CU NOW presents scenes from Tom Cipullo’s comedy ‘Hobson’s Choice’

Performances June 14 and 16 will be free and open to the public

By Peter Alexander June 13 at 1 p.m.

Leigh Holman, director of the University of Colorado Eklund Opera Theater, has made Boulder a mecca for composers.

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2018 CU NOW Workshop rehearsal. Photo by Glenn Asakawa, CU Presents

Every June for the past 10 years, prominent composers have brought operas in progress to the CU New Opera Workshop (CU NOW), where they can spend two to three weeks hearing their work sung by students, making changes, and polishing the score.

This year, the opera to be workshopped will be a comedy, Hobson’s Choice by Tom Cipullo.Selected scenes will be performed with piano at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 14 and 16. Additionally, new scenes by CU composition students will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15. All performances will be in the Music Theater of the CU Imig Music Building, and will be open to the public free of charge.

“It’s such a great opportunity,” Cipullo says. “A lot of workshops you work with people, but you don’t work with them for 17 days. What did you put in the water that these young people suddenly don’t have lives?” he says laughing. “They’re on call six hours a day.”

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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CU New Opera Workshop festival (CU NOW)
Leigh Holman, director
Jeremy Reger, director of music

Hobson’s Choice, Music and libretto by Tom Cipullo
7:30 p.m. Friday June 14, Music Theatre
2 p.m. Sunday, June 16, Music Theatre

Opera scenes by CU Boulder composition students
7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15
Music Theatre

Performances are free and open to the public.

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Peter Oundjian wants Colorado Music Festival to be dynamic, “exciting, a celebration”

First year as Music Director will be ‘about consolidating, preparing’ for the future

By Peter Alexander June 6 at  3:15 p.m.

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Peter Oundjian

Violinist/conductor Peter Oundjian served as artistic advisor of the Colorado Music Festival for the 2018 season, a position halfway between giving advice and being responsible for the season’s programming. He conducted three of the six weeks of orchestral concerts and invited some of the guest artists, in a season that featured works by American composers.

Now, he has been appointed the CMF’s fourth-ever music director, making 2019, in a way, “his” festival. “I guess you’re right,” he says thoughtfully about that observation, and then goes on talk in general terms about what he would like CMF to be under his direction.

“A festival should be a celebration,” he says. “I want it to be really dynamic, really exciting, with artists from all over the world., making concerts really appealing and building larger audiences.”

He is still conducting about half of the orchestral concerts, but he has shaped the programming of the entire 2019 festival and given the orchestra series an explicit theme. In anticipation with the 250thanniversary in 2020 of Beethoven’s birth, the 2019 season is an exploration of Beethoven’s influence on music that came after him, from the 19ththrough the 20thcenturies.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

The full summer schedule and ticket information for the 2019 Colorado Music Festival may be found here.

MahlerFest XXXII offers two orchestral concerts in expanded schedule

Arrangements, by Mahler and of Mahler, are part of the program

By Peter Alexander  May 16, 2019, at 2:35 p.m.

Colorado MahlerFest is growing.

Orchestra from Keith Bobo

Director Kenneth Woods with the MahlerFest Orchestra

This year, the 32nd edition of the festival will feature more repertoire than ever, including two separate orchestra programs in Macky Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday of the festival weekend (May 18–19), and a chamber music concert Friday evening (May 17).

The Festival started in Boulder in 1988 as an opportunity to hear Mahler’s symphonies, which were then not often performed. For many years the orchestra program, featuring one of the symphonies, was performed Saturday and Sunday. That has now changed, with a chamber orchestra concert on Saturday and the large orchestra concert, this year featuring Symphony No. 1, on Sunday.

MahlerFest has gone through nearly the entire symphonic cycle three times. The fourth cycle that starts this year will be the first full cycle under conductor Kenneth Woods, who succeeded festival founder Robert Olsen as director in 2016.

