Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome to Czech Point Denver!

I was having coffee with a friend this past weekend and talk turned to work. I mentioned that Opera Colorado would be performing our first Czech opera this coming season, Rusalka by Antonìn Dvořák.

My friend is very well-traveled and a musician with an above-average knowledge of classical music. Yet her immediate response to this news was: “Dvořák wrote an opera?”

Her reaction is really not all that surprising. While Rusalka is probably Dvořák’s most popular opera (he wrote ten in all), the opera is unfamiliar to many opera fans.

In fact, much of Czech culture is unfamiliar to many Americans. As I began to learn more about Rusalka and Dvořák, I began to explore other aspects of Czech culture. And as I learned more, I was constantly saying to myself, “I didn’t know that!”

Prague has been a world capital for nearly 1100 years. Czech and Bohemian culture is staggering in its richness and complexity. Throughout much of modern history, Czech artists have been making major contributions to literature, music, architecture, the visual arts, film and more. Many of the world’s great cultural movements had their beginnings in Prague.

As Opera Colorado prepares to present our first Czech opera, we decided we’d like to explore and celebrate this fertile cultural landscape. Czech Point Denver is the result.

Czech Point Denver will be a city-wide celebration of Czech arts and culture scheduled for January and February 2011. The festival is spearheaded by Opera Colorado and is a cooperative project of several Denver arts organizations, including the Denver Art Museum, The Colorado Symphony and Buntport Theater, among others. Events will include film screenings, lectures, concerts, performances and interactive arts activities. We’re also creating opportunities to engage students with each of the partner organizations. By the time the curtain comes down on Rusalka next February, we hope to have cooperatively helped create many “aha moments” as our audiences explore Czech culture and this remarkable opera with us.

Regular updates about the project will be available through this blog and our website, If you’d like, you’re also welcome to sign up for e-mail updates. We’re also setting up a Facebook fan page and establishing a Twitter feed. We’re engaging some great writers who can help us explore many different Czech-related topics online.

In the meantime, here’s a taste of this beautiful opera. Opera Colorado’s production will star soprano Kelly Kaduce in the title role. Kelly has been featured on the cover of Opera News several times in the past few years. She also created the role in the production Opera Colorado will present. But perhaps you’ve never heard any music from Rusalka. Enjoy this link to Renee Fleming, one of the opera’s great champions, performing the most famous aria from Rusalka, “The Song to the Moon.”

-Rex Fuller, Opera Colorado Director of Marketing

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