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Opera Colorado presents Dvořák's fairytale opera Rusalka
By Peyton Jeter
Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Opera Colorado presents the Rocky Mountain regional premiere of Dvořák's fairytale opera Rusalka

Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Friday, February 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

DENVER, CO - Opera Colorado presents Antonín Dvorák's rarely-performed masterpiece Rusalka for four performances only, February 12 through 20 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. This dynamic and visually compelling production will be the first time the opera has been performed in Colorado and the company's first opera performed in Czech.

Rusalka will star soprano Kelly Kaduce in the title role. Opera News praised her work, writing, "Kaduce sings with a bell-like purity and silvery sweetness, and she suspends her legato with an effortless, sensual spin. A born actress, Kaduce is also a masterful illuminator of text."

Rusalka is the story of a water sprite who longs to become human so she can be with the mortal man she loves. Rusalka sings the haunting "Song to the Moon," begging the celestial orb to tell the Prince of her love. The witch Jezibaba makes Rusalka's dreams come true. But when the Prince she loves is unfaithful, there are tragic results for all.

Rusalka is also the centerpiece of a citywide cultural celebration of Czech arts called Czech Point Denver. Spearheaded by Opera Colorado, the festival includes classical music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, history and more. A complete schedule of events is available at the festival's website:

Ellie Caulkins Opera House
14th & Curtis Street at the Denver Performing Arts Complex in downtown Denver
Tickets range in price from $20 to $150
Purchase tickets online:  |  Purchase ticket by phone: 800.982.ARTS

Live Broadcast
"We are excited to announce that the February 20th performance of Rusalka will be broadcast live statewide on Colorado Public Radio's classical music channel," said General Director Gregory Carpenter. The broadcasts can be heard in Denver on KVOD, 88.1 FM and in Boulder on 99.9 FM. A list of statewide translators is available at Colorado Public Radio's website. The broadcast will also be streamed live on their website at The broadcast is made possible thanks to a generous donation from Ellie Caulkins. 

About the Production 
Stage Director Eric Simonson created this production for Minnesota Opera and Boston Lyric Opera in 2008. Though it is inspired by fairy tales, Simonson looked for the story's human qualities when creating the work. "I want the audience to be moved by the characters," he told the Boston Globe when he directed the opera there in 2009. "It's about two people in love, trying to break through dimensions. They are struggling to be together even though they can't be." Simonson said his approach to the opera was inspired by two films: the 1943 film Heaven Can Wait, and the 1987 Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire. Both films tell similar stories about supernatural beings trying to find love among mere mortals. "I didn't want to do anything outrageous," Simonson continued in the interview. "It's a simple, sad story about being an outsider." Simonson is the 2010-2011 Nathaniel Merrill Honorary Director, made possible by a generous grant from Pamela Merrill.

To create this production of Rusalka, Simonson, a member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company and an award-winning theatre, film, and opera director, led a design team that includes set designer Erhard Rom, costume designer Kärin Kopischke, lighting designer Robert Wierzel and projection designer Wendall K. Harrington. Mr. Rom has designed over 150 productions for prestigious theatre and opera companies across North America. Also a member of Steppenwolf, designer Kärin Kopischke teaches at DePaul and Northwestern universities. Mr. Wierzel is currently represented on Broadway with the award-winning musical Fela! His international career has also included designs for many distinguished musical artists, many of the world's leading opera, theatre and dance companies, and many major art shows and installations. Ms. Harrington's award-winning video designs include Broadway credits such as The Who's Tommy, Grey Gardens, Company and many others, as well as designs for opera, dance, and tours for musicians such as John Fogerty and The Talking Heads.

State-of-the-art video technology transports the audience from Rusalka's watery realm to the mysterious forests of Bohemia and the stark, cold palace of the Prince. These seamless transitions create a magical atmosphere where Dvořák's melodies can unfold.

The Denver performances of Rusalka will be conducted by Alexander Polianichko who recently conducted an all-Russian program for the Colorado Symphony. Maestro Polianichko is a distinguished symphonic conductor who has held the positions of Principal Conductor of the Minsk Chamber Orchestra and Bournemouth Sinfonietta. He gained an extensive operatic repertoire at the Mariinsky and has also worked with major opera companies throughout the world including English National Opera, San Francisco Opera and Milan's La Scala.

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