Puppies in training get opera experience
By Libby Smith
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DENVER, Colo. (KCNC) – Opera Colorado is in dress rehearsal for its final production of the season, Bizet’s “Carmen.” Excitement builds as production rolls in.
“‘Carmen’ is the most iconic and most performed opera in the entire repertoire,” said Greg Carpenter, general and artistic director of Opera Colorado.
During a rehearsal, there were special guests who created a lot of buzz.
“Opera Colorado invited Guide Dogs for the Blind to our piano tech rehearsal,” said Vee Butler, Guest Services Manager at Opera Colorado.
A dozen puppies and their handlers converged on the Ellie Caulkins Opera to watch a classic opera and work on some important training.
“I need her to settle down, to be calm,” said Carmen Moyer, founder of Guide Dogs for the Blind Denver (South) Puppy Raisers.
Moyer is currently working with Lourdes, an 11 month old Golden Retriever. Moyer will have a year to teach Lourdes house manners, on-leash and on-command relief, and social skills in various public places. So a trip to the opera is a welcome excursion.
“People aren’t necessarily moving around in an organized mansion, but they’re moving all over the place, and they’re excited, and we need them to be calm,” Moyer explained. “Eventually, when they become a guide dog, they have to stand right next to that blind person, listen to instructions, and be ready to do whatever they need to do.”
Low lights, long periods of sitting, even high notes can be an opportunity to reinforce Lourdes training. It’s an opportunity Opera Colorado was more than happy to provide.
“It really depends on how we can connect more with the community,” Butler added.
Opera Colorado hopes a classic like Bizet’s “Carmen” will bring audiences back to the Opera after COVID shut everything down for a season. It’s also the perfect production for those looking to try opera.
“There’s so much music in ‘Carmen’ that is iconic, and that everyone knows: ‘Habanera’ and the song ‘Toreador’. These are all things that have been in cartoons and commercials, and things like that, instantly recognizable music,” Carpenter explained.
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