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Colorado MahlerFest XXXII

2 p.m. Friday, May 17, at The Academy
Chamber music Concert

Hans Krása: Tanec
Hans Krása: Passacaglia and Fugue for String Trio
Anton Bruckner: String Quintet in F Major

Free

9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18
Grusin Hall, Imig Music Buildering, CU Boulder

Program
Free

7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, Macky Auditorium
Colorado MahlerFest Chamber Orchestra, Kenneth Woods, conducting
With Joshua DeVane, baritone

Johann Strauss, Jr., arr. Arnold Schoenberg: The Emperor Waltz
Mahler, arr. Schoenberg: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen(Songs of a wayfarer)
Viktor Ullmann, arr. Kenneth Woods: Chamber Symphony (String Quartet No. 3)
Beethoven, arr. Mahler: Quartet in F Minor, op 95 (“Serioso”)

3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19, Macky Auditorium
Stan Ruttenberg Memorial Concert
Colorado MahlerFest Orchestra, Kenneth Woods, conductor
With Zoë Byers, violin

Beethoven, orchestrated by Mahler: LeonoreOverture No. 3
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major. World Premiere of new critical edition
Mahler: “Blumine” Symphonic Fragment. World Premiere of new critical edition
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto

Tickets
Full schedule for Colorado MahlerFest XXXII here.

Longmont Symphony announces 2019–2020 season, “Music is Life”

Handel’s Messiah and ongoing Beethoven cycle will be among season’s highlights

By Peter Alexander May 15 at 2:15 p.m.

The 53rdseason of the Longmont Symphony will include a performance of Handel’s Messiah, two programs in the orchestra’s ongoing Beethoven cycle, and two performances each of two chamber orchestra programs in the Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium.

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Elliot More with there Longmont Symphony. Smiling Elk Photography.

Under the title “Music is Life,” the 2019–20 season is the third under music director Elliot Moore. There will be six concerts in the LSO’s home, Vance Brand Auditorium, including a Pops concert, “LSO at the Movies!” (May 9, 2020), and a family concert (Jan. 18, 2020; see full schedule below).

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Elliot Moore

During Moore’s first two years with the LSO, the Beethoven cycle included performances of the First and Second symphonies by a chamber orchestra in Stewart Auditorium. For 2019–20, the cycle moves into Vance Brand Auditorium for a performance of the Third Symphony by the full LSO (Nov. 9), followed by the Fourth Symphony performed by the Longmont Chamber Orchestra back in Stewart Auditorium (March 7 & 8).

A longstanding tradition of the LSO, performances of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker with Boulder Ballet, will continue on Dec. 7 & 8. The “Gentle Nutcracker,” a sensory-friendly performance of the beloved ballet designed for individuals with special needs and their families, will be presented Dec. 7.

The Main Series opening night, Oct. 5, will feature organist Brian du Fresne playing Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ and the organ part of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 “avec orgue” (with organ), popularly known as the “Organ Symphony.” Other soloists during the season will include Russian cellist Adrian Daurov, playing Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (Nov. 9); the return to Longmont of violinist Andrew Sords for John Corigliano’s Violin Concerto “The Red Violin” (Feb. 15); and percussionist Cameron Leach performing Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto (April 4).

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Christie Conover

The Messiah performance (Dec. 15) will feature the Longmont Chorale Singers and vocal soloists TBA. Soprano Christie Conover and bass Joshua South will perform Stravinsky’s complete Pulcinella ballet with the Chamber Orchestra in Stewart Auditorium (Oct. 19­–20), on a program that will also include Conover singing Mozart arias with the orchestra.

Kicking off the entire season is the LSO’s annual free concert July 4 in Thompson Park. As in past years, the program will be shared with the Longmont Chorale and the Longmont Youth Symphony.

Six‐concert subscription packages for the LSO’s 53rdseason go on sale on Monday, May 20 (call 303‐772‐5796;10 a.m.–2 p.m. Mondays; and 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays). Series subscribers receive up to 20% off single ticket prices. Single tickets for Main Series concerts are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and active military, $5 for children/students ($10 for the Pops and Messiah performances).

All LSO Museum concerts are $35 (includes a glass of wine and post‐concert reception). Handel’s Messiah tickets are $30 for adults; children/students $10. Family Concert tickets are $10. Single tickets go on sale on Monday, Aug. 26, via phone and online here.

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JULY 4TH CONCERT IN THE PARK

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LSO in Thompson Park. Photo by Peter Alexander.

Thursday, July 4, 11:30 a.m.
Thompson Park, 420 Bross Street, Longmont (Free and open to the public)
11:30 a.m. – Longmont Youth Symphony
12:30 p.m. – Longmont Chorale
1 p.m. – Longmont Symphony, Elliot Moore, conductor

MAIN SERIES CONCERTS
All Main Series Concerts are conducted by Elliot Moore and performed at Vance Brand Civic Auditorium at Skyline High School. 

