colorado-theater-photographers

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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Opera Artists Portraits | Denver Portrait Photography

I plan out all my blog post at the beginning of each year. I put them all on my calendar and at the start of each month, I sit down and put together the blogs for the next four or five weeks. Today, I looked at my calendar and my heart sank. The first blog post of the month was this one, the Opera Colorado Young Artist Portraits. It’s one of my favorite sessions to do each year and I love revisiting it and looking at the photos again. But this one is different.

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A few weeks ago, I started seeing a lot of photos of one of these Young Artists, Nathan, being posted all over facebook. I soon learned that he had passed away, losing his life to depression. I didn’t know Nathan well but it is always heartbreaking when someone dies, especially someone young. This session, from over a year ago, was the first time I met these seven opera singers. From the beginning, it was clear that they were very close.

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I photographed events he sang at throughout the season and every once in a while, we would chat a bit after the show. There are a couple of things that I remember about my interactions with Nathan. He was always the first to lend a hand anytime I needed to carry or move something. And everything he said felt genuine. Anytime he asked me how I was doing or thanked me for photographing him, I could tell that he genuinely cared. He wasn’t just trying to make conversation. That authenticity and passion came through in his art as well. Nathan’s kindness and talent will be greatly missed in the opera community.

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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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Young Artist Welcome | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

As I wrap up editing on the Opera Colorado’s final concert for the season, the Spring Tea, I thought I should introduce you to these wonderful Young Artists by sharing their first concert of the season. Haha! I know, I know, I am very behind on my blogging. This is by design though since I plan the entire year of blogs each December. This means that my Colorado performing arts photography and all my other work gets shared six months to a year after I actually photograph it. I like this method because I can plan ahead and not have to stress about what to blog all year long. I also get to revisit sessions from last year! It’s always fun to look back and reminisce!

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Colorado Performing Arts Photography

Each year, Opera Colorado starts off their season with a concert to welcome the new cast of Young Artists. The Young Artist Welcome was held at the Studio Loft this season. I love this event because I get to photograph the Young Artists throughout the season and get to know them a little bit. It’s amazing to watch them grow and change from their first concert to their last. This Welcome concert is a great glimpse into who each of them are and it’s a great way to start the season.

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Every year, this little girl (in the photo above) comes to the Welcome concert and it’s so cute to see her enjoying the music and talking with the artists after the show. Her grandmother told me that she loves listening to opera in the car. I love that because of this concert, she gets to see opera performed live as well!

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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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Season Preview Concert | Denver Performing Arts Events

Capturing Denver performing arts events is such a fun way to gain insight into what’s happening around Denver. I love these opportunities to participate and contribute to the local art scene. Most of all, I love sharing the photos from events like these. Some Denver arts events are only open to a small group of people and even with events that are available to all, no one can make it to everything awesome that’s happening around town. Having photos of these events give people who couldn’t make it a chance to see it anyway. And I love that!

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Opera Colorado’s season preview concert was really cool because it gave attendees a sneak peek at the events for the rest of the year. This event gave season ticket holders a glimpse at the upcoming season so they could decide what shows they wanted to see. I think it really helped everyone get excited about what was in store!

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At the event, Greg Carpenter, the Artistic Director, announced the new season and gave some background about each show. But just having someone speak would be boring, right? I mean all that information was online anyway. Not only did he talk about the shows, the singers, and show the sets, and the costume designs, but there was singing! What Denver performing arts event would be complete without some performing arts? The Opera Colorado Young Artists gave viewers a preview of each show by performing a few songs from the shows they would be in throughout the year. It was a great evening and got everyone revved up for the upcoming season.

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By the way, Opera Colorado announced their 2018-2019 season recently. Check it out!

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Opera Colorado Young Artsits sing at Denver performing arts concert

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three Denver opera singers perform at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Greg Carpenter addresses the audience at opera event in Denver

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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.

