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Puppies in training get opera experience

<i>KCNC</i><br/>About a dozen puppies and their handlers converged on the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to take in some classic opera
KCNC
KCNC
About a dozen puppies and their handlers converged on the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to take in some classic opera

By Libby Smith

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    DENVER, Colorado (KCNC) — Opera Colorado is in dress rehearsals for it’s final production of the season, Bizet’s “Carmen.” Excitement is running high as the production comes together.

“’Carmen’ is the most iconic and the most often performed opera in all the repertoire,” said Greg Carpenter, General & Artistic Director at Opera Colorado.

At one rehearsal, there were some special guests who were creating a lot of buzz.

“Opera Colorado invited Guide Dogs for the Blind to our piano tech rehearsal,” said Vee Butler, Patron Services Manager at Opera Colorado.

About a dozen puppies and their handlers converged on the Ellie Caulkins Opera House to take in some classic opera, and work on some important training.

“I need her to settle, be calm,” said Carmen Moyer, founder of Guide Dogs for the Blind Denver (South) Puppy Raisers.

Moyer is currently working with Lourdes, an 11-month-old Golden Retriever. Moyer will have a year to teach Lourdes house manners, relieving on command and on a leash, and social skills in a variety of public settings. So a trip to the opera is a welcome excursion.

“People are moving in not necessarily an organized manor, but moving every which way, and they get excited, and we need them to be calm,” Moyer explained. “Eventually when they become a guide dog, they need to stand right by that blind person, and listen to directions, and be ready for whatever they need to do.”

The low lights, the long stretches of sitting, even the high notes can be an opportunity to reenforce Lourdes’s training. This is an opportunity that Opera Colorado was more than happy to provide.

“It really comes down to how we can connect more with the community,” added Butler.

Opera Colorado is hoping that a classic like Bizet’s “Carmen” will bring audiences back to the Opera House after COVID shut everything down for a season. It’s also the perfect production for those who are looking to give the opera a try.

“There’s so much music in ‘Carmen’ that is iconic, and that everybody knows: ‘Habanera’ and the ‘Toreador’ song. These are all tings that have been in cartoons and commercials, and things like that, instantly recognizable music,” Carpenter explained.

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