2015 Crested Butte Music Festival
Now it its 19th season, Crested Butte Music Festival (CBMF) continues its bold new approach in presenting music that is elevating, entertaining and transforming. Opera In Paradise (July 15-26), one of four “mini” festivals taking place during the Festival, is no exception, as some of the biggest names on the opera world, along with top-tier emerging talent through CBMF’s acclaimed training program, theCrested Butte Opera Studio, join the Festival for a six-week residency.
“Opera is the ultimate art form, combining music, theater, sets and costumes—it has something for everyone. This year’s line-up is one of our strongest in years,” says Alexander Scheirle, artistic director of Crested ButteMusic Festival.
Breaking the Mold: Cabaret Bleu and Opera on Tap
Cabaret Bleu and Opera on Tap demonstrate that opera isn’t confined to the “expected” performance venues and approaches.
Since its beginnings in 19th-century Paris, cabaret has been a beloved form of expression, bridging the worlds of classical and popular art. On June 30, members of the Crested Butte Opera Studio will perform Cabaret Bleu, directed by internationally renowned director Kevin Newbury with a special appearance by local singer Ron Earl. The lively performance will feature music and scenes by Cole Porter and Noël Coward and begins at 7:30 p.m.at Gunnison High School, with tickets available for $28 per person.
Leave the opera glasses and gowns at home and grab a beer or a cocktail instead at the late-night Opera on Tap at Kochevar’s Saloon in CrestedButte. Ron Earl and the Crested Butte Opera Studio will serenade the audience with popular arias and ensembles from great operas and musical theater. This free presentation is part of CBMF’s commitment to making the festival and opera accessible to everyone. The event will begin at 10 p.m.
Main-Stage Opera: Donizetti’s Don Pasquale
Maestro David Stern, CBMF’s new music director of opera, joins the Festival for a season that will feature a new production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale on July 22, 23, 25 and 26. When the rich and middle-aged Don Pasquale decides he wants to marry, the wily Dr. Malatesta convinces his friend Norina to help dupe the old man’s pretensions. Donizetti’s comic masterpiece glows with unforgettable melodies as audiences laugh at Don Pasquale’s good-humored misfortunes and celebrate the eventual triumph of Norina and her young lover.
Renowned bass Kevin Glavin makes his CBMF debut in the title role, joined by guest tenor Jason Slayden and members of the acclaimed Crested ButteOpera Studio and Opera Children’s Chorus. Fenlon Lamb directs this lively new production, which presents Donizetti’s heart-warming opera with a modern twist.
At the free talk “Everything You Wanted To Know About Donizetti But Were Afraid To Ask” on July 15, Maestro Stern will lead a lively discussion about Donizetti’s masterpiece Don Pasquale, including insights about the origins of the piece and the musical and dramatic highlights. Sign up online for a free ticket to the talk, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at Crested Butte Mountain Theatre.
Artist-In-Residence and Intimate Home Soirée – Barry Banks
World-renowned tenor Barry Banks returns for a second year as artist-in-residence, and will work directly with Opera Studio participants who will be performing an evening of arias and ensembles from beloved operas at the Opera Studio Gala at Center for the Arts Crested Butte on July 16. Banks also will lead a master class for Opera Studio artists at Union Congregational Church on July 20. Tickets for the gala cost $40, and the public can observe the master class for free.
On July 21, Banks will present an intimate concert of songs and arias joined by his wife, mezzo-soprano Toby Newman. Always a favorite part of CBMF’s annual calendar, the opera Home Soirée is an intimate concert featuring casual socializing over wine and appetizers in one of the valley’s most exquisite mountain homes. A limited number of tickets are available for theJuly 21 concert, and the cost is $210.
Training the Stars of Tomorrow
Crested Butte Opera Studio (formerly known as the Marcello Giordani Young Artists Program) provides gifted singers and pianists opportunities to study and perform with leading opera professionals during a six-week residency at CBMF (June 15 – July 26). Launched in 2008, the program has grown from 35 applicants to more than 400 competing for eleven positions this year.