Lucia di Lammamoore | Denver Performing Arts Photography

Each year, I photograph the Student Matinee at Opera Colorado. This show is performed by the Opera Colorado Young Artists for an audience of students from elementary and high schools around Colorado. It’s an amazing opportunity for students to see professional opera production on the main stage. In past years, students got the chance to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter. Denver performing arts photography can present a few challenges so I wanted to go into my approach to photographing this show.

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The unusual thing about this performance is that there is no time for a dress rehearsal. The Young Artists only perform this show one time, on stage, and that is in front of a full audience. This is a huge challenge for them but you would never guess it. They always perform amazingly for the students! It’s also a challenge for me! Photographing with a live audience isn’t always preferred because it can be difficult to get the photos I need, without being disruptive. There are a few steps I take to make sure I stay quiet and out of the way, while still making the best images possible.

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I always dress in black, head to toe. If you know me, you know this is very out of character! I love wearing colorful clothes, but for these performances, I need to blend into the darkness. I also know this theater well, so I know where I can be that is out of the way and what paths to take. I set up a little home base, that is very out of the way of the audience. It’s also right in the center of the theater, so it’s perfect for getting wide-angle photos to show the whole scene and the set.

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Seeing a show before photographing it, is really helpful because I can plan where to be when and what angle and lens I want to use at each point in the show. I’m always able to see this opera (performed by the mainstage artists) before photographing the Student Matinee, which is great. I do move around the theater a lot when I photograph performances, but I’m able to gauge the best times to move without being disruptive. I also make sure I crouch down as much as possible, in the aisles so I’m not blocking anyone’s view. I’m always aware of the music and I try to click during the loudest points and keep it to a minimum during the quiet moments.

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It’s usually ideal to photograph a performance during a dress rehearsal, but that isn’t always an option. A lot of times companies don’t have access to the theater before the show opens. Sometimes, the show isn’t quite polished off until the audience is in their seats. Photographing with an audience can be the best option, in some cases. Using these methods, I haven’t heard any audience complaints, and I’m still able to get a wide variety of images for my clients!

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Lucia di Lammermoor Cast and Crew

Opera by Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano
Conductor: Andres Caldera
Stage Director: Jordan Braun
Lighting Designer: Lucas Krech
Wig and Makeup Design: Ronell Oliveri
Accompanist: Parisa Zaeri
Young Artist Director: Cherity Koepke

Lucia: Allison Nicholas
Edgardo: Omar Najmi
Alisa: Danielle Lombardi
Narrator/Normanno: Ryan Bradford
Enrico: Charles Eaton
Arturo: Brett Sprague
Raimondo: Matthew Trevino

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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.

Elixer of Love |Colorado Performing Arts Photography

Each year, Opera Colorado‘s Young Artists take two operas on the road. Cherity Koepke the Director of the Young Artist Program and Brett Sprague the Assistant Director adapt and restage the shows to work with an audience of school children. They’ve been introducing new shows into the mix, and last year’s new production was Elixer of Love. It’s a funny story about con-artists, love triangles, and root beer saloons. As a Colorado performing arts photographer, I was called in to photograph the show for marketing materials.

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Each season, the Young Artists go on a tour around Colorado. They pack up the set, props, costumes, and themselves in a van and drive all over the state. They performing operas at middle schools and high schools in rural areas and mountain towns. So many of these kids have never seen an opera before. These photos were used to market the show to schools who wanted the opera to perform for their students. They’re also used to attract audience members to the annual Family Day event and to encourage donors to sponsor a Young Artist.

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Since this show is a touring production, that goes to school auditoriums across the state, we didn’t have a formal performance space to photograph in. Instead, we used their rehearsal space, the Studio Loft at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. There is some natural light in the space but no stage lights. With performing arts photography, you have to be adaptable. So I brought my own equipment to give the photos a more production feel to them. I have a very portable light set up that works perfectly for events and small performances like this!

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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