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Local opera production captures the full spectrum of life

Alisa Jordheim, middle, performs an act from "Falstaff" at the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium Tuesday afternoon. The Emerald City Opera will present "Falstaff" at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 and at 3 p.m. Aug. 17 at the high school.
John F. Russell

If you go

What: Free Concert at the Botanic Park

When: Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Yampa River Botanic Park

What: "Falstaff"

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 15 and 3 p.m. Aug. 17

Where: Steamboat Springs High School

What: "Dido and Aeneas presented by Opera Scenes Concert"

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 16

Where: Julie Harris Theater at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp

If you go

What: Free Concert at the Botanic Park

When: Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Yampa River Botanic Park



What: “Falstaff”



When: 7 p.m. Aug. 15 and 3 p.m. Aug. 17

Where: Steamboat Springs High School

What: “Dido and Aeneas presented by Opera Scenes Concert”

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 16

Where: Julie Harris Theater at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp

— More than 400 years ago, opera was deemed the “movies” of its time, offering an escape from daily life and an intensity meant to evoke a range of emotions.

Years later, it still is an art form that captures the full spectrum of life.

“You get a full spectrum of human emotion and drama, which is life up there on stage,” said Keri Rusthoi, the artistic director for the Emerald City Opera. “The art of opera and singing is to be able to sing fully with great dramatic intensity to reach the human in front of you and move them.”

In Steamboat, there is ample opportunity to appreciate the arts in all of its forms. This weekend, with the kickoff of the Steamboat All Arts Festival, there will be an Opera Scenes Concert and Youth Chorus performance at the Bud Werner Memorial Library at 3 p.m. Sunday.

A program showcasing emerging performers, the Opera Artist Institute will perform popular scenes from famous operas in an intimate setting.

Among the scenes to be featured this year will be selections from Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” with the story based on “Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid.” Deemed a monumental work from baroque opera, “Dido and Aeneas” often is referred to as one of Purcell’s most renowned theatrical works.

The concert on Sunday also will feature the Yampa Vally Youth Chorus and their summer concert pieces that include songs from “Mary Poppins” and the new Disney movie, “Frozen.”

There also will be a free concert at the Yampa River Botanic Park from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday featuring students from the Opera Artist Institute.

Smaller productions like these offer a safe environment for the actors to foster their talents and develop their repertoire of work.

“It’s an opportunity for them to do these ensemble moments without worrying about staging a whole opera,” Rusthoi said. “They can try out excerpts of the opera to see what fits for them.”

Bringing world-class professional opera and vocal artists to Northwest Colorado, the program and experience the Emerald City Opera offers is unlike any other.

“It says something about the stature our opera is gaining within the opera world,” said Jack Dysart, the Emerald City Opera board chairman. “This really enriches the artistic flow within the community.”

This year in the small setting of Steamboat, a rather large production will take place at the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium at 7 p.m. Aug. 15. Giuseppe Verdi’s comedy, “Falstaff” is a production full of intrigue, comedy, drama and musical talent. Written by the “Michael Jackson of opera,” Rusthoi said this play was the superstar’s love offering to the world and one of the most successful comedies in early opera history.

“I think it’s one of the greatest operas ever written,” said David Malis, who will perform as the main character of “Falstaff” and has been one of the renowned visiting professionals to Emerald City Opera since 2003. “With the actors selected, there is a real balance of people. It’s a hard production, but each day is getting better and I think we will pull it off really well.”

Bringing together the spectrum of human emotion and talent from these actors, Rusthoi said the full package experience is what makes her passionate about what she does. The performances from Emerald City Opera this year are sure to impress even the most unlikely opera enthusiasts.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1


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