In 2015, participants will undergo a rigorous training program that includes 40 hours per week of vocal and dramatic instruction, along with dance and fitness training. Opera Studio participants perform roles in the main stage opera, present an evening of cabaret (June 30), sing a concert with the Festival Symphony Orchestra (July 16), and perform in public master classes given by tenor Barry Banks (July 20) and dramaturg Cori Ellison (July 17). Additionally, members of the Studio will be featured in public master classes focused on Purcell’s ground-breaking opera Dido and Aeneas, led by Opera Music Director David Stern (June 27 and July 24). All master classes are free and open to the public.
Opera Children’s Chorus (OCC) is a unique, tuition-free, three-week intensive performance program for talented young singers, ages 8 to 18. OCC participants receive professional-level performance training and experience and access to festival events. OCC will present a concert of choral favorites at Union Congregational Church on July 15 at 4 p.m. Led by OCC Director Allison Armerding and Music Director Stephen Sulich, this inspiring afternoon of song is sure to delight the entire family.
As a culmination of the chorus’s three-week training program, the talented young singers will present Getting To Know The Sound Of Music, a children’s version of the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical at Center for the Arts Crested Butte on July 25 at 11 a.m. The production will be directed by rising director Omer Ben-Seadia.
Tickets to OCC performances cost $10 each. A limited number of free SoundTrack Kids tickets for ages 6 to 18 are available for both performances (kids 6 to 12 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult).
A native New Yorker, CBMF Music Director of Opera David Stern is a born communicator. Whether conducting a major symphony orchestra, a baroque opera or teaching vocal master classes, Stern rivets his musicians, students and audiences. Founder/Director of the Paris-based opera studio and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, Maestro Stern recently was appointed music director of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and chief conductor of Palm Beach Opera.
Artist-in-residence tenor Barry Banks is known for his aptitude for roles in productions of works by Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti, which regularly take him to the world’s leading opera houses. Current season highlights include his debut as Arnold (Guillaume Tell) at Welsh National Opera and a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London to sing Don Narciso in Il turco in Italia.
Kevin Glavin is a highly respected bass with a career that spans major roles sung in leading national and international houses. Highlights include Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with San Francisco Opera; Mustafà in L’Italiana in Algeri, with New York City Opera; and the title role in Don Pasquale with New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Colorado, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and L’Opéra de Montréal
Winner of a 2012-13 Sullivan Career Grant, tenor Jason Slayden has been celebrated for the warmth and beauty of his voice, as well as demonstrating “considerable subtlety as an actor.” Recent performances include a debut with Gotham Chamber Opera in their double bill of Bohuslav Martinů’s Alexandre Bis and Veselohra na Mostĕ (Comedy on the Bridge) and appearances as il Duca di Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Arizona Opera, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Ash Lawn Opera and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Austin Lyric Opera.
The top-tier directorial staff includes Omer Ben-Seadia (Opera Santa Barbara, Merola Opera Program, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music), Fenlon Lamb (Arizona Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Mobile Opera, Bar Harbor Music Festival) and Kevin Newbury (San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera).
Schedule, Tickets & More
To view the entire 2015 Crested Butte Music Festival schedule and purchase tickets, visit www.crestedbuttemusicfestival.org. The seven-week festival also features contemporary, chamber, symphony and gypsy jazz music along with children’s concerts and a Home Soirées series. For additional information, call 970.349.0619.
CRESTED BUTTE MUSIC FESTIVAL’S GYPSY JAZZ IN PARADISE
Now in its fifth season, Crested Butte Music Festival’s Gypsy Jazz in Paradise celebrates the music of Django Reinhardt, one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century, on Aug. 6 – 9. New this year is the four-day Frank Vignola Gypsy Jazz Guitar Camp and the addition of an extra day to the schedule. This year’s festival includes performances by Ben Powell, Olli Soikkeli, Brian Netzley, Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo and Cyrille Aimée.
Also for the first time, three of the performances will take place at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory’s new Community Center in the historic mining town of Gothic, which dates back to the late 1800s.
