Opera fans, listen up: The Denver Opera Collective launches this weekend.
Founded by Marlena Moore, a local singer and private music teacher, the goal of the Collective is to offer a smaller, community opera that can better accommodate the schedules of performers like Moore. (Vocal coaches work primarily in the evenings, meaning they can’t always make the rehearsal times of more traditional organizations like Opera Colorado.) “There just aren’t that many performance opportunities,” Moore says. “You have to create them yourself. I wanted to see if there was a way to do something bigger.”
The Collective operates as a nonprofit, with the singers paying tuition (a common practice) and receiving some vocal coaching in return.
The 14-singer group’s inaugural season includes two productions—and they’re both hitting the stage this weekend. Enjoy a selection of opera scenes, including pieces from Hansel and Gretel and The Ballad of Baby Doe, during A Journey in Opera (July 29 and 30). For traditionalists, George Frideric Handel’s Acis and Galatea follows on July 30 and 31. Thomas Blomster, music director for the Colorado Chamber Orchestra, will be conducting the accompanying eight-piece orchestra.
One perk of seeing a Collective performance (besides the low-price tickets) is the intimacy. Audiences will be much closer to the singers than they are used to. “It’s more of a chamber concert experience,” Moore says.
For right now, this weekend is your only chance to see the Collective in action. Moore hopes to continue the group’s work with annual summer seasons—and, if she has it her way, for more than one weekend. Says Moore: “[We want to] bring opera to more people who don’t normally think, ‘Oh, I’ll go see an opera this weekend.'”