Opera Steamboat continues its 20th season with the musical and performances by Sondheim

The cast of “Company” is rehearsing for the musical, which will be performed on August 5 and 6, 2022.
Opera Steamboat / Courtesy Photo

Several performances and shows are in the works for Opera Steamboat in the coming weeks.

Opera Steamboat presents its first-ever musical, a children’s opera, and more for its 20th season. A piano concert by Kristin Ditlow will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29 at the Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Ditlow is a respected pianist and bandleader, and also directs another upcoming show for Opera Steamboat, “The Three Feathers.”

“She’s going to be playing in the library, which is really a treat for us to have her here,” said Jenny Maxwell, chair of the board of Opera Steamboat.

There will also be a concert of arias and ensembles for Opera Steamboat at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 at the library as well.

“It’s a really cool event because you hear all the artists at the same time, and because they’re doing Arias and Ensembles, it’s just a really good mix of our favorites,” Maxwell said of the concert. Saturday. “These are pieces that people know from operas across the operatic spectrum.”

Maxwell added that she was looking forward to Opera Steamboat’s first ever musical, Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.”

The show, which will be presented at 7 p.m. on August 5 and 6 at the Steamboat Springs Middle School Auditorium, is conducted by Thea Wigglesworth, manager of civic practices and operations for Opera Steamboat.

“It’s really an educational program, which is really exciting,” Wigglesworth said. “So for a lot of these singers this may be their first musical, and for others this is their 30th musical.”

Wigglesworth said the classic musical explores themes of long-term adult relationships. It will also be a tribute to Sondheim, who died late last year.

“People should expect really amazing harmonies and beautiful musicianship,” she added. “They should also expect everything that makes us love and adore musicals – there are fantastic group dance numbers.”

For young audiences and adults, there will also be a production of “The Three Feathers”, an opera with music by Lori Laitman and libretto by Dana Gioia.

The story, based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, follows the protagonist, Princess Dora, as she ventures between her world and the underworld, ruled by a frog king.

The one-act show lasts about 30 minutes.

“It’s also kind of a combination of musical theater and opera,” she added. “There’s action that the kids will like, there’s a sword fight and things like that.”

The show builds suspense, “becoming increasingly chaotic as Dora returns to the underworld three times,” Laitman said.

Laitman will come to Steamboat to see the show with his six-year-old grandson, who is particularly fond of Princess Dora.

Gioia, the show’s lyricist and former president of the National Endowment of the Arts, will also attend the show. He explained that it was a pleasure to work with Laitmen and create lyrics for his music.

“We wanted to create an opera, which would appeal to children and adults in slightly different ways,” Gioia said. “The children looked at it as an entertaining, very exciting fairy tale. Underneath is the story of the children’s parenting.

“The Three Feathers” will be presented at 7 p.m. on August 12 and 13 at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

Both productions include actors from Opera Steamboat’s Opera Artist Institute, Maxwell explained. It’s a program to help young artists gain experience in the industry, and 40% of attendees this year are people of color.

Maxwell emphasized that Opera Steamboat seeks to make the arts more accessible – whether that’s providing opportunities for emerging artists or bringing the arts to communities outside of Steamboat.

“We had gigs with our young artists in Hayden, and then we also have a gig coming up in Oak Creek,” Maxwell said. “We want it to be where (people don’t) come to Steamboat to access art, but we come to them.”

“Our mission statement is to enrich the well-being of our community through innovative educational and collaborative musical arts programs,” she added.

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