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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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Revolutions | Denver Dance Photography

I have been photographing Park Hill Dance Collective and Academy for a number of years now. When their yearly production, an evening of pieces performed by the Collective dancers and Academy dancers, was approaching they asked if I could photograph is. I love Denver dance photography and I really wanted to see and photograph this show, but I knew I would be out of town on the dates they needed me.

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That’s when Amanda came in! Amanda Tipton and I work together a lot throughout the year. Anytime, one of us cannot photograph a show or event, we call up the other one to help us out. Amanda was able to be my associate photographer for the event. She photographed the show, then sent the photos to me to edit and deliver. This works out really well because my clients don’t have to deal with a new business, new contracts, or new pricing. And their events are still covered even if I’m unavailable. Plus, I only hire associates I trust to photograph at the same level as my own work.

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I really wish I had been in town the see this show myself! Looking through the photos to edit them was so much fun because I was really seeing this work for the first time. It looks like an amazing show! I always love how Park Hill combines their studio and company dancers into one performance.

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I also thought it was really cool that the male dancers wore long, red skirts in one of the pieces. I was talking to another male dancer last year who was upset that there are so few opportunities men have to dance in flowing clothing. He felt that a big part of the movement could be missing with tight-fitting clothes. So, I was so excited to see the whole company, men and women, in flowing skirts during this production!

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Denver kids perform in Revolutions dance showcase
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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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The Sisters DeCantate | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

I’ve loved being able to capture Naropa’s student theater productions. Through Colorado performing arts photography, I’ve gotten the chance to see some of these students perform throughout their years in graduate school and it is amazing to watch how they’ve grown. Not just in terms of their skills but in the way they think as well. Their productions and performances are deeper and more impactful each year. At the end of each academic year, those graduating from the school’s theater program perform works that they created for their thesis, in order to fulfill their graduation requirements.

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“Chekhov’s Three Sisters find themselves in a grungy, old jazz bar to sing the smoky, grey incantations of their souls.” This is the line printed in the program for The Sisters DeCantate, presented by Jade Garisch in collaboration with Kristin Stelter, Chie Saito, Madelyn Robinson, and Marko Melnick. Their performance was beautifully done and highly engaging. I was so drawn into it as I was photographing the show. Throughout the performance, the audience got a chance to get to know each of the three sisters, the struggles they shared, and their unique personalities. There was so much raw emotion packed into this hour-long show and I was left feeling as though a weight had been lifted. 

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Cast and Crew

Irina – Jade Garisch

Olga – Madelyn Robinson

Masha – Kristin Stelter

Birdmother – Chie Saito

Guitar / Accordian / Effects / Pedals: Marko Melnick

Composition: Music composition, words, structure, concept and direction by Jade Garisch. Guitar parts/live effects composed by Marko Melnick.

Choreography: Chie Saito in collaboration with Jade Garisch and cast

Stage Manager: Cameron MacAlpine

Assistant Stage Manager: Brandon Thomas

Light Board Operator: Isaac Eide

Sound Board Operator: Jake Cacciatore

Production Coordinator: Malachi Tharp

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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.

Madame de Sade | Denver Theater Photography

I was going through some of my archives the other day and I found these photos from one of the first plays I ever photographed. While I was in college, at RIT, I started finding my niche with performing arts photography. Since my school didn’t have a theater program, I reached out to a nearby university and asked to photograph one of their productions. I had photographed plenty of opera and dance at that point, but this was my first straight play. I’ve since photographed many plays for Naropa University’s MFA Theater Program. This adaption of “Madame de Sade” was performed by the International Theater Program at the University of Rochester.

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Madame de Sade is a 1965 historical fiction play written by Yukio Mishima, set in Paris in the late 1700s. The play has an all female cast. The University of Rochester adapted the play to be set in the time of it’s writing. The costumes and props were all inspired by the 1960s rather than the 1700s. It was wonderful to watch such an interesting adaptation of a modern play. I loved that the Theater Department chose to feature a play with an all female cast as well!

