Opera Theatre of the Rockies to present Verdi’s Aida in May
Contact: Susanne Wheeler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Opera Theatre of the Rockies is proud to present Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece, Aida, for its 20th Anniversary main stage production. A world-wide favorite, Aida offers a heart-rendering storyline and rich music. It has been performed through the centuries in almost every major opera house in the world. Written and sung in Italian, Aida was premiered at Cairo’s Opera House in 1871. A dramatic opera in four acts, it is set in ancient Egypt during the pharaohs’ reign. The opera is a tragic love story of the warrior Radamès and his love for the enslaved Ethiopian Princess, Aida. She is torn between her love for him and loyalty to her country, and it involves elements of deep-felt patriotism, jealousy, war, and the conflict between a strong sense of duty versus deep-felt love.
Aida features eight main characters with singers expertly brought together from all over the globe by Opera Theatre’s Artistic Director and Producer, Martile Rowland. Aida is being sung by internationally-acclaimed soprano, Marsha Thompson, hailed for her “warm and agile voice…and expressive singing.” Winner of several prestigious competitions and grant awards from Foundations and the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Thompson has received further accolades for her performances with orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa singing such roles as Mimi in La Boheme, Bess in Porgy and Bess, Liu in Turandot, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Violetta in La Traviata, and Marguerite in Faust. She made her European debut as Aida in Franco Zeffirelli’s new production of Aida in Milan Piccolo Teatro a La Scala.
Ta’u Pupu’a as Radamès, is unique in the opera world. He was an outstanding NFL Defensive End with the Cleveland Browns when a career-ending injury changed his life and led him to a new career — opera. A graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center, he has been hailed as having “limitless power…and a voice of real gold”, Mr. Pupu’a has been described as having a “ravishing, glorious, and meaty voice.” His experience encompasses oratorio and concert work in addition to many operatic roles worldwide, including performances as Cavaradossi in Tosca, Pollione in Norma, Cassio in Otello, Dr. Caius in Falstaff, the Duke in Rigoletto, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.
Katherine Goeldner as Amneris, has a “rich vocal tone…and sings excitingly with radiance and agility.” She has performed in two world premieres and debuted her role as Amneris in Aida with Utah Opera. Her starring roles have taken her all over the world from her Marcellina in Le nozze de Figaro with Lyric Opera of Chicago to her debut as Hippolyta in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Hawaii Opera Theater; from southern France in the title role of Der Rosenkavalier in Toulouse and Lyon, to sing her signature role of The Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos, Madrid, Paris and Salzburg, where she makes her home.
Brian Major as Amonasro, has been praised for his “velvet voice and commanding stage presence.” This season marked his debut as Amonasro with a joint production of Aida with Opera Columbus and the Columbus Symphony. Besides his recent roles as Escamillo in Carmen, the title role of Don Giovanni, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and the Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Mr. Major is an accomplished recitalist and concert artist having sung a French opera concert in Montpellier, France and several works with the Siena Chamber Orchestra in Italy.
Ashraf Sewailam as Ramfis, is not new to Colorado Springs, having sung several roles with Opera Theatre of the Rockies. Last season throughout the U.S., he performed the roles of Mustafa in L’italiana in Algieri, Alidoro in La Cenerentola and Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In addition, roles in Colorado include Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors in Central City, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, and Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado. Mr. Sewailem has performed in operas and concerts across the U.S. and worldwide, from New Zealand and Queensland, and from Beirut to Cairo.
Erik Kroncke as The King, returns to his home town of Colorado Springs to sing once again with Opera Theatre. Described as “engaging…with a bass of astounding depth and warmth,” Mr. Kroncke has been in demand across the U.S. to sing Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra, Philip in Don Carlo, Mephistopheles in Faust, and Enrico VIII in Anna Bolena. He has won numerous first place awards, and is accomplished in symphonic and oratorio music. He performs annually in summer opera concerts in Oderzo and Feltre, Italy.
Humberto Borboa as The Messenger has also sung with Opera Theatre of the Rockies for the past few years. He is a former Apprentice Artist from Tulsa and Central City Operas, and recently made his debut as Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute with the Arapahoe Philharmonic. He is an accomplished recitalist with engagements in Austria, Guatemala, Czech Republic, Italy, and Mexico. In 2017, Mr. Borboa sang with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus for their recent production of Puccini’s Turandot and in 2016, made his NYC debut with Martha Cardona Opera in their production of Pagliacci.
Carolyn Hoehle as the High Priestess and Aida Cover, is also no stranger to Colorado Springs, having performed opera scenes in Opera Theatre’s summer Vocal Arts Festival for two summers. Debuting with Opera Theatre of the Rockies, the emerging soprano added several new roles to her repertoire, covering Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos and Micaela in Carmen for Austin Opera. A Master of Music graduate of CSU in Ft. Collins and previously having attended the Royal Academy of Music in London, Ms. Hoehle is an active recitalist.
Steven LaCosse, Director of the Fletcher Opera Institute at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, is the Stage Director, and James Albritten, Conductor and Artistic Director and General Director of Piedmont Opera in North Carolina, is Aida’s Conductor. Deborah Jenkins Teske is Director of the Colorado Springs Chorale and Aida Chorus Master, and Daniel S. Brink is Music Director and Coach.
Aida is the 36th different opera production presented by Opera Theatre of the Rockies in its 20-year history.
Artistic Director and Founder, Martile Rowland, is proud to collaborate with the Colorado Springs Chorale and the Bee Vradenburg Opera Orchestra, bringing this production to the Shockley-Zalabak Theater at the Ent Center for the Arts, the first main-stage opera performance offered in the new Theater.
Aida will be performed on Thursday, May 10 and Saturday, May 12 at 7:00 pm, and on Sunday, May 13 at 3:00 pm. There will be a 20th Anniversary Champagne Gala Celebration on May 10 at 5 – 6:30 pm on May 10 in the Murray and Betty Ross Ent Center Lobby. Tickets for the May 10 Gala Celebration are $50 per person. Aida tickets range from $24 – $65. Both tickets are on sale at the Ent Center Box Office or by calling 719-255-3232, or online at UCCSpresents.org. For more detailed information about Opera Theatre of the Rockies, go to their website at www.operatheatreoftherockies.org.