Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rigoletto in Denver, La Boheme in New York City!


My husband and I love opera, and had been subscribers for many years to the New York Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in Manhattan.  When we moved west, we had some pangs of sorrow that we would be leaving the Met behind, but we knew that Denver had a wonderful Performing Arts Complex, that included the Opera Colorado, so we were hopeful that this would help ease our feelings of loss.


Our daughter surprised us at Christmas with tickets to the two opera productions that are being presented for the 2014 season--Rigoletto, which ran for four performances in March, and Carmen which will run for four performances in May!  Opera Colorado performs at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House--a world class acoustical hall designed in the lyric style, and seats 2,225 people. The night we attended the opening of Rigoletto in March, a lecturer from the University of Colorado presented a free talk and synopsis about the opera, about an hour before the opening curtain, that we found very interesting.


The Denver opera house encompassed four levels: balcony, lodge, mezzanine and orchestra, all with clean sight lines. This magnificent space is one of only three opera houses in the United States, and one of nine world wide, that has seat back lyric titling at every seat in the house. As you can see in the photo collage above, the house also has a beautiful Chihuly glass chandelier in the main lobby.


My husband and I have been fortunate to see composer Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto many times at the Met, but I have to say we were pleasantly surprised and delighted by the Opera Colorado production! The orchestra, set, staging and principal artists were all top notch! Rachel Gilmore was particularly entrancing playing the role of Gilda, and I will be following her career more closely from now on.  Rene Barbera handled the role of the Duke of Mantua with panache and delivered the signature tune "La Donna Mobile" with the skill. Baritone Gordan Hawkins played the title role as Rigoletto, the deformed court jester who tragically tried to protect his daughter Gilda's honor from the Duke, You can see his photo on the opera program cover above.  His acting ability added quite a bit of drama to the role, giving it elegance and depth.


 The final bow of Opera Colorado's cast of Rigoletto.

My husband and I are now looking forward to Carmen, and many more future productions of Opera Colorado!  It is nice to know that opera is alive and well in Denver, with top notch facilities and the funding to attract major stars.  Live opera as an art form is very expensive to maintain, and many cities in the US and in Europe are  finding their opera companies in dire straits and are being forced to close. The latest such company is sadly, San Diego Opera.  What a shame to lose the ability to see live performances!  Opera is a wonderful gift you give yourself, and well worth the investment of the ticket price, which is usually very affordable.  Attending a live opera is an opportunity to transport yourself into another world --with exquisite music, singing, acting, set design, costumes, hair and makeup, and pure emotion taking place on stage. There is no finer art form!


If you do not have the ability of attending a live opera performance I must tell you about another wonderful opera experience my husband and I had for the first time last weekend! We attended a New York Met Live in HD opera performance of composer Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme at a local theater in a nearby neighborhood in a Denver suburb. La Boheme is one of my favorite operas, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see it once again, albeit on a large movie screen.  We actually saw Metropolitan Opera history being made, as the scheduled principal soprano in the production, Anita Hartig, was too ill with the flu to perform as Mimi! Met General Manager, Peter Gelb, wanted to replace her with another star soprano and called on Kristine Opolais, who had sung her first Madama Butterfly on the Met stage the prior night!  She had had only two hours of sleep from the night before, but agreed to do the role and was on stage in the matinee performance for a global live performance broadcast around the US and the world, to 92,000 people. She is the only person ever in the Met's history to make two role debuts within 24 hours, and she did a remarkable job!


The Metropolitan Opera house gave her a standing ovation, as did the movie theater where we saw the live performance.  Ms. Opolais was overjoyed at the applause!

To see if a local theater in your state or country broadcasts live High Definition productions of  New York Metropolitan Opera performances, and to see the upcoming schedule, go to this link: Live in HD.  Then you, too, can say you've experienced the best opera has to offer!  The movie theater productions also include interesting interviews with casts members during intermission periods, and a peak behind the curtain at how the sets are placed for each scene, and many other interesting behind the scenes information.


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30 comments:

The Gathering Place said...

Utah has a fine opera festival every summer in Logan. We have gone several times and have been very pleased with the productions. Logan is a charming college town in beautiful Cache Valley. If you need a little vacation, you should check it out.

Daniela said...

As Italian, how couldn't I love Opera ???
I love Giuseppe Verdi and reading all the success he's continuing to have even abroad almost moves me ... the Opera's is magic, touches us in the deep of our soul for the music and the voices which seem birds singing and the hours spent in a theatre for me stop the flowing of the time !
I'm so glad you've enjoyed a piece of Italy in your wonderful Country, have a wonderful weekend my dear Pat xxoo
Dany

Sarah said...

Austin has a active and avid opera community, but we've not taken advantage of it. Can't say we are enthusiastic fans, but I appreciate the music and enjoy listening to some opera. Thanks for sharing all the information on this post. Glad you have an opportunity to enjoy opera in Denver. You should plan an opera weekend in Santa Fe during the summer. It's outdoors and an amazing experience.

Betsy Adams said...

