Denver Lyric Opera Guild events open to public

Denver church will host gathering that runs all day

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Opera lovers are invited to enjoy several free performance events this season, beginning with Denver Lyric Opera Guild’s Louise Conter Master Class, conducted by Charity Koepke, Opera Colorado’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 at Calvary Baptist Church, 6500 E. Girard Ave., Denver. (All competitions are at this location.) It’s free and guests may come and go — or stay all day, according to the guild, which holds an annual 2020 competition, with a cash award for a winner who is launched on the road to a professional career.

Young singers need help with travel expenses as well as rent and groceries-one must audition for roles in performances …

Next DLOG event is the Preliminary Competition from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 7 at the same location, with finals scheduled for March 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. — also at Calvary Baptist. We are told that an initial 39 singers are competing and there will be 15 finalists on March 21. Judges on the final day will select 10 winners, who will receive cash awards

We met last week with Michael Hoffman, who was the top winner in 2018. He is a now Guild member and so very grateful to DLOG for the boost that award meant for his career. The competition was six months after he graduated from CU’s opera program and he was really stressed financially, “with 58 cents in checking, $1.58 in savings and an $8,000 credit card debt!” The $6,000 award started him on an upward track …

“You go in to compete with five arias — you sing first and the judges choose a second one,” he said.

With the award money, he has started a teaching studio in Evergreen, which now has 35 students. “I now have a stable business,” he said. “I can have another teacher and students ages 13 to 72. Students come in with what they want to do—you are best at what you want to do.”

His wife, violinist Nadia Hill, also teaches at the studio and performs. They are able to contemplate buying a house, with a business established. Both perform locally much of the time.

They plan a summer festival, “Mountain Area Chamber Music,” in Evergreen for young string players and singers and will probably rent a school to teach in. “It will cost $300 for the week and we’ll pay the teachers,” Hoffman said — probably in late June — the date is not firm yet.

The Guild, founded in 1965 with the objective of encouraging and supporting young singers, ages 23-32, offers a step up as they launch into professional careers. Available money comes from an annual fundraising gala (on June 4 at Mile Hi Church this year) as well as ongoing events, such as a sale of member-donated jewelry. New members are always welcome-see dlog.org.

DLOG member Lisa Curtis said “This year, DLOG will give out $73,000,” also describing routes young artists can follow, such as Central City Opera’s Young Artist Program. Central City young singers, including some DLOG winners, sang for the guild in September, Curtis said.

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