Opera Steamboat premieres “Orpheus and Euridice” at Saturday’s community concert | SteamboatToday.com

Opera Steamboat premieres “Orpheus and Euridice” at Saturday’s community concert

Maestro Andres Cladera, conductor and artistic director for Opera Steamboat, will perform at a special community concert Saturday with visiting soprano Margaret Ozaki-Graves and clarinetist Guillermo Ramasasa. The concert will feature “Shepherd on the Rock” by Franz Schubert and “Orpheus and Euridice” by Ricky Ian Gordon.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There will be no grandiose production with costumes or sets to transport the audience to another time and place.

The audience will be only a few feet away from musicians on stage.

Soprano Margaret Ozaki-Graves, clarinetist Guillermo Ramasasa and pianist Andres Cladera will stand in the spotlight to present their dramatic roles in Opera Steamboat's first chamber concert, which will include "Shepherd on the Rock" by Franz Schubert and "Orpheus and Euridice" by Ricky Ian Gordon.

The free community concert represents the first time “Orpheus and Euridice” will be presented to a Colorado audience and it will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Holy Name Catholic Church in Steamboat Springs.

"We wanted to showcase something traditional (Schubert) and something new and exciting by a living composer whose music is being performed all over the United States (Gordon)," said Cladera, conductor and artistic director for Opera Steamboat. "I chose these selections because of the orchestration of piano and clarinet. They provide exquisite support and storytelling to these beautiful and sometimes tragic stories."

"The two pieces are very different, yet they complement each other so well," added Ramasasa, who has played the clarinet since he was 13 and also studied in Italy under Maestro Fabrizio Meloni, the principal clarinet of the La Scala Opera Orchestra, one of the most famous opera orchestras in the world. "They test the strengths and weaknesses of the individual musicians, and it pushes us to really make some beautiful music together."

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Ozaki Graves, who had recent debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lyric Opera Weimar in Germany, Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Arizona Opera, and Ramasasa, a clarinetist in the Denver area, are both returning to Opera Steamboat after their participation in the local opera’s “Speed Dating, Tonight” event last year.

Shepherd on the Rock, according to Ozaki Graves, is a vocal chamber piece that features an early German Romantic style known as "sturm and drang."

"Try to imagine a grey and stormy day on the mountain cliffs and a sunny and verdant valley below – not hard to do in Steamboat – and you will understand the type of contrasts Schubert was trying to paint through his music," she said.

In Gordon's piece "Orpheus and Euridice," the varied operatic settings follow a story of love and loss that is often found in opera theatre.

"The clarinet has a series of solos that are meant to represent the voice of Orpheus, and the soprano sings text sometimes as narrator and sometimes as Euridice," said Ozaki Graves. "It is a very intimate and personal telling of the Orpheus story, based on Gordon’s life as he wrote all the words, as well as the music."

The community concert will also be the first time Opera Steamboat has held one of their concerts at this venue.

"I think the audience will be on their toes every second of the concert," Ramasasal said. "There are so many different styles of music that will happen. No one will get bored during the performance."

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

If you go:

What: Opera Steamboat Community Concert: “Shepherd on the Rock” and “Orpheus and Euridice”

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30

Where: Holy Name Catholic Church, 524 Oak St.