A One-Night-Only Anniversary Concert
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Music by Pietro Mascagni
Libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci
Premiered May 17, 1890, Teatro Costanzi (Rome, Italy)
Opera Colorado celebrates its 40th anniversary by presenting Mascagni’s opera as a special one-night-only, semi-staged concert. The tale shines a light on life in an idyllic Sicilian village—a closer look reveals jealousy, betrayal, and secrets lurking beneath the pastoral facade. Rebuked by both the church and her lover, Turridu, the pious Santuzza must decide whose secrets to keep. What consequences lie ahead for the faithless Turridu and the adulterous Lola?
September 10 | 2022 7:00 p.m.
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House at Denver Performing Arts Complex
Performed in Italian, with English and Spanish subtitles at every seat and English supertitles above the stage.
Estimated Length: 75 minutes
The 40th Anniversary Season is generously sponsored by Marcia & Dick Robinson.
Mezzo-soprano Catherine Martin’s 2021-2022 season features her role debut as Orfeo in Orfeo ed Eurydice with Kentucky Opera, her debut with Dallas Opera as the Minkswoman in Flight, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel with Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and her debut with Maryland Lyric Opera as Eboli in Don Carlos. Highlights from past seasons include Waltraute in Twilight: Gods with Michigan Opera Theatre and Lyric Opera of Chicago; Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking with Minnesota Opera and Dayton Opera; performances in various roles from Wagner’s Ring Cycle with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, the Dallas Symphony, and National Taichung Theatre in Taiwan; Amneris in Aïda with Houston Grand Opera, Opera Colorado, and Opera Santa Barbara; Adalgisa in Norma with Florida Grand Opera; Der Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos at The Glimmerglass Festival; Hécube in Les Troyens with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Maddalena in Rigoletto with New Orleans Opera and Opera Santa Barbara; Herodias in Salome with Dayton Opera; Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra; and Messiah with the Handel Oratorio Society. Ms. Martin is also an avid interpreter of contemporary opera and has appeared as Mary in the world premiere of The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me with Washington National Opera; Genevieve in The Long Christmas Dinner with American Symphony Orchestra; Tamara in Enemies, A Love Story with Kentucky Opera; Eva Crowley in An American Dream with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and many others.
In a career spanning over two decades, mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook has excelled in a wide range of roles with leading opera companies throughout the United States, including The Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Colorado, Opera Philadelphia, Portland Opera, Opera Parallele, and Santa Fe Opera. She returns to Opera Colorado following past performances as Ježibaba in Rusalka and as Julia Child in April in Paris.
Recent highlights include Berta in The Barber of Seville in a drive-in production, Marcellina in a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro, and Mother Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life all with San Francisco Opera; Camila in the North American Premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel at the Metropolitan Opera, which was also broadcast live in HD; and the Innkeeper in a semi-staged version of Boris Godunov with the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting.
Since her debut with San Francisco Opera, Ms. Cook has appeared in over fifty productions culminating in more than 350 performances. Some highlights include the title role in Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, Jade Boucher in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Emilia in Otello, Mrs. Sedley in Peter Grimes, and Annina in Der Rosenkavalier.
Ms. Cook’s discography includes Dead Man Walking (Heggie)/Erato, After Life (Cipullo)/Naxos, The Parting (Cipullo)/Naxos, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Cincinnati Philharmonic Orchestra, released by Centaur Records. In addition to her performing schedule, Ms. Cook is on the Voice Faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory, where she holds the Frederica von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice. (266)
Baritone Malcolm MacKenzie has been heard at leading opera houses throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Paris Opera (Bastille), Finland’s Savonlinna Festival, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera, in roles including Simon Boccanegra, Iago, Tonio, Baron Scarpia, Don Giovanni, Count di Luna, Renato, Jack Rance, Marcello, Germont, and Count Almaviva.
Mr. MacKenzie’s 2021-2022 season featured him in the title role of Gianni Schicchi at Piedmont Opera, a reprise of his much-lauded Germont in La Traviata at Toledo, and as Rodrigue in The Metropolitan Opera’s premiere of the five-act Don Carlos.
In past seasons, he returned to Pittsburgh Opera as Stubb in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, the Metropolitan Opera as Dancaïro in Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera and made role debuts in North Carolina Opera’s Rigoletto in the title role, in Opera Omaha’s Tosca as Baron Scarpia, and in Opera San Jose’s Così fan tutte as Don Alfonso. He returned Dayton Opera as Tonio in Pagliacci, created the role of Roger Chillingworth in Opera Colorado’s world premiere of The Scarlet Letter by Lori Laitman, and returned to LA Opera as Stubb in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick. Additionally, he has sung Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Eugene Opera; Germont in La traviata with Virginia Opera; Schaunard in La bohème with San Diego Opera; the title role in Simon Boccanegra with Kentucky Opera; Belcaore in L’elisir d’amore with San Diego Opera; Iago in Otello with Nashville Opera; Count di Luna in Il trovatore with Arizona Opera; Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana and Tonio in Pagliacci with Arizona Opera; and Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West with Nashville Opera.