Opening Night: The Organ Symphony
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5
With Brian du Fresne, organ

J.S. Bach, arr. Stokowski: Passacaglia and Fugue
Francis Poulenc: Concerto for Organ
Saint‐Saëns: Symphony No. 3, “Organ Symphony” 

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Adrian Daurov

Beethoven Cycle
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9
With Adrian Daurov, cello

George Enescu: Prelude in Unison
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”

The Force of Destiny
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15
With Andrew Sords, violin

Verdi: Overture to La forza del destino
John Corigliano: The Red Violin Violin Concerto
Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 2, Rondo (“La Campanella”)
Respighi: The Pines of Rome

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Cameron Leach

A Fanfare for All: Sidebyside with the Longmont Youth Symphony
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4
With Cameron Leach, percussion

Gwyneth Walker: Open the Door
Jennifer Higdon: Percussion Concerto
Copland: Symphony No. 3

Pops Concert: LSO at the Movies!
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9

Music from Chariots of Fire, Cinema Paradiso, Batman, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, and other films

MUSEUM CONCERTS
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum

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La Commedia dell’arte
Longmont Chamber Orchestra
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Christie Conover, soprano; tenor TBA; and Joshua South, bass

7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19
4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20

Mozart: Overture to Le nozze di Figaro
Mozart: Selected arias for soprano and orchestra
Stravinsky: Pulcinella (complete ballet)

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Beethoven. Portrait by Christian Horneman, 1803

Beethoven Cycle: Schubert & Beethoven
Longmont Chamber Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor

7 p.m. Saturday, March 7
4 p.m. Sunday, March 8

Schubert: Symphony No. 5
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4

 

HOLIDAY EVENTS

 The Nutcracker with the Boulder Ballet
Music by Tchaikovsky
Elliot Moore, conductor

4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7,
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium 

The Gentle Nutcracker
1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, 1 p.m.
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

A sensory‐friendly performance for individuals with special needs and their families.

 

Handel’s Messiah
Longmont Chamber Orchestra and Longmont Chorale Singers
Elliot Moore, conductor, with vocal soloists TBA

4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15
Westview Presbyterian Church, Longmont

FAMILY CONCERT

 

Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor
4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

Saint‐Saëns: Selections from Carnival of the Animals
Bizet: Les Toreadores from Carmen
Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf 

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Subscription tickets for the LSO go on sale Monday, may 20. Call 303-772-5796. Single tickets will go on sale Monday, Aug. 26.

Dvořák’s “underrated masterpiece”

Boulder Symphony and Boulder Chorale join forces for the Stabat Mater

By Peter Alexander May 9, 2019 at 9:30 p.m.

Violin

Photo courtesy of Boulder Symphony

Antonín Dvořák has written some of the most, and least, familiar works in the classical music repertoire.

On the one hand are the “New World” Symphony, the Cello Concerto—both written in the United States—and a handful of other pieces that are immediately recognizable to most concertgoers. And on the other hand are many pieces almost never heard outside of the composer’s native Bohemia, including most of Dvořák’s operas and almost all of his sacred vocal music.

Among the latter is the Stabat Mater, a large-scale religious cantata for chorus, orchestra and four soloists, based on the 13th-century sacred hymn text “Stabat mater dolorosa” (Grieving mother, standing at the cross). Now the Boulder Symphony and the Boulder Chorale have joined forces to bring Boulder audiences a piece that conductor Vicki Burrichter calls “an underrated masterpiece.”

Burrichter, who is artistic director of the Boulder Chorale, will conduct the performances Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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“Spirit”
Boulder Symphony with the Boulder Chorale
Vicki Burrichter, conductor

J.S. Bach: Concerto for oboe, violin and strings
Keynes Chen, violin and leader; Ingrid Anderson, oboe

Dvořák: Stabat Mater
Julianne Davis, soprano; Clea Huston, mezzo-soprano; Jason Baldwin, tenor; and Malcolm Ulbrick, baritone

7 p.m. Saturday, May 11
2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 12
First Presbyterian Church, 1820 15thSt., Boulder

Tickets

Boulder Chamber Orchestra performs concert of instrumental colors for Mother’s Day

“Earthly Delights” program includes music of Debussy, Ravel and Mozart

By Peter Alexander May 9, 2019, at 2 p.m.

