WORLD PREMIERE - based on a true story! In an attempt to save a forgotten and sadly deteriorated fresco of Jesus, an elderly woman in Spain tries her hand at its restoration, only to make matters worse. Outrage is rampant and threats are made; even the spirit of the original artist gets into the act. When a photo of her botched restoration goes viral, tourists from the world over begin to arrive, helping revitalize the economy of the struggling town. Was it a miracle? Great outsider art? A selfless act of faith? Or just another internet meme?
The Opera Las Vegas Youth Chorus was founded in 2017 in collaboration with Thurman White Academy under the direction of Athena Mertes, and made their first appearances in the touring fairy tale opera, John Davies' Pinocchio.
In the fall of that year, they were the animals on the ark in Benjamin Britten's Noah's Flood, with full orchestra. Since then, more fairy tale opera tours ensued to entertain young families with opera-inspired stories like Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Bremen Town Musicians. The group twice participated in Humperdinck's classic, Hansel and Gretel, and were on stage with Metropolitan Opera stars in 2022 Main Stage production of Puccini's Tosca.
In this Twenty-fifth Anniversary Season, the 32-voice Youth Chorus' busy schedule will include the World Premiere of Behold the Man, Voices Raised for Vets, Holiday on Broadway, Celebración Latina, The Billy Goats Gruff, and Puccini's La bohème.
Opera Las Vegas is committed to equity and diversity.
OLV Receives Congratulations Letter from Joe Lombardo, Nevada Governor
It is with considerable pleasure I congratulate Opera Las Vegas as it celebrates its milestone Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Season.
We are proud to have this outstanding performing arts organization represent Nevada as a professional company member on the prestigious roster of Opera America, the National Center.
You are bringing famous, beloved classic operas to life on our local stages and have invested in the future of the art form with your essential ongoing Living Composers and Librettists Initiative. The latter has received four consecutive well-deserved grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and fosters second or subsequent productions of recent works to help establish new work in the national performing repertoire.
Your exciting outreach programs, like Opera on Wheels and 'O' is for Opera, have educated and entertained new audiences in our growing communities with diverse demographics. The Opera Las Vegas Youth Chorus has learned valuable new skills as they participate in professional performances and operatic events. Your annual free tour of a fairy tale opera brings the art form to young families experiencing such unique singing for the first time.
A quarter of a century of service and high-quality performances is a cause for celebration. "Bravo" to all who have supported Opera Las Vegas since its beginnings, and, as for the dynamic 2023-2024 season schedule of events, I hope to "see you at the opera."
Joe Lombardo Governor
BROADWAY WORLD: BEHOLD THE MAN Comes to the Horn Theatre
An elderly woman in Borja, Spain, attempts the restoration of a little-known fresco. Discovered before she can finish, the image is posted online and goes viral. Shamed on social media and shunned by her neighbors, she falls into despair. But soon curious tourists begin to arrive, restoring her place in the community, and reversing the fortunes of the tottering town.
On September 30th and October 1st, Opera Las Vegas will kick off its 25th anniversary season with the world premiere of "Behold The Man," a contemporary comic opera based on the true 2012 story of Cecilia Giménez's botched restoration of the "Ecce Homo" fresco in Borja, Spain.
Welcome & Congratulations from Carolyn G. Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas
As Mayor of the great City of Las Vegas, I welcome you to the 25th Anniversary Season of one of our City’s cultural jewels, Opera Las Vegas.
When tenor Mark Thomsen, educator Paul Kreider, and soprano Gloria Marinacci Allen founded the company in 1999, little might they have imagined during its modest beginnings that a quarter of a century later, Opera Las Vegas would be our Silver State’s widely admired professional company member in the New York-based National Center, Opera America.
The steady developmental journey of Opera Las Vegas included concerts, recitals, classes, and of course, a healthy dose of popular classics like Carmen, Madame Butterfly, Don Giovanni, and Tosca. Last season’s closing performances of Verdi’s La Traviata sold out before opening night.
Popular, classic titles are augmented as well by frequent West Coast staged premieres of recent operatic works from acclaimed national creators. A comprehensive schedule of outreach events effectively engages novices and aficionados alike as audiences are drawn to the beauty and power of the art form.
The current season starts off with great anticipation for the company’s first World Premiere, composer Paul Fowler and librettists Andrew Flack’s comic opera, Behold the Man. The 2023-2024 schedule comes to a close next June with Puccini’s immortal masterpiece, La bohème. In between, you can enjoy a diverse mixture of stage shows, concerts, events – many of which are free of charge.
We are very proud of Opera Las Vegas, and all it has brought to our City. I offer heartfelt congratulations on the remarkable landmark anniversary, and I look forward eagerly to what is in store for the “next twenty-five.”
Again, congratulations on this momentous occasion!
Carolyn G. Goodman Mayor, City of Las Vegas
2023-2024 Season Announcement
Opera Las Vegas announces its milestone 25th Anniversary Season, led off by the World Premiere of a comic opera, Behold the Man, with music by Paul Fowler and libretto by Andrew Flack.
