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Opera Fort Collins proudly presents a new production of Giacomo Pucinni’s commedia dell’arte opera TURANDOT at the Lincoln Center, Friday May 30, 2014 – 7:30 p.m (Pre-opera Talk 6:30 p.m). Listen to a full hour of performance/interview with our guests Brian Clay Luedloff, Leah Crowne, Kimberli Render, Andrew Lunsford, Wes Kenney and Gerald Holbrook LIVE in the KRFC 88.9FM [email protected] studio.

This passionate tale of a Chinese princess whose cruelty veils her fear of love features some of Puccini’s most stirring music, including the acclaimed “Nessun dorma” (None Shall Sleep). It is a dramatic fairy-tale about family loyalty, faithfulness to duty, openness to emotion, and personal integrity. The barbarian Prince Calàf arrives in an unknown city where he is reunited with his father and a faithful servant. Seeing her from afar, Calàf falls in love with the beautiful but emotionally cold Princess Turandot. To obtain permission to marry her, a suitor must solve three riddles; any false answer results in death. Many a young man has lost his head (literally) trying to win Turandot for his bride. Calàf passes the test, yet still the princess hesitates to marry him. He offers her a way out, agreeing to die should she be able to guess his real name. So… will she melt or does he get burned?

Sung in Italian w/ easy-to-read English supertitles. Pre-Opera Talk: Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for the Turandot pre-opera talk. OFC Artistic and Music Directors will offer a wealth of information about the opera you are about to experience.

About our Guests

Brian Clay Luedloff: Artistic Director, Opera Fort Collins – Brian Clay Luedloff has served as Artistic Director for Opera Fort Collins since June, 2011. In addition to providing artistic leadership for the company, he has directed Tosca, Carmen, Amahl and the Night Visitors, il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Daughter of the Regiment, The Gift of the Magi, and Faust for the company. He also serves as Director of Opera Theatre and Associate Professor of Music at The University of Northern Colorado, where he has directed la Traviata, la Divina, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, The Pirates of Penzance, Cendrillon, Little Women, Dido & Aeneas, Hänsel und Gretel, The Bartered Bride, Bastien and Bastienne, The Impresario, le Nozze di Figaro, and la Cambiale di Matrimonio. Professionally Mr. Luedloff has staged Lucia di Lammermoor, l’Elisir d’amore, Cavalleria Rusticana and Gianni Schicchi for Connecticut Opera; Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Die Fledermaus for LyriCo, the light opera company of St. Louis (where he also served as founding Artistic Director); La Bohéme and The Thunder of Horses for Opera Theatre of St. Louis; The Barber of Seville, The Daughter of the Regiment and Hänsel and Gretel for Boston Lyric’s Opera New England; Lucia di Lammermoor and la Traviata for St. Louis’ Union Avenue Opera; The Happy Prince and Down in the Valley for Sarasota Youth Opera; Romance/Romance, All in the Timing and the musical I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change for the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor, Maine; Madama Butterfly for Green Mountain Opera Festival in Vermont; Elixir of Love for Loveland Opera Theatre; and Madama Butterfly and la Traviata for the Livermore Valley Opera in California. Additionally he has directed plays and musicals for regional theaters around the country as well as off-Broadway. Mr. Luedloff has served on the staging staff of Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, the Dallas Opera and Houston Grand Opera, assisting renowned directors Colin Graham, John Copley, Mary Zimmerman, Stefano Vizioli, Olivier Tambosi, David McVicar, Leon Major, James Robinson, Renata Scotto and Eric Simonson.

Andrew Lunsford, tenor (Caláf) – Andrew Lunsford AMERICAN TENOR ANDREW LUNSFORD is a rising artist who hails from Colorado. FOX NEWS describes Mr. Lunsford as “quickly rising to the top due to his jaw dropping voice,” and Inside Magazine describes him as having a “take your breath away high C.” He has been featured on some of the world’s most distinguished stages including The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., The Valley Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, and Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage – Carnegie Hall in New York City. In addition, he has been featured on ABC & NBC NEWS, and in various newspapers, trade journals and magazines such as Indianapolis Monthly, Indiana University Alumni Magazine, and Classical Singer Magazine. Lunsford was also featured in “The Accidental Tenor,” a prime time CNN news feature that documented the unusual path he took toward his operatic career. 

After discovering his vocal abilities in his late 20s, Lunsford was granted a full scholarship to the esteemed Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he trained with legendary soprano Carol Vaness. In 2010, “The Conservatory Project: Today’s Best Students, Tomorrow’s Brightest Stars,” featured Lunsford as he represented Indiana University. As a member of this prestigious program designed to showcase music students with the brightest futures from the top 15 conservatories in the nation, he performed in recital at the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts.

Lunsford’s upcoming roles include the tenor soloist in the Mozart Requiem with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, covering the role of Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and singing the roles of President Arthur and Bushy in Chautauqua Opera’s The Ballad of Baby Doe. In 2014, he returns in recital to the Perelman Stage / Stern Auditorium – Carnegie Hall.