The next concert by the Boulder Chamber Orchestra is titled “Earthly Delights,” but it’s not about the famous painting by Hieronymus Bosch.

“This is more of an atmosphere concert,” BCO conductor Bahman Saless says. “You’ve got Debussy and Ravel in a concert and their music conjures up impressions rather than emotions. So, I thought that was nice title to put there.”

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Cobus do Toit

The full program, to be performed Friday in Lone Tree and Sunday afternoon in Boulder (see details below), features Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Ravel’s Ma mere l’Oye (Mother Goose) Suite. Also on the program are Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro and Concerto for flute and harp, featuring BCO principal flutist Cobus du Toit and harpist Jennifer Ellis.

The keystone to the program is the Mozart concerto. “The main theme of the concert was the musical colors that are portrayed with harp and flute,” Saless says. “It’s not performed very often, and you have to have an excellent flautist and harp player. Then the question comes, what will I program it with?

“That’s really tough because you have to think, well, I’d better use the flute and harp maybe somewhere else. That’s where I decided that it might be good to putThe Afternoon of a Faun in there.”

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Jennifer Ellis

Even that did not solve all the problems, though. Debussy’s atmospheric score is usually performed by a large orchestra with two harps, but the BCO’s venues did not have space for that many players. Saless found a version with the two harp parts combined into one, and with that version and the players squeezed into a tight space, they can make it work.

Afternoon of the Faun has always been one of my ultimate pieces to conduct,” he says. Saless has never conducted a performance although it is, he says. “a staple of conducting aptitude tests,” and he has studied it in workshops. “If you can conduct The Afternoon of the Faun you are in a class of people that probably should say, ‘Hey, I conducted it.’”

“I’ve conducted it in workshops before, but I haven’t dared to do it in public,” he adds.

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Marurice Ravel

Ravel’s Ma mere l’Oye is another piece Saless learned in a conducting workshop “I really did not know anything about it until last summer, where I also got exposed to it in a workshop,” he says. “It’s one of the most delightful pieces that I know, and we’ve never performed Ravel. He doesn’t have many pieces you can perform with a chamber orchestra. This is one of them, and I’m totally excited about performing it.”

Apart from it’s musical pleasures, Saless chose Ravel’s score—“Mother Goose Suite”—in a punning tribute to Mother’s Day, the date of the Boulder performance. “It does have five movements that are like little stories that we know. It fits a family concert atmosphere, which I was planning to put out there for Mother’s Day. So I’m hoping that if mothers come with their kids, they will enjoy the ‘Mother Goose Suite’ as much as the mothers do.”

The five movements of Ma mere l’Oye, all derived from better or lesser known fairy tales, are “Pavane of Sleeping Beauty,” “Tom Thumb,” “Empress of the Pagodas,” “Conversation of Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Fairy Garden.”

“The last movement is a gorgeous piece of music,” Saless says. “Ravel is an amazing composer, but he doesn’t usually touch you so deeply emotionally (as this movement), just because of the style of impressionist music. The last movement is just so beautiful!

“And the colors! The whole concert is colors. The conductor has the biggest challenge in that every few bars have to show a different color, and that’s just really fabulous.”

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“Earthly Delights”
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor
With Cobus do Toit, flute, and Jennifer Ellis, harp

Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro
Mozart: Concerto for flute and harp
Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Ravel: Ma mere l’Oye (Mother Goose)

7:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, Jubilee Christian Church, Lone Tree
3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 12, Boulder Adventist Church

Tickets

Boulder Opera presents mixed double bill of contrasting works, May 3–12

Hilarious comedy and heart-rending tragedy make “quite a buffet” 

By Peter Alexander May 2, 2019, at 2:20 p.m.

Boulder Opera, a bare-bones company now in its seventh season of offering educational programs and entertaining, stripped down performances, will present two distinctly dissimilar works for their spring production.

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Bryce Bartu as Deluso and Mary Elisabeth Kettelwell as Rosine in “Signor Deluso.” Photo courtesy of Boulder Opera.

