Love finds a voice in our world premiere of The Scarlet Letter, a dramatic new adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel with libretto written by Colorado’s Poet Laureate David Mason. It’s a morality play of rigid judgment, heart-wrenching betrayal and redemptive love brought to life through stunning performances, dramatic set design and incredible music. Like Hester, you’ll discover that sin, while a failing, is essential to the human experience.
“To create one of the best-known characters from American literature will be a thrilling opportunity. Especially as she is delineated through the deft lyricism of Lori Laitman’s score…a sheer luxury!” – ELIZABETH FUTRAL, SOPRANO
Sung in English with English and Spanish subtitles at every seat.
The Scarlet Letter is sponsored by Ken and Donna Barrow, Dave and Pam Duke, Noël and Thomas Congdon, National Endowment for the Arts and Opera America. Magnolia Hotel is the official sponsor of The Scarlet Letter.
Performance & Venue Details
Meet The Artists
Ari Pelto | Conductor
In May 2013, Opera Colorado appointed Ari Pelto as Artistic Advisor. Conductor Ari Pelto is in demand at elite opera houses, ballets, symphonies and conservatories throughout the United States. After his highly praised 2004 début at New York City Opera with Verdi’s La Traviata, Pelto was engaged as a regular guest there, returning for Madama Butterfly, Jennifer Griffith’s The Dream President, La bohème and Carmen. Recent highlights and upcoming opera house engagements include La bohème with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the St. Louis Symphony, The Cunning Little Vixen at Chautauqua, Rusalka and La bohème at Boston Lyric Opera, Romeo et Juliet at Minnesota Opera, The Magic Flute, Figaro and Hansel and Gretel at Portland Opera, as well as Carmen and Hansel and Gretel at Utah Opera. He has also been a regular guest conductor of the Atlanta Ballet. In 2012, he collaborated with Twyla Tharp on the premiere of her new ballet, The Princess and the Goblin. Pelto has conducted operas of Mozart and Stravinsky at the Curtis Institute of Music, Gluck and Mozart at the Juilliard School, Puccini and Massenet at San Francisco Conservatory, and Stephen Paulus and Raffaello de Banfield at the Manhattan School of Music. At the Oberlin Conservatory, he has led works of Mahler, Mozart and Poulenc, and at New York University, works of Sibelius, Brahms, Dvorak and Martinu. He has also conducted in Italy, Germany and Bulgaria. Pelto studied violin performance at Oberlin and conducting at Indiana University.
Beth Greenburg* | Director
With a curious imagination about new possibilities for 21st-century opera and its productions, stage director Beth Greenberg focuses on new American work and the challenge of redefining where and how opera can be performed. Greenberg has earned a solid reputation for her collaborations with American opera composers. She has been involved in all phases of new work, from libretto development and workshop readings to fully-staged premieres. She recently directed the West Coast premiere of Rorem’s Our Town which was praised as “a splendid production” by the San Francisco Chronicle. She also staged early workshops of Before Night Falls by Jorge Martin and directed the stage premiere of excerpts from Gordon Beeferman’s The Rat Land, which was twice-featured on City Opera’s VOX series. Never shying away from unusual topics, Greenberg directed the world premiere of Pumped Fiction, the comic opera by MacArthur genius John Eaton. She has also collaborated with many other American composers including Elliot Goldenthal, John Musto and Mark Adamo. Greenberg also recently taught master classes in New American Arias at SongFest in Malibu. Greenberg won a Fulbright to Berlin where she trained with Gotz Friedrich at the Deutsche Oper. She is currently the Resident Stage Director for Opera Noire of New York and Opera for Humanity.
Lori Laitman | Composer
Lori Laitman is one of America’s most prolific and widely performed composers of vocal music. She has composed two operas, an oratorio, choral works and over 250 songs, setting the words of classical and contemporary poets, among them the lost voices of poets who perished in the Holocaust. The Journal of Singing has written, “It is difficult to think of anyone before the public today who equals her exceptional gifts for embracing a poetic text and giving it new and deeper life through music.” Laitman is currently composing a one-act children’s opera with librettist Dana Gioia. This work has been commissioned by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech to celebrate the opening of the Center. The opera is based on a Grimm’s fairy tale, The Three Feathers, and the work will premiere October 17, 2014, with director Beth Greenberg. Vedem, a Holocaust oratorio, was commissioned by Music of Remembrance and premiered in Seattle in May 2010. Laitman continues her work with Music of Remembrance, and their latest commission is for a song cycle based on the poetry of Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, to premiere in May 2014. Laitman and Mason are currently developing Ludlow, a new opera based on Mason’s award-winning verse novel about the 1914 Colorado mining town disaster.
