Founded by Jim and Marnie Werner in 2003, High Desert Opera's mission is to bring Grand Opera to
the Grand Valley and Western Colorado and to keep this classical art form alive and accessible.
Since it's inception, High Desert Opera (HDO) has produced six New Years Eve Galas and seven fully staged operas. These performances have been held at Moss Performing Arts - Robinson Theatre, Grand Junction High School Auditorium, and the Avalon Theatre. The company incorporates over seventy vocal performers (soloists and chorus members), musicians, dancers and technicians in each production.
The largest production HDO has performed to date, the operetta Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, was in conjunction with the Grand Junction Symphony. This was performed for an audience of 2500.
High Desert Opera hopes to partner with the Grand Junction symphony in future productions.
The inaugural “Summer Opera Festival” event was held in August 2006. the fully staged opera of Ruggiero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci was performed on The Avalon Theatre stage with James Werner in the lead role of Canino. Werner was joined on stage by Tarasina Compagni, Jeremy Franklin, Brandon Motz, Jeff Ayres and the High Desert Opera chorus.
Our 2007 New Years Eve Gala followed a format of opera experts in the first act and Broadway musical experts in the second half. The opera selections were taken from Bizet's Carmen, Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann and Verdi's Otello, featuring lead singers and chorus of our company joined by guest artists Terri Metcalf-Peterson and Jeff Ayres.
The Broadway selection were taken from Chicago, Finian's Rainbow, and Hairspray. Other gala features were an instrumental interlude by the Elias Duo playing tango music and a special four aria salute to Puccini to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth.
High Desert Opera's performance history spans a period of 9 years, from our first New Year's Eve Gala in 2003 to our 2012 summer opera, Gaetano Donizetti's “The Elixir of Love.” Be sure to set aside July 20th or July 28th and join us for another celebration of opera in Grand Junction, Colorado.
High Desert Opera History
High Desert Opera is a Colorado non-profit corporation.
Donations are tax deductible under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code.