Opera Steamboat kicks off 20th year with new piano series
The 20th anniversary season of Opera Steamboat will kick off this month with a new series, the “Variations Piano Series,” bringing world-class pianists from across the country to Steamboat Springs.
The first concert will take place Friday, Jan. 21, and will feature international pianist and educator Jeremy Reger.
Reger, who has been playing the piano since he was 5 years old, currently works as a pianist in the opera field, combining two things he loves: music and storytelling.
“I’ve always been a big reader,” he said. “I love stories, and I love music. So it made sense that telling stories with music became my go-to.”
With his Friday concert, he said he wants to introduce people to the concept of piano within opera, what it involves and how his study of the piano and opera came together for his career.
What: The Variations Piano Series presents Jeremy Reger
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21
Where: Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.
Info: Tickets are $25 at OperaSteamboat.org. All audience members must be fully vaccinated, and masks are required at all times while in the library.
Reger is currently a vocal coach, as well as the Head of Music Staff and the Choir Master of Eklund Opera at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is also the music director and coach for CU New Opera Workshop, a workshop-style, interactive performance that features acclaimed opera composers working with CU singers on new operas on their way to professional world premieres.
Even as an advocate for “new opera,” Reger said he likes to play all kinds of music.
“I like to break down the boundaries of classical, opera, musical theater,” he explained. “I think we’re in the process of getting rid of those walls, and I like that.”
During Friday’s concert, the audience will hear some solo piano repertoire, Bach and Brahms, some opera and even a bit of “The Wizard of Oz.”
The next concert in the piano series will be performed in April by The Vieness Piano Duo, a husband-and-wife team who have captivated audiences and been highly sought after since they formed in 2017.
While the Variations Piano Series is new for the organization, their continued programming includes their Opera in the Schools program, their annual Voices of Steamboat competition, which is returning for a third year, and multiple summer opera performances, including “La Bohème,” “The Three Feathers,” “Company” and “As One.”
“This season, we will have more opera, more young artists, more presentations than ever before,” said Andres Cladera, the organization’s general and artistic director.
A main focus this year is the diversity of presentations offered by Opera Steamboat. The opera “As One” is about a transgender experience and two of the operas presented this summer — “The Three Feathers” and “As One” — were written by women.
For Cladera, celebrating 20 years of Opera Steamboat means reflecting on the history of the organization as an opportunity to plan strategies for the future.
“We need to reflect on what kind of an organization we are and what kind of services we want to deliver to the community to enrich its well-being,” he said.
The nonprofit has also received funding to start their endowment this year, to ensure the sustainability of the organization.
The third annual Voices of Steamboat Competition returns March 6, providing Steamboat singers a chance to perform while also raising money for their favorite local nonprofit.
Submit your application by Jan. 30 to participate. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply; submit your name, the organization you will fundraise for and an audio or video file/link of your singing (5 minutes max).
Duos, trios and ensembles are also welcome to apply. For more, visit OperaSteamboat.org
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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