David Mason | Librettist
Born and raised in Bellingham, Washington, David Mason’s award-winning collections of poetry include The Buried Houses (1991), The Country I Remember (1996), Arrivals (2004) the verse novel Ludlow (2007) and Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade: 2004-2014. He has also published a memoir, two collections of essays, and several anthologies. His work appears in Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. As a librettist, Mason collaborated with Lori Laitman on her opera The Scarlet Letter and on an opera adaptation of Ludlow, for which Mason received the 2009 Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize. He wrote the libretto for her oratorio, Vedem, and for Tom Cipullo’s opera, After Life. He has also been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Greece. Mason teaches at Colorado College and was appointed the Colorado poet laureate in 2010.
Elizabeth Futral | Hester Prynne
American soprano Elizabeth Futral has established herself as one of the world’s leading sopranos. With her stunning vocalism and vast dramatic range, she has embraced a repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to world premieres. During the 2013-14 season Futral explores an array of diverse repertoire. She creates two world premiere roles: Vera Donovan in Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne with the San Francisco Opera and Alice B. Toklas in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 for the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. She will add a Strauss role to her repertoire with Zdenka in Strauss’ Arabella with the Minnesota Opera, as well as return to a repertoire favorite, Lucia di Lammermoor with Portland Opera. American music theatre is featured in her season with a return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as the Baroness Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music and to the Houston Grand Opera as Desirée Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. With Chicago’s Music of the Baroque she performs Haydn’s The Creation led by Jane Glover at Chicago’s Harris Theater and the La Jolla Music Society. Futral appears as Elvira in Kasper Holten’s film Juan a modern retelling of Don Giovanni.
Dominic Armstrong* | Arthur Dimmesdale
Dominic Armstrong has quickly established himself internationally as an artist of superb and distinguished musicality and characterization. He is a winner of the 2013 George London Foundation Vocal Competition. This season, Armstrong debuts with the New York Philharmonic in performances of Britten’s Spring Symphony, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert. Additionally, he essays his first performance of Cavaradossi in Tosca with the Northwest Indiana Symphony, sings the First Jew in Salome with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia, appears in holiday concerts with the Oregon Symphony, in recital with the Brooklyn Art Song Society, in Mozart’s Requiem with the Lansing Symphony, with both the Symphony in C and Princeton Symphony for Britten’s Serenade and in recital with Christine Brewer and Craig Rutenberg. Armstrong has received numerous prizes and awards, including placement as a Grand Finalists in the 2008 National Council Auditions with the Metropolitan Opera, and with the George London Foundation, the Sullivan Awards, Opera Index, the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition and the Liederkranz Art Song Competition (2009 winner). He holds degrees from Truman State University, The Juilliard School and Curtis Institute.
Daniel Belcher | Governor Bellingham
Winner of a 2010 Grammy Award, baritone Daniel Belcher has performed in many of the world’s music capitals and returns to Opera Colorado following his appearance in 2013 as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. With a 50-role repertoire, Belcher has championed roles from the Baroque to those composed expressly for him. He came to international attention in 2004 creating the role of Prior Walter in Peter Eötvös’ Angels in America for the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Belcher most recently created the role of Robert Kennedy in Robin de Raaff’s Waiting for Miss Monroe for his debut at The Netherlands Opera and Holland Festival. In the 2013-14 season, Belcher makes his debut with the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm, Sweden in Kaija Saariaho’s Sombre. He will also return to Lyric Opera of Kansas City in the role of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, to Opera Omaha as Dandini in La Cenerentola and to Utah Opera as Ping in Turandot, and he will perform in recital at Houston’s Zilkha Hall, among other venues. He received a Robert Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation for his work with Wolf Trap Opera and the Sullivan Foundation Award. He received the Apprentice Artist Award from the Santa Fe Opera and the Young Artist Award and Outstanding Studio Artist Award from Central City Opera.
*Opera Colorado Debut
Performance & Venue Details