Star-Studded Gala Opens Denver's Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Classic Arts News   Star-Studded Gala Opens Denver's Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Opera Colorado inaugurates its new Ellie Caulkins Opera House with a gala performance tonight featuring tenor Ben Heppner and soprano Ren_e Fleming.

The evening also includes the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally's one-woman opera At the Statue of Venus. Fleming was scheduled to sing the new work, but she was forced to withdraw because her mother is ill and was replaced by soprano Kristen Clayton.

Fleming will perform "Ebben? Ne andr‹ lontana" from Alfred Catalani's La Wally, "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, and "Merc, dilette amiche" from Verdi's I vespri siciliani.

Also scheduled to perform are tenor Garrett Sorenson, mezzo-soprano Judith Christin, tenor Julian Gavin, soprano Cynthia Lawrence, bass-baritone James Morris, baritone Robert Orth, soprano Emily Pulley, mezzo-soprano Marcia Ragonetti, baritone Charles Taylor, bass-baritone Hao Jian Tian, bass-baritone Stephen West, mezzo-soprano Theodora Hanslowe, and baritone Yalun Zhang. Stephen Lord, music director of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Boston Lyric Opera, is the conductor.

The concert will be preceded by a cocktail party and followed by dinner and dancing.

The $92 million Ellie Caulkins Opera House, known as the Ellie, was constructed within the 95-year-old Quigg Newton Denver Municipal Auditorium. It will serve as the home of Opera Colorado and Colorado Ballet as well as hosting other events.

Tonight's sold-out gala is followed by a free open house at noon tomorrow, featuring the Colorado Children's Chorale, Denver Brass, and Denver Young Artists Orchestra.

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