Leah Crowne, dramatic soprano (Princess Turandot)- Leah Crowne AMERICAN DRAMATIC SOPRANO LEAH CROWNE (Princess Turandot) is an emerging professional artist who is quickly earning a reputation for her strong stage presence, powerful voice, and beautiful tone. Opera Fort Collins is pleased to debut Ms. Crowne in the title role of Puccini’s Turandot on May 30, 2014. She was a finalist in the 2014-2015 season auditions for the Ryan Opera Center of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where her “Dich, teure Halle” from Tannhäuser was praised as being spot on and glorious. In 2013, Crowne was invited in 2013 by Dolora Zajick to attend the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices. She performed the roles of Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with the Hub Opera ensemble in Hagerstown, and received a young artist scholarship as an Emerging Singer in the Wagner Society of Washington DC. Credits include selections of Leonora from La forza del Destino and Norma at Opera New Jersey, Puccini’s Suor Angelica, solos in Vivaldi’s Gloria. Earlier credits include the heroines of Mozart: Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), and Elettra (Idomeneo), Chrysothemis (Elektra), Woglinde (Das Rheingold) and Sieglinde (selections from Die Walküre). An avid pedagogue, Crowne serves as faculty at Gettysburg College, Mount Saint Mary’s University, and The International School of Music. She lives in Frederick, Maryland.

Kimberli Render, lyric soprano (Liu) – Kimberli Render AMERICAN LYRIC SOPRANO KIMBERLI RENDER, originally from Columbus, Georgia, never dreamed of a career in opera. Now she can be seen performing throughout Colorado, the United States, and abroad. Her voice has been praised for her effortless and rich tone. Opera Fort Collins welcomes Ms. Render as she makes her professional debut in Puccini’s Turandot as Liù, May 30. Recent operatic performances include the role of Hanna Glawari in Colorado State University’s production of The Merry Widow, Elisetta in Il matrionio segreto, the Governess in Turn of the Screw, Micaela in Carmen, and Lucinda in Into the Woods. Credits include Mozart’s Coronation Mass the soprano soloist for Bach’s Magnificat under the baton of the world-renowned conductor, Helmuth Rilling, and as a featured performer on the “Broadway and Beyond” concert with Metropolitan Opera baritone Stephen West. During 2012, Ms. Render made her international debut singing the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Opera Orvieto in Italy. Upcoming concert engagements include a performance in Mozart’s Requiem. Render’s hard work has earned her continued success as a vocal artist. She was the 2012 First Place award winner in the prestigious Denver Lyric Opera Guild competition, a district winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, and numerous awards at the National Association of Teachers of Singers and Music Teachers National Association competitions. In 2011 Render completed two Bachelors of Music degrees in Music Education and Vocal Performance at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music. She completed her Master in Vocal Performance degree at Colorado State University in 2013. Currently, she has a private voice studio and is teaching Music Appreciation at CSU.

Wes Kenney: Music Director, Opera Fort Collins This production marks the start of Wes Kenney’s 10th season as Music Director of Opera Fort Collins. He also holds the positions of Music Director of the Fort Collins Symphony and Professor of Music, Director of Orchestras at Colorado State University. Mr. Kenney has conducted productions of Aida, Albert Herring, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Barber of Seville, La Boheme, Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, Cenerentola, Cosi fan tutte, Daughter of the Regiment, Dear World, Don Giovanni, Falstaff, Faust, Fledermaus, Gift of the Magi, Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, A Little Night Music, Marriage of Figaro, The Merry Widow, No, No, Nanette, I Pagliacci, Rape of Lucretia, Rigoletto, Secret Garden, Street Scene, Sweeney Todd, Tenderland, Tosca, La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Turandot, Turn of the Screw, and Die Zauberflöte. He has appeared as conductor for Gianni Schicchi and Die Kluge for the Oakland Lyric Opera and Carmen for Taconic Opera in New York. This past July he made his debut at the Colorado Music Festival conducting the score to the Wizard of Oz with film and live orchestra. He has taught at the Conductors Institute at Bard College and helped create the CSU Summer Conducting Masters Degree Program for Music Educators. In 2009, Mr. Kenney was named Educator of the Year by the Colorado Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Previously, he was awarded the Grand Prize in the Summer 2007 Varna (Bulgaria) International Conducting Competition. He traveled back to Bulgaria in March 2008 for concerts in Vidin and to conduct La Traviata in Stara Zagora.

Gerald W. Holbrook – Chorus Master/Educational Outreach Director – Gerald Holbrook: Chorus Master/Educational Outreach Director, Opera Fort Collins Gerald W. Holbrook, OFC Chorusmaster and Educational Outreach Director, holds a doctoral degree in organ performance from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a masters degree in piano performance from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Dr. Holbrook’s performance credits include solo recitals throughout the USA and the Bahamas. He has performed with several mid-west symphony orchestras; sung and recorded with the William Ferris Chorale and performed in Moscow while on tour with the Abendmusik chorus. With over 30 years experience in choral music, he also has an interest in Gregorian chant, gives workshops around the country in this ancient genre and has three recordings to his credit. As a composer, he focuses on sacred choral music. Some of his recent works have been performed by San Francisco’s noted Schola Cantorum. Prior to his move to Colorado, he taught organ at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Gregorian Chant at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary. Recent performances include performing with The Rocky Mountain Brassworks, the Boulder Mahler Festival Orchestra, the Cheyenne Symphony, the Colorado Chamber Orchestra and Seicento Baroque Ensemble. Currently, he is the organist at First United Methodist Church in Boulder and Colorado District Convener for the American Guild of Organists.