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I found that with photographing straight plays, as opposed to operas and musicals, the emotions are less exaggerated, which meant I had to work a bit harder to capture them well. There were many quiet moments throughout this play that held so much emotion in context and it was a challenge to find ways to capture that tension without having the context of the rest of the scene. This is always a challenge in photographing any performance, but I always love a good challenge!

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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

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.

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Those Who Attend Your Funeral | Colorado Performing Arts Photography

I’ve loved being able to capture Naropa’s student theater productions. I’ve gotten the chance to see some of these students perform throughout their years in graduate school and it is amazing to watch how they’ve grown. Not just in terms of their skills but in the way they think as well. Their productions and performances deeper and more impactful each year. At the end of each academic year, those graduating from the school’s theater program perform works that they created for their thesis, in order to fulfill their graduation requirements.

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The program for Those Who Attend Your Funeral is designed like a funeral program. on the back are the lyrics to Amazing Grace, which is sung during the performance. The starts with a funeral for a young woman and follows the lives of her father, sister, and boyfriend as they try to live after her death. The show is dark but full of sweet, beautiful moments.

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Cast and Crew:

Mark Gibson — Young Man

Dennis Kerr — Pastor

Mike Mayes — Dad

Fiona Small — Younger Sister

Ben Harrison — Stranger

Shiloh Shahan — Stranger

Victoria Gonzalez — Young Woman

Stage Manager — Cameron MacAlpine

Lighting Design — Isaac Eide, Cameron MacAlpine, and Malachi Tharp

Light Board Operator — Isaac Eide

Sound Board Operator — Jake Cacciatore

Assistant Stage Manager — Brandon Thomas

MFA Theatre Faculty:

Jeffrey Sichel — Chair

Erika Berland — Faculty

Ethelyn Friend — Faculty

School of the Arts & Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Staff:

Sue Hammond West — Dean

Liz Acosta — Senior School Administrator

Amy C. Buckler Rusterholz — Academic Administrator

Carline Swanson (“Swanee’) — Administrative Coordinator

Charmain Schuh — Gallery and Events Manager

Hayes Moore — Graduate Academic Advisor

Malachi Tharp — Production Coordinator

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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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Marketing Arts Events | Denver Performing Arts Photography

A lot of people think that Denver performing arts photography is all about capturing photos of mainstage shows to be sent to newspapers. It is so much more than that! A lot of what I do is capture smaller shows and events for performing arts companies. I cannot tell you how important it is to have a professional photographer at events. Let’s go into some of the reasons why.

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Content

Content is king in marketing. Having lots of content is never a bad thing and photos are probably the easiest kind of content to show. They are engaging, great for SEO, and ideal for social media. Showing images from events on a regular basis shows that your company is active and engaged with the community. It’ll make people feel like there’s always something awesome going on and that they don’t want to miss out.

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Make your guests feel like VIPs

There’s nothing that makes an event feel classy like having a professional photographer there. Believe it or not, people love being photographed at events. They got dressed up and want to show off a bit. Being asked for a photo, by a professional makes people feel special. It’s their mini red carpet moment. To be fair, not everyone feels this way but I’ve gotten pretty good at gauging who loves the camera and who doesn’t. That way, I can focus on the right people without making others feel uncomfortable.

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Professionalism

You’re going to share photos of all your events no matter what. While Instagram stories and live videos are super important for engagement, you also need to show your level of professionalism. You cannot do that with amateur cell phone photos alone. Having professional photos of your events (meaning that they were taken by a professional photographer, not the accounting person with a nice camera) shows that your company is high end and worth spending money and time on.

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Professional Denver performing arts photography can uplevel your marketing and audience engagement. It provides your company with a constant stream of beautiful content, makes your event attendees feel like VIPs, and gives your brand a more professional feel overall. Are you ready to uplevel your arts organization? Get in touch today.

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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 photosContact me here or message me at jamie@jamiekraus.com.