“Our goal is to keep our audiences asking, ‘What’s next?’ Gothic is one of the most picturesque places in the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley and is steeped in rich history, just like gypsy jazz,” says CBMF Director Alexander Scheirle. “A shuttle ride to Gothic for these performances is included in ticket purchases as parking is limited, plus concert-goers can sit back and enjoy the scenery.”
Frank Vignola Gypsy Jazz Guitar Camp
New this year, the Festival is collaborating with guitarist extraordinaire, Frank Vignola to offer a Gypsy Jazz Guitar Camp.
“We are thrilled to team up with Frank, one of the foremost gypsy jazz guitarists in the world,” Scheirle says.
Rhythm guitar, improvisation, a specific workshop on the secrets and riffs of Django Reinhardt’s style, participant ensembles, and late-night jam sessions around the outdoor fire pit are among the workshops and activities planned for camp, which runs from Aug. 6 – 9 at Elevation Hotel and Spa in Mt.Crested Butte.
The $350 registration cost includes six workshops, jam sessions, three tickets to Gypsy Jazz In Paradise performances, and a set up and maintenance clinic by Thorell Fine Guitars. Registration for individual workshop sessions will be available for $50 per session starting July 1, based on availability.
Joining Vignola on the teaching staff are Frank’s guitar duo partner, gypsy jazz musician and educator Vinny Raniolo and Finnish guitar sensation Olli Soikkeli.
Frank Vignola’s stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis and Tommy Emmanuel as well as the Boston Pops and New York Pops. At the age of 28, Vinny Raniolo is already among the elite. He has performed and recorded with Bucky Pizzarelli, Tommy Emmanuel and David Grisman, just to name a few.
Born in 1991 and now based in New York City, Soikkeli started playing guitar at age of 12 and began focusing on gypsy jazz soon after. Despite being only in his early 20s, Soikkeli has already played with stars such as Bucky Pizzarelli, Andreas Öberg, Samson Schmitt, Anat Cohen, Tommy Emmanuel, Paulus Schäfer, Antti Sarpila and Marian Petrescu.
The Gypsy Jazz In Paradise All Star Band, led by Vignola and Powell, kicks off Gypsy Jazz in Paradise on the evening of Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. Olli Soikkeli, Brian Netzley and Vinny Raniolo also are part of this gypsy jazz super ensemble that will be on stage together for the first time ever. The music will focus on Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and their immortal Hot Club of France. Tickets cost $50 and include bus transfer to and from Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.
British-born Ben Powell, one of the leading multi-stylistic improvising violinists of his generation, returns for his fourth year. Now a Los Angeles resident, he has worked with jazz icons such as vibraphonist Gary Burton and classical conductors Sir Roger Norrington, Marin Alsop and Keith Lockhart and been on the scoring stages of composers Hans Zimmer and Alexandre Desplat.
Back by popular demand for a Home Soirée on Aug. 7, Vignola and Raniolo inject comedy and showmanship to deliver an eclectic set of popular tunes crossing all sorts of barriers. Since “Frank and Vinny” teamed up in 2008, they have performed more than 1,000 shows at some of the most prestigious concert halls and festivals in the world. This is CBMF’s final Home Soirée for the season, offering the opportunity to enjoy an intimate concert in a beautiful mountain home, libations and appetizers. The event begins at 6 p.m. and costs $155.
Primarily raised in France by a French father and Dominican mother, Cyrille Aimée was a curious child and would sneak out of her bedroom window to wander into the nearby gypsy encampments for the annual Django Reinhardt Festival. She quickly fell in love with gypsy music and now tours the world with her Cyrille Aimée Band. She also performs in a duo with Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo. Audiences can enjoy one of the few female gypsy jazz performers on Aug. 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $50 and include bus transfer to and from Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.
It’s hard to beat a Sunday morning that starts with a delicious brunch, a spectacular view of Gothic Mountain, and Ben Powell and Brian Netzley’s musical tribute to Stéphane Grappelli. The Gypsy Jazz In Paradise Brunch onAug. 9 begins at 10:30 a.m. and costs $76, which includes bus transfer to and from Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.
Schedule, Tickets & More