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Opera Colorado presents Sideshow!
By Amy Lindsey
Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Three Performances at the Studio Loft at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House
When: Friday and Saturday, November 4 & 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Where: Studio Loft, 4th floor of Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 14th and Curtis Street at the Denver Performing Arts Complex (Entrance on 14th Street)
Tickets: 303.468.2030 or

Ticket prices: $40 and $45. Cash bar and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Opera Colorado presents SIDESHOW!, a new program featuring short performances of opera and song presented in an lively cabaret-style environment in the Studio Loft at The Ellie.
 “Opera Colorado continues to expand our artistic repertoire,” said Carpenter. “As we branch out into new artistic endeavors on the mainstage of the Ellie, we are very excited to present this new musical experiment in a an intimate and engaging environment. These performances will be in a relaxed and casual setting and feature music performed in a way that will surprise and delight audience members.”
 “We are designing this program to engage a new group of opera enthusiasts and help to expand our audience for our mainstage performances,” Carpenter continued. “If new audience members discover Opera Colorado through these programs, we believe it will stimulate their appetite for more opera.”
Directed by Brad Trexell, Opera Colorado’s Director of Artistic Planning, and featuring a vibrant cast of young singers accompanied by piano, SIDESHOW! will be performed in two exciting new performance spaces, on the weekend of November 4 through 6 and the following weekend of November 12 and 13. Opening weekend will take place at the new Studio Loft at The Ellie, a small venue that will be set up as a cabaret, complete with tableside cocktail service. The second weekend’s performances will take place at the Lone Tree Arts Center, making Opera Colorado patrons among the first to experience this dynamic, intimate venue in the South Metro area.
The two-hour program will include a wide variety of repertoire including Bernstein’s jazzy Trouble in Tahiti and Lori Laitman’s The Act, the story of a circus knife-thrower and the troubled romance with his lovely assistant. (Laitman is the composer of The Scarlet Letter, which will have its premiere at Opera Colorado during the 2013 season.) “I think of Lori’s piece as kind of a love song turned inside out,” director Brad Trexell said. “It approaches love—or the opposite of it--from a very different and interesting angle.” The evening will also include classic cabaret music from Kurt Weill along with contemporary songs devoted to the bonds of love.
 Trexell anticipates that audiences will be struck by the intimacy of the experience in both venues. “It’s very unusual to be able to see and hear opera singers this close,” he said. “Most of the time at Opera Colorado we see the singers in a grand opera house setting. But for these performances, the singers will be right down close to the audience offering a firsthand experience of the impact of the music and emotions without the rituals of a formal opera setting. I think this will be a refreshing opportunity for both the singers and the audience.”
 The title SIDESHOW! was inspired by several factors, Trexell explained. “For one thing, it is outside what we normally produce, so it’s kind of a ‘side dish,’” he joked. “The repertoire we chose also lent itself to this circus theme—this sort of kaleidoscope of romantic love.”
  With Opera Colorado’s change in calendar, there was a desire to maintain a fall performance of some kind. This innovative new take on opera fit the bill, according to Trexell. “It is a shorter evening than a full three-hour opera,” he explained. “It gives the audience the chance to come after work for a relaxing evening or to enjoy downtown nightlife after the performance.”  The performances were also priced to be affordable for a wide range of patrons.
 The company is very excited about the new performance venues as well. “We’ve hosted one event in the Studio Loft so far and the response was very enthusiastic,” said Greg Carpenter, General Director. “The new space helped influence the size and scope of SIDESHOW! and I think people will very much enjoy the change of pace.”
 Likewise, the new Lone Tree Arts Center will be different still. In cooperation with the Lone Tree Arts Center, SIDESHOW! will take place in their new mainstage theatre. It will be a more traditional stage set-up for the performances, but the small space maintains a remarkable intimate experience for the audience. “We are very glad to have the opportunity to partner with organizations such as Opera Colorado,” said Lone Tree Arts Center Executive Director Lisa Rigsby Peterson. “We believe that by presenting these performances in Lone Tree with the South Metro area’s high concentration of arts enthusiasts, we can provide memorable performances for our patrons as well as serve as a ‘feeder venue’ for some of Denver’s established arts institutions.”
  “We are very excited to be in this beautiful new space that has just opened and to be able to bring a new program to the community where they live—right in their back yard, so to speak,” Carpenter commented. “I am also very interested to see how the Opera Colorado community reacts to this new

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