in a co-production of The Consul by Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater; and the Second Lady in The Magic Flute at Central City Opera.
Sponsored by Gayle & Gary Landis
Praised for her bell-like and crisp tone, native Houstonian soprano Rebekah Howell is making her mark as a versatile stage artist with “plenty of high notes” (The Herald Times). During the 2018-19 season with Opera Colorado, she performed Girl in After Life, and will cover Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, in addition to singing that role for the Student Matinee performance. As part of the company’s touring productions, she performs Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Juliet in Romeo & Juliet. In the summer of 2018, Howell debuted the roles of Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Cunegonde in Candide with Chautauqua Opera. During the 2017–18 season, Howell appeared as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute with Opéra Louisiane and as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. Howell holds degrees from Baylor University (BM) and Indiana University (MM) where she also served as an Associate Instructor of Voice.
Sponsored by Agatha Kessler & Curtis Fentress and Laurence & Cynthia Chan
Recipient of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Grants 2013-2018 and the Guildhall Prize from the IFAC Australian Singing Competition 2013, “Laurenson is blessed with the ability to look both handsome and unstoppably mean while singing with unflinching power” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Laurenson graduated from London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2016, where he studied with Australian soprano Yvonne Kenny, and received coaching from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. One of the highlight moments from his time in London was having the privilege of performing for Her Majesty The Queen. Most recently, he studied under the tutelage of César Ulloa at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he performed the roles of Tarquinius in Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Older Thompson in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied. With Opera Colorado in the 2018-19 season, Laurenson will also cover Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and perform that same role for the Student Matinee performance. As part of the company’s touring productions, he performs the Prince and Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet.
Sponsored by David & Elizabeth Budd and Martha & Will Tracey
Originally from Thornton, CO, Eric McConnell has trained as a young artist with Central City Opera, Opera Saratoga, Seagle Music Colony, and the Aspen Opera Center. McConnell made his debut with Opera Colorado this past fall
as Dr. Grenvil in La Traviata, and will sing Figaro in the Student Matinee performance of The Marriage of Figaro. With the company’s touring productions, he performs Sandman in Hansel and Gretel and Friar Laurence in Romeo & Juliet. Past roles for McConnell include Blitch (Susannah), Bartolo/Basilio (The Barber of Seville), Frank (Die Fledermaus), and Sarastro (The Magic Flute). Additional career highlights include singing Elisha Fitzgibbon in the orchestral premiere of Evan Mack’s Roscoe with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, in a performance featuring renowned soprano Deborah Voigt. This summer, he sings the Sodbuster in Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up at the Aspen Music Festival and School. McConnell holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Miami.
Sponsored by Joyce de Roos and Marlis Smith
Originally from Lansing, MI, Nicholas Kreider obtained both his bachelor and master of music degrees from Michigan State University, under the tutelage of Professor Richard Fracker. Since graduating, he has been a Bel Canto at Caramoor apprentice artist and a Crested Butte Summer Music Festival young artist. This season will be his second as an Opera Colorado Artist in Residence; during the 2017-18 season, Kreider performed the role of Dandini in the touring production of Cinderella, as well as on the mainstage as Customs Sergeant in La Bohème and 1st Nazi/SS Officer in the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me. This season, he will perform the mainstage roles of the Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata and Pablo Picasso in After Life, as well as Antonio in the Student Matinee of The Marriage of Figaro. As part of the company’s touring productions, he performs the Father in Hansel and Gretel and Capulet/Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet.
Sponsored by Dr. Stephen L. Dilts
Aaren Rivard earned his master’s degree from Wichita State University, where he studied with Alan Held and Sam Ramey; and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine, where he studied with Ellen Chickering. He has performed several times with Opera Maine, including in the company’s productions of The Daughter of the Regiment, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Rigoletto, and Tosca. He was also an Opera Maine Studio Artist for Gianni Schicchi, in which he sang the role of Amantio di Nicolao and covered Rinuccio. Most recently, he was a 2018 Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera. As an Opera Colorado Artist in Residence during the 2018-19 season, Rivard will sing the mainstage roles of Gastone in La Traviata and both Basilio and Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro. As part of the company’s touring productions, he performs the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, and Romeo in Romeo & Juliet.
