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Falstaff Student Matinee | Colorado Opera Photographer

The Student Matinee is one of Opera Colorado’s largest education events every spring. Over 1000 students from all over Colorado come to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to see an full length production, presented on the main stage. In addition, the show is broadcast live to students around the state. All the students learn about opera and about the show they are seeing in their music classes before the come see the show. I love that as a Colorado Opera photographer, I get to be a part of this amazing event.

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The show the students see is the same show that opera patrons see that week and weekend but with some small variations to make it more kid friendly. Sometimes the opera is done in English or with a English narration. Sometimes there are other small changes in the plot or the libretto or the show is shortened. This version of the show is performed by Opera Colorado’s Artists in Residence. You’ve probably heard me talk about hem a lot. They are awesome! Last year’s show was Falstaff, a comedic opera by Giuseppe Verdi. This year’s show is the Marriage of Figaro and the Student Matinee will be on May 9th.

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What’s really fun about this day, every year, is that it’s both a performance and an event. I’m tasked with photographing all of it. I get there as the students first arrive and capture them entering the opera house, often for the first time. I get to catch them oooing and awing at the beautiful historic building and the majestic theater. Then I get to capture the show. This is the only time the Artists in Residence perform this version of the show on the main stage. There are no rehearsals on stage so this is the only chance we get to take production photos.

At the intermission, I wander around the Ellie capturing the kids chatting about the show so far. Sometimes, they’ll bring a lunch and eat it in the lobby or just stretch their legs a bit. For this show, they also kept the curtain open for scene changes so the audience got to see how the tech crew changes everything over. Then, after the show ends, some of the schools stay for a Q and A session. Students get to ask the artists and the director anything they want and they get to take a peak at the orchestra pit. It’s always fun to hear their questions.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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La Boheme Opening Night | Denver Event Photography

One of the best parts of Denver event photography is getting to go to swanky parties! When La Boheme opened at Opera Colorado, there was an opening night dinner at Kevin Taylor’s in the lower level of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. It was so much fun photographing this event. I loved seeing everyone in their best formal wear, ready to enjoy a classic opera! The same night, I also got to photograph the pre-show talk that was open to all the opera attendees. I love when companies include educational pieces like pre-show talks and Q&A’s. I think it really adds to the overall experience of seeing a show live.

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Just a bit of a photo nerd out here. This was the first event I photographed with my new lighting setup. I had just bought three brand new flashes. light stands, umbrellas, and the little bits that go with it. This was the first event I was able to use it for after lots of playing around in my apartment. I was definitely still getting used to it and playing around with different setups for everything, but I love how the images turned out. I remember getting home that night and downloading the photos to my computer. It was so exciting to see what a difference the lights made and so proud of the images I created.

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Kevin Taylor’s at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House is a really cool space, but it is very difficult to photograph. The ceiling looks like the night sky, with tiny spots of light throughout and there are some really cool paintings by Vance Kirkland. But the lighting is very low with weird spotlights and a low, dark ceiling. I used to dread photographing events in this space but my new lighting setup made it so much better.

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Want engaging photos of your next event? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Whiskey and Doughnuts Festival | Denver Event Photography

This was such a fun event to photograph last year! Denver event photography brings me to so many new spots around the city and introduces me to so many fun things to do. The Whiskey and Doughnuts Festival is exactly what it sounds like, a day-long festival full of whiskey and doughnuts from local vendors across Denver and Colorado.

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I loved seeing some of my favorite doughnut shops on display, like Habit Donut Dispensary. I don’t drink so I have no input on the whiskey selection but there were some really cool displays and a huge selection of distilled goodness. Last year’s event took place at Denver Rock Drill, a huge old warehouse on the north side of the city. The decorations of the event were bright, fun, and colorful (like donut sprinkles) so I felt right at home!

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Each whiskey vendor was paired up with a doughnut vendor and together, they had to come up with a boozy doughnut to serve at the festival. Toward the end of my time shooting, in between sessions, I setup photos of each of the pairings. They were so fun and I loved how they turned out. I love that the festival used the photo above for the Facebook event this year. It’s always so exciting to see my photos being used for marketing. Seriously, it never gets old!

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11 Creative, the company who puts on these events, just announced this year’s Whiskey and Doughnuts Festival! Tickets go on sale soon so if you want to go (and why wouldn’t you) get on their waitlist before they sell out. The festival will be in downtown Denver on May 18th, from 2pm to 9pm. The event also helps support, Minds Matter of Denver, a local non-profit that makes college dreams a reality for low-income high school students in the Denver area. Get your tickets here.

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Want engaging photos of your next event? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Opera Talk | Denver Performing Arts Photography

Every once in a while, I’ll be looking back through some of my Denver performing arts photography from years ago and think, “why have I never blogged this? I should totally blog this!” So sometimes I end up blogging old photos from events that happened years and years ago. It’s kind of fun to have a throwback post every once in a while! This is one of those throwback posts. This was an Opera Colorado event from a few years ago that never ended up on the blog. I was not nearly as consistent or organized about blogging back then so it probably got lost in the shuffle. 