Roberto De Biasio made his operatic debut in December 2006, singing Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Donizetti of Bergamo. His “virile, glistening voice” (New York Times), “appealingly natural sense of Italianate phrasing!” (Boston Globe), and “fluid phrasing and an exciting, ringing top” (San Francisco Chronicle) are celebrated by press and audiences alike. Before the pandemic he sang Lucia di Lammeramoor (Edgardo) and Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton) at Opéra de Toulon and Carmen (Don José) at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence. Other notable appearances include Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton) and Ernani (title role) at Metropolitan of New York; Nabucco (Ismaele) at Liceu de Barcelona; La traviata (Alfredo) at Opéra de Montreal, at Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, at Teatro La Fenice di Venezia (under Myung Whun Chun) and at Opéra de Strasbourg; Macbeth at Teatro Comunale di Bologna staged by Robert Wilson and conducted by Roberto Abbado; Simon Boccanegra at Wiener Staatsoper under Evelino Pidò and at Musikverein in Vienna with the Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Fabio Luisi; Verdi’s Messa da Requiem under Lorin Maazel at Festival Verdi di Parma; Norma (Pollione) with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the opening of Tanglewood Festival under the baton of Charles Dutoit.
Kira Dills-DeSurra is a vibrant American mezzo-soprano whose magnetic stage presence communicates effortless charm and truth. A champion of new and rarely performed works, Dills-DeSurra has appeared in many American premieres, and she also cultivates skills in musical improvisation and circus arts as part of her broad-ranging palate of storytelling tools.
Dills-DeSurra is excited to be celebrating two amazing Denver opera company anniversaries this year. She will be singing Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with Central City Opera for their 90th season and Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana with Opera Colorado for their 40th anniversary. This season she will also be featured as Lissette in Opera Colorado’s professional recording of Steal a Pencil for Me, Tilda in Lori Laitman’s The Three Feathers with Opera Steamboat, and Frida Kahlo in Central City’s production of Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World.
Previously she was an Artist in Residence with Opera Colorado singing roles such as Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Flora (La traviata), Gertrude Stein (Tom Cipullo’s After Life), and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro). She was also featured in touring productions as Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), and the title role in Carmen.
Dills-DeSurra was also an Apprentice Artist in Central City Opera’s 2018 and 2017 summer festivals, performing Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), covering Ines (Il trovatore), featuring as a soloist in Encore: A Musical Revue, and singing Mercédès (Carmen).
Dills-DeSurra has also endeavored into early music, playing Diana/Giove in Diana in La Calisto with Opera NEO. The same season she joined San Diego Symphony as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream under Maestro Rafael Payare.
She made her role debut as Vera Boronel in a Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera co-production of The Consul in 2017. With Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera, she was also featured as Nurse and Secretary in Glass’s The Perfect American, Isolde of the White Hands in Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé, and Lysander (cover) in The Fairy Queen. Additional credits with Chicago Opera Theater include La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Cecilio (cover) in Mozart’s Lucio Silla, and Mary in the Chicago premiere of Amy Beach’s Cabildo. Dills-DeSurra is a graduate of the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program.
Hailing from Petaluma, California, Dills-DeSurra earned a Master of Music and Artist Diploma from Roosevelt University: Chicago College of Performing Arts and a Bachelor of Music from University of Southern California.
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.
Iranian pianist and conductor, Sahar Nouri, returns to Opera Colorado for a fourth 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.
David Lefkowich is an accomplished stage director and fight choreographer who has enjoyed success with different companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatre alla Scala, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. Recent directing engagements include a site-specific Acis and Galatea for Out of the Box Opera, an immersive Pagliacci at Boston Lyric Opera, a site-specific Tosca for Austin Opera, Tosca and La Cenerentola at Annapolis Opera, and Pagliacci at Opera Colorado. Also, Don Giovanni at L’Opéra de Montréal, Don Giovanni, Idomeneo, Le Nozze di Figaro and L’Histoire du Soldat at the Ravinia Music Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Maestro James Conlon. David made his European debut directing Le Portrait de Manon at the Gran Teatre Liceu in Barcelona and followed with The Rake’s Progress at La Monnaie in Brussels. David is a guest artist and performs master classes at several young artist programs and universities including the San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellowship Program, Atelier Lyrique at L’Opéra de Montréal, Maryland Opera Studio and Ithaca College. David is a graduate from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre and has a certificate from École Jacques-Lecoq in Paris, France. David served as the Artistic Director of the Mill City Summer Opera in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he directed the annual summer offerings. Currently, he is the Artistic Director of Out of the Box Opera in Minneapolis, a company dedicated to creating high-quality operatic experiences in site-specific locations, most notably with Diva Cage Match, an epic battle of voices, egos, and talent in a boxing gym.
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana
- 10 2022