General Director, Jim Sohre notes “Although our company has presented a number of West Coast Premieres of several other recent works, it is tremendously exciting to be entrusted to create and present our first World Premiere. We are exuberant that Paul and Drew entrusted us with this notable debut, and it is certainly a bang-up start to our landmark celebration. ”
The true story of the opera’s plot relays the well-intended “restoration” of a historic fresco of Christ in the tiny town of Borja, Spain, during which an octogenarian amateur artist feels called by God to freshen up the town’s lone cultural asset. When Cecilia Giménez badly botched the unremarkable “Behold the Man” image, the unimaginably bad results commanded international attention, provoking a widely shared meme, and generating intense tourist interest along with newly found money for Borja.
The creators will be in attendance at the two performances at the College of Southern Nevada’s Horn Theatre, on 30 September at 7:30 pm and 1 October at 2:00 pm. Although the now-famous Cecilia is too frail to attend, her niece Marisa Ibáñez will travel from Spain to represent the family and town.
The OLV season is always anchored by a classic, and this year is no exception. On 7 and 9 June 2024, Opera Las Vegas will return to its spring home at the Judy Bayley Theatre on the campus of the university of Nevada Las Vegas, for one of the most popular operas of all time, Giacomo Puccini’s immortal masterpiece, La bohème.
This world-famous opera contains some of the most beautiful and tuneful music of all time, and the tale of ill-fated lovers never fails to move audiences to fall in love with it all over again. The basis for the story found additional popularity and resonance in the musical, Rent, but nothing can eclipse the enduring appeal of Puccini’s original magnum opus.
Both of these staged productions will be conducted by award-winning Music Director Joshua Horsch, leading the cast and members of the Las Vegas Philharmonic in the pit. Maestro Horsch, who is now in his fifth season with the company said: “We’re thrilled to present our 25th anniversary season to Las Vegas audiences featuring one of the most beloved operas of all time alongside the world premiere of a terrific new comic opera. Our audiences can look forward to world-class singing supported by the wonderful musicians from our partners at the Las Vegas Philharmonic.”
In between these two Main Stage events, there are plentiful and diverse performances on the docket. For elegant outings you’ll want to save-the-date for Pasta and Puccini, a mini gala featuring popular opera selections and fine food at Monzú Italian Oven and Bar on 25 October 2023; and a special 25th Anniversary Salute at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz, The Smith Center on 10 March 2024.
A unique partnership for Celebración Latina - A Mariachi Fiesta will find OLV collaborating with the College of Southern Nevada's Award-winning Mariachi Plata, at the Horn Theatre for a festive presentation of traditional music and Zarzuela on 18 February 2024.
Opera on Wheels programming will once again feature free outreach show in diverse demographics, including:
- Voices Raised for Vets, opera, operetta, and musical comedy selections by and about soldier characters, in honor of those who served and those who serve, at Winchester Dondero Cultural Center, 9 November 2023.
- Holiday on Broadway, seasonal tunes (some famous, some not), excerpted from stage shows, at Windmill Library, 16 December 2023.
- Opera Legends in Black, a tribute concert applauding celebrated African American opera stars and composers, who achieved great accomplishments in challenging times, West Charleston Library, 20 January 2024.
- Opera with Class educational initiatives will include ongoing programming of O is for Opera in area schools, and a young family friendly opera tour (grown-ups like it, too!) of John Davies’ The Billy Goats Gruff, now being scheduled between 4-12 May 2024.
If that were not yet an embarrassment of riches, Mark Shunock’s prestigious Mondays Dark fund-raising series at the popular music venue, The Space, has selected Opera Las Vegas as one of its non-profit beneficiaries at their event on 20 November 2023.
This Silver Anniversary Season aspires to provide the Silver State with a schedule of professional events committed to fulfilling Opera Las Vegas’ motto: Enthralling Stories. Exhilarating Music. Exquisite Singing. For more information and tickets, please visit: www.operalasvegas.com
Comic Opera BEHOLD THE MAN to Have World Premiere at Opera Las Vegas
An elderly woman's attempt to restore a long-forgotten fresco of Jesus backfires, instead going viral on social media. She faces online shame and community rejection, but finds redemption when curious tourists arrive, revitalizing the struggling town.
On September 30th and October 1st, Opera Las Vegas will kick off its 25th anniversary season with the world premiere of "Behold The Man," a contemporary comic opera based on the true story of Cecilia Giménez's botched restoration of the "Ecce Homo" fresco in Borja, Spain.
Developed by composer Paul Fowler and librettist Andrew Flack, the pair kept all-age mainstream audiences top-of-mind using tuneful pop, classical and Spanish folk styles to tell the story.
"Because so much of what happened was driven by exposure on the internet," says Fowler, "we wanted the music to assume the same relevance as the memes which appeared in response. So we integrated an array of musical styles and genres from Gregorian Chant to Korean K-Pop. This is hybrid music theatre like you've never seen or heard before."