The two works are Signor Deluso, a rollicking comedy by American composer Thomas Pasatieri, and Cavalleria Rusticana, a melodramatic tale of betrayal and murder by Pietro Mascagni. Lorraine Fitzmaurice will conduct the performances which are directed by Gene Roberts from Metropolitan State University in Denver. The cast of local singers will give five performances in slightly more than a week, May 3–12 (details below).

Lorraine Fitzmaurice

Lorraine Fitzmaurice

The two operas together add up to about 90 minutes of music, plus an intermission. Performances will be in Boulder’s intimate Nomad Playhouse.

Pianist Jordan Ortman, who is staff accompanist at Metro State and assistant organist at Boulder’s First United Methodist Church, will accompany both operas. For Cavalleria he will be joined by a string quartet playing a reduced version of the orchestral score.

Boulder Opera artistic director Dianela Acosta picked the two works. “Cavalleria had been in my mind for at least three years that I wanted to do it,” she says. To go with Cavalleria, a dark tragedy, “I wanted to do something that was very contrasting in mood,” she says.

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Jordan Ortman

Signor Deluso is filled with imagined betrayals that are “kind of like a comedy of errors,” Acosta says. “I wanted to tie it in with the theme of betrayal, and be very contrasting. It goes with the other betrayal that is a real betrayal and serious drama.”

Pasatieri is probably one of the most prolific composers and successful composers most people have never heard of. He has written 24 operas, of which Signor Deluso, with more than 10,000 performances to date, is the most successful. It was written when the composer was just 28.

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Thomas Pasatieri

The plot of Signor Deluso is too convoluted to easily summarize, but the opera is 30 minutes cram packed with the kind of mistaken assumptions and ridiculous confusions that have been the staple of comic opera from the very beginning. In the words of music critic Anne Midgette, it’s “an exuberant sendup of over-the-top comic opera plots, filled with effusive lovers leaping with alacrity to wrong conclusions in floods of extreme vocalism.”

“This story is one misunderstanding on top of another,” Roberts explains, “until of course the maid, which is a parody of (conventional comic) opera, comes in and straightens everything out. And everyone of course lives happily ever after. This piece, which I have come to love, works so well and it’s so much fun to work on. It’s just wonderful.”

“The cast is fabulous top to bottom. They’ve enjoyed finding the funny little moments in the music and making then work physically,” Roberts says. “It makes me, even knowing what’s coming, burst out in laughter every time.”

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Gene Roberts

It would be harder to go farther in the opposite direction from the imaginary betrayals without consequences that form the plot of Deluso than the high drama of Cavalleria, where the betrayals are real and the consequences severe. “This one is big feelings from the start to the end,” Roberts says. “All the emotions in this music are big, big, big.”

Cavalleria Rusticana was written for a competition in 1890, when Mascagni was 26. The first performance was greeted with ecstatic applause, as Mascagni was called back for 40 curtain calls and the opera won the first prize.

The plot concerns a series of betrayals leading to revenge and death. The events take place on Easter morning in a Sicilian village, where Santuzza learns that she has been betrayed by Turridu, who was previously betrayed by his former fiancée Lola, who now also betrays her husband, Alfio.

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Michelle Diggs-Thompson as Santuzza and Joshua Zabatta as Turridu in “Cavalleria Rusticana.” Photo courtesy of Boulder Opera.

In addition to dramatic arias and duets, the score includes a number of pieces that have become audience favorites, including a Sicilian dance song, or siciliana; an offstage Regina Coeli, sung by the chorus; a rousing drinking song; and an orchestral intermezzo that has become famous in its own right.

Roberts compares the combination of a short, effervescent comedy and Cavalleria with the convention of pairing cartoons with serious films. “I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” he says. “We’d go to the cinema and see a drama and there was a cartoon before the main feature.

“This (double bill) is quite a buffet. Cavalleria seems like the main course and maybe we have dessert first in this case, like the cartoon before the movie. Signor Deluso gets people into a mood where they’re enjoying what’s coming to them, and then an intermission and this gorgeous, gorgeous music.

“It will be a lovely, lovely evening spent in the theater.”

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Opera Double Bill
Signor Deluso by Thomas Pasatieri
Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni

Boulder Opera, Lorraine Fitzmaurice, conductor
Gene Roberts, stage director

7:30 pm. Friday—Saturday, May 3–4
7 p.m. Wednesday. May 8
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11
2 p.m. Sunday, May 12
Nomad Playhouse 1410 Quince Ave., Boulder

Tickets