How neat, Pat... So glad you have found a great place in CO where you all can enjoy your operas. I love opera also --and have sung many of the songs from many of them when I was YOUNG. (I was a Voice Major in college --but had to give it up in my 30's due to a paralyzed vocal cord.)

La Boheme has always been a favorite of mine. Did you all ever see Gianni Schicchi by Pucini????? I used to sing "O Mio Babbino Caro" from that one.... Love it.

Hugs,
Betsy

Vee said...

How hood for opera lovers to be able to attend right in your own corner. I enjoyed reading this post.

Vee said...

hood? no, no! How Good!

Kris said...

I would love to go to the opera!!! What fun!
xo Kris

eileeninmd said...

Pat, what a lovely gift from your daughter.. I am glad you were able to enjoy the opera in Colorado..Happy weekend!

Lynn@Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Sounds like you're finding lots of fun things to do in Colorado Pat-enjoy:@)

ellen b. said...

So glad you are still able to attend opera in Colorado. That was a thoughtful gift...

orchid Miyako said...

Dearest Pat;
Oh How great and thoughtful of your daughter presented you the ticket♡♡♡ Your pictures gave us the atmosphere of Opera Theater; I wish I could enjoy :-)

Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

AdriBarr said...

Well I learn something new about you each time I visit. I too am an opera fan, an opera freak, some might say. It's a pleasure to see this side of you. I just love how opera carries me away and lifts me from my humdrum life. (I always sat that one should never make any life changing decisions right after seeing an opera! All that drama does things to a girl's mind!) It sounds like you had two lovely operatic experiences. Excellent!

La Petite Gallery said...

Hi Pat, that is some building,
we have the Strand Movie theater
and they show films from the Met. Opera. My neighbor is an Atty and her Brother is the head of the
NYC Met. I bet she gets free tickets
and great seats.
Great post. yvonne
Happy Easter

podso said...

It seems that you really enjoyed your evening at the opera. Thanks for the tip on the HD!

Lorrie said...

I'm glad you can indulge your love of opera in Colorado, Pat. Gorgeous building!

SmilingSally said...

Hello Pat,

What a thoughtful daughter to give such a delightful gift!

When Johnny and I lived in South Florida, one year, we had season tickets to the opera. We went with another couple, who made it all even more fun. Carmen was my favorite.

Have a Happy Blue Monday and an excellent Easter celebration!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

How wonderful that you have a place out there to enjoy live opera. Those HD performances are great too, especially for the intermission features. And watching Jonas Kaufman up close in Werther - what a heartthrob! I'm heading to the Met again tomorrow night for another go round of their beautiful production of Madama Butterfly.

Tracy said...

VERY exciting, Pat! So glad you still will have your opera dates. We love opera too, and miss that about living in bigger city. Thankfully Met broadcasts are being shown live in movie theaters here too--fun! Blessings to you & yours :o) ((HUGS))

Marie Dee said...

Wow! I've always wanted to see a live opera. We don't have much like that here in the Philippines. I'm sure it's great! :)

I'm here for Blue Monday. Here's my Blue Monday post; Me as The Tour Guide

Ida said...

I've never had the chance to attend an Opera. I'm not sure it would be my "thing" since Opera's are in foreign language's and I like to know what's being sung.
So happy though you enjoyed attending.

Electra said...

Great pics! I love Dale's work, hank you for showing us this!

Annesphamily said...

I believe the Opera is alive and well in Santa Fe, NM also. As a young child I became enthralled with music because my father had a wonderful collection of music from Caruso to Jim Reeves! I had always wanted to see the Phanthom of the Opera. Glad you can still enjoy your favorites. Hugs, Anne

bettyl-NZ said...

Isn't it wonderful to actually get gifts that you enjoy!!? How great for you. Thanks for the photos of a place I'll never see for myself.

Gracie said...

I'm glad you won't miss too much your old NY life. Opera is the best way to enjoy music.

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Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I'm glad that you have such a great Opera company close by.

When I lived in Houston and was still single I had season tickets to Houston Grand Opera. Turandot was my first and I loved it. I am the only one in the family that likes Opera and I haven't been to a live performance in years. I've seen the HD performances advertised. I might just have to give it a try.

Black Jack's Carol said...

You have inspired me to make more of an effort to get to the opera performances in Vancouver. I confess that cost is an issue, but it is so worth it as nothing quite replaces a live performance. We have been to several UBC opera performances. Most of the students who perform have promising careers ahead of them so we often feel we have seen history in the making as you did.

Shannon @saltlicklessons.com said...

I've never been to the opera even though we have a local company here and they put on what they consider 'gateway' performances for newbs like me. Two cinemas in town broadcast the Met Live in HD, which is pretty cool! So nice for you to be able to continue experiencing live opera where you are now.

stretchingittotravel said...

I LOVE the Chihuly piece, so pretty!

Bonnie said...

Pat, I would like to be in your traveling bag. I would have much to learn but I know you would be a great teacher. My husband would be right with you at the opera and I would enjoy but not be knowledgable.

Thank you for your insight and sharing of your experiences.