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Opera Talk was a really cool event that was part of the Inside OC program, so I thought I should bring it back and show it off a bit. This was a TED Talk style event held at the Denver Art Museum. People from various aspects of the opera world, from history to costumes to stage combat, spoke about what goes on behind the scenes to make an opera happen. Hint: there’s a lot that goes into every opera! It was a fun, informative, and interactive event. 

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Opera Talk was also a great opportunity for people to catch a special sneak peek of a really exciting opera that the company was putting on later that year, As One. As One is a opera about a trans woman’s journey through transition and self-discovery. It was the first in Opera Colorado’s Scene Change series of important new works in venues throughout the Denver metro area. Two of the Artists in Residence performed an excerpt from the show at the event. 

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? 

I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Opening Night Reception | Denver Event Photography

The coolest thing about Denver event photography is getting to be a part of awesome, important events. This one was a pretty incredible night. Opera Colorado had just opened their world premiere or Steal a Pencil For Me at the Mizel Arts and Cultural Center at the JCC in Denver. After the show, they held a reception for the biggest supporters of the new production along with the amazing cast and crew.

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World premieres are always really exciting (this was Opera Colorado’s second since I’ve been involved) but this one hit close to home. Steal a Pencil For Me is primarily a love story, but it is also a Holocaust story and it is all based on real events. My family has their own Holocaust stories so these always stand out to me. The story revolves around a young man and young women who meet at the start of the war. Soon, they and their families are taken off to camps and forced to work for the Nazis. Through all the trauma, they manage to find hope in their love for each other.

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Their story is told through letters they wrote to each other while they were in the concentration camps. At the reception were letters written to loved ones in response to the opera’s story. There were also plenty of drinks and food (and cake pops!) to go around. The room was buzzing with excitement after the show. Everyone was talking about how much they loved it. I’m so glad we were able to get a huge group photo with the cast and crew at the event as well!

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Looking for engaging event photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Luncheon Discussion | Denver Event Photography

One of my favorite things about Denver event photography is that I get to learn. I get to be a bystander and ease drop of fascinating lectures, panel discussions, speeches, and presentations. While I work, I get to absorb information on all sorts of topics from urban planning to the future or battery storage. Sometimes, I’m introduced to a whole new industry and sometimes I get to learn more about something I’m already involved with.

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When I started my internship at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2013, I knew nothing about opera. I still thought it was only for old people and I thought it must be so boring. After photographing numerous events surrounding and leading up to the opening nights of each show that season, I learned to love opera. It turned out I was just watching it wrong! I even wrote a whole blog post about how to watch opera so that you’ll enjoy it. What I learned is that the key to loving opera is learning about it. The more I know about the story and the production, before I watched it, the more I enjoyed it.

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It’s the same way with Opera Colorado. They have so many events leading up to each show so that audiences can learn more about the piece before seeing it. When I photograph these events, I get to learn along with the audience and it gets me even more excited to see the shows! I love that this company has so many events around each production. I think it really increases audience engagement and creates a better experience for all audience members.

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This event was a luncheon discussion hosted by the Lamont School of Music at the Newman Center. Cast and crew members from Opera Colorado’s production of La Boheme were there to discuss the production and answer questions. There were even a couple of Lamont opera students there to perform before the talk. I love all the collaboration that went into this event.

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Want engaging event photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Sip and Sing | Denver Performing Arts Photography

I love Denver performing arts photography. It takes me to new places and gives me an insider look into really cool events and experiences. I love going all over the city for my job and discovering new things. When I photographed Opera Colorado‘s Sip and Sing last year, I got to go to the Preservery for the first time. It is such a cool space and it was a great location for this event. They also provided a three course meal that looked so good, each course paired with wine.

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I’m not going to lie. This event was not easy to photograph. With Denver performing arts photography, I never use flash during a live performance. This can often mean I face difficult lighting situations that are completely outside of my control. I have to rely on the light available and outside of the traditional theater, it can be very hit or miss. The lighting at the Preservery is really cool. The space is filled with mismatched fixtures, Edison bulbs, and a wall of painted traffic signs. While the lighting looked really great, there was not a lot of it. It gave a wonderful, soft ambiance to the space but made photography difficult.

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I can deal with low light though, I can thrive in these situations. The one thing I had never encountered before was the wall of signs. I collect signed like this and I think they’re really cool. Their job is to alert drivers of necessary information, day or night, and they do this by reflecting light. They are really good at this. That means that no matter what I did, the signs would hog all the light and reflect it on the backs of the singers’ heads. But through experimenting with my exposure and editing, I made it work and highlighted the singers as best I could.

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Want engaging production photos to reach new audiences and sell more tickets? I would love to help tell your story through photos. Contact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.