Public Invited to Attend Free Sneak Preview of a New Opera Based on “Riders of the Purple Sage” at Arizona Opera Center

Arizona Artists Present the Workshop to the Public for Free; May 8, 10 & 12

Who: The public can hear Arizona Opera’s Resident Artists perform under the musical direction and accompaniment of Craig Bohmler.

What: Arizona Opera presents a workshop of the first two acts of composer Craig Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage opera, based on Zane Gray’s classic western novel by the same name.

On the heels of Arizona’s centennial of Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage—the first American western, which was written in Arizona and set on the Utah/Arizona border—Arizona composer Craig Bohmler is in the process of composing an opera based on this classic novel. This work in progress will be presented by Arizona Opera using artists from its Marion Roose Pullin Resident Artist Program. This workshop is the first phase of the “Riders” project. Phase two will include a reading of the entire opera, while phase three would be a full production presented in a future season.

Each performance will be followed by a talkback session with the artists and composer. The public is encouraged to stay after the performance on May 10 & 12 to join Arizona Republic arts writer Kerry Lengel as he moderates a panel conversation with the composer, librettist and artists involved. The discussion will help audiences learn more about what goes into making an opera and join in giving feedback that will help shape the work.

Further collaborators on this project include acclaimed artist Ed Mell, who will be providing the opera’s signature artwork and Emmy award-winning producer Kristen Atwell, who is beginning work on a documentary about the production of this new work.

When:  Wednesday, May 8 & Friday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m. Free to the public.

Where:  Arizona Opera Center | 1636 North Central Ave, Phoenix, 85004 For more information visit

Arizona Opera is Arizona’s only professional opera company, which produces fully-staged opera performances, concerts, in-school touring productions, educational and outreach programs that reach more than 70,000  school children and adults annually. Founded in 1971, Arizona Opera is one of the only opera companies in the United States to serve multiple cities. Established in 2007, the Marion Roose Pullin Resident Artist Program provides critical support for promising young singers as they develop their skills and prepare for the demands and challenges of an operatic career. The four 2012-13 Resident Artists were selected through an audition process from approximately 400 applicants. Working side by side Arizona Opera’s artistic teams, artists hone their craft and raise their profile. As a result, previous participants have been sought out for professional engagements in the United States and beyond. The average age of a Resident Artist is 27.


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