Sponsored by Donald K. Braden and Chris & Joy Murphy
Appointed in 2015 as Opera Colorado’s first-ever music director, Ari Pelto’s “breathtaking wizardry in the pit” (The Denver Post) has been widely celebrated, with Pelto in demand at opera houses and concert halls throughout the United States. At the age of 24, Pelto was appointed Assistant Conductor at the Spoleto Festival and he has since gone on to conduct worldwide. International engagements include performances with Bochumer Philharmoniker and opera productions at New National Theatre of Tokyo and the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. In 2004 he made his highly-praised debut with New York City Opera, conducting La Traviata, after which he became a regular, returning for productions of Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, and Carmen. Recent successes include Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Lucia di Lammermoor at Virginia Opera, and La Voix Humaine at Chicago Opera Theater. Here in Denver, he has led many acclaimed performances, including this season’s La Traviata. Opera Colorado is pleased to announce an extension of Pelto’s contract through the 2023-24 season.
Stage Director Alison Moritz’s recent productions have been lauded as “about as gorgeous and accessible as any opera anywhere” (The Commercial Appeal), and her work has been praised for its “incredible economy of resources, lean production design, and eye for jest and banter” by The Orlando Examiner.
A “rising young star on the contemporary American opera scene” (89.5 Tulsa), Ms. Moritz’s diverse projects for 2017-18 included the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s newest opera Proving Up (Washington National Opera, AOI), as well as new productions of Orpheus in the Underworld (New Orleans Opera), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Madison Opera), Trouble in Tahiti (Opera Santa Barbara), and a genre-bending triple bill of rarities for Bard Conservatory (Pulcinella, Full Moon in March, and Svadba).
This season, Ms. Moritz also directs a new staging of Madama Butterfly (Syracuse Opera), collaborates with IlluminArts to profile artist Ana Mendieta, joins the Santa Fe Opera directing staff, and continues ongoing collaborations with the Resonant Bodies Festival and The Knights.
Lucas Krech is a Berlin-based lighting and video designer working in opera and dance. Previous Opera Colorado work includes La Traviata, Falstaff, La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Aida, and Madama Butterfly; next season, he will design Pagliacci and Tosca.
Other opera collaborations include San Diego Opera, Florida Grand Opera, West Edge Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, West Bay Opera, Yale Arts and Ideas Festival, Whitesnake Productions, Firstlook Sonoma, and others. His dance work has appeared in more than 30 states, as well as in Norway, Holland, and Germany. Installations and video art has shown at galleries and festivals in New York, Virginia, Nevada, and California. Writing on design aesthetics has been featured in The Brooklyn Rail, Parabasis Blog, On Stage Lighting, InDance Magazine, PLSN, and Stage Directions Magazine. Krech has an MFA
from New York University. For more: www.lucaskrech.com.
Ronell Oliveri is happy to return to Opera Colorado for her 12th season as Wig & Makeup Designer. She has been designing for opera, theater, ballet, and film for the past 17 years for such companies as Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. Currently she is the resident Wig & Makup Designer for Opera Colorado, Opera Omaha, and Central City Opera. In 2007, she was a Primetime Emmy Award nominee as key makeup artist for her work in television. As a wig and makeup artist her professional credits include engagements with Chicago Lyric Opera, LA Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and Boston Ballet. Her work can also be seen in several Broadway shows including Wicked, All the Way, and Waitress. Other recent engagements include Miller Theater’s Proving Up, Opera Omaha’s One Festival, and Central City Opera’s summer festival season.
Iranian pianist and conductor, Sahar Nouri, returns to Opera Colorado for a sixth season, serving as the company’s chorus master, assistant conductor, and pianist coach. Ms. Nouri is the newly appointed music director of the Lamont Opera Theatre at Denver University. While being based in Denver, she continues to serve as guest coach/faculty with various organizations including San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Opera North Carolina, Opera Steamboat and more.
Previously, Ms. Nouri has been a member of the music staff at Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Utah Opera, Aspen Opera Center, Opera Parallèle, and Opera in the Heights. Her repertoire includes numerous classic operas as well as many world premieres such as: Prince of Players (Carlisle Floyd), O Columbia! (Gregory Spears), Steal a Pencil for Me (Gerald Cohen), and Today It Rains (Laura Kaminsky). A multi-lingual, Nouri has done studies in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria, and is frequently in demand as a language coach and recitalist.
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Verdi’s La Traviata
- 11 2018