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Central City Opera Podcast

The Central City Opera Podcast introduces you to the movers and shakers of the Central City Opera Festival. Episodes feature interviews with principal and young artists, designers, directors, conductors, and other production staff.  The podcast is hosted and edited by Emily Murdock, Director of Education & Community Engagement at Central City Opera.

Season 7 features the productions of the 2022 Summer Festival: Guettel's THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, Strauss' DIE FLEDERMAUS, and Heggie's TWO REMAIN. Make sure you're subscribed on your podcast app of choice to get the latest episodes delivered directly to your device.

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SHOW NOTES: Season 6, Episode 5 - Dan Wallace Miller, Director of DIDO AND AENEAS

Jul 20, 2021

Dan Wallace Miller

Buckle your seatbelts and get settled in for a wild ride through an EPIC Show Notes post! Director Dan Wallace Miller dropped so many references to movies, opera productions, and other tangential goodies during his interview, many of which you'll be able to find below, not necessarily in the order mentioned in the episode. Here we go!

Dan started off by sharing how he first saw Wagner's Ring Cycle at Seattle Opera when he was four years old. One of the leading opera companies in the United States, Seattle Opera has been producing the Ring Cycle since 1975, with the most recent production in 2013. Click here to read more about the company's history with Wagnerian opera. 

The first production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas that Dan directed was with his former company Vespertine Opera Theater in 2011. He staged it in the Sylvan Grove Outdoor Theater on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. You can see all the production photos of this imaginative production here

Gilpin Room in our Lanny and Sharon Martin Foundry Rehearsal Hall in Central City was where Dan thought he was going to stage his CCO production of Dido

Ken Cazan's Acis and Galatea, Central City Opera, 2018. Photo by Amanda Tipton

Instead, the 2021 production of Dido and Aeneas is in the Opera Garden, just downhill from the Central City Opera House. 

Opera Garden, Central City. Photo by Amanda Tipton

Dan pulls a lot of inspiration from film, having a degree in comparative literature (film studies) from the University of Washington, and the movie that inspires this summer's Dido and Aeneas is the 1976 Carrie, directed by Brian De Palma.

Dan has also been inspired by Italian giallo horror movies (read this blog post about the 10 best giallo movies for beginners), and currently is "obsessed" with Jacques Demy's 1963 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. You can watch this entire French movie here, with English subtitles, and join in Dan's self-proclaimed obsession! 

I brought up Dan's recent production of The Combat with Seattle Opera and his interview on the Seattle Opera Blog. Read that interview here, and click on the video below to see an excerpt from that production. 

He also very recently directed Seattle Opera's filmed version of Tosca, which streamed live this past June. I've included the trailer below, and you can read another interview with Dan about this reimagined version of one of the most beloved operas of all time.

Some tidbits mentioned in this episode:

  • 17th-century theater music (link to article on
  • Political commentary in Mozart's The Magic Flute (link to San Francisco Opera's study guide)
  • Nabucco, Verdi, and the Risorgimento ("reunification" of Italy - link to article on
  • Kentucky's shockingly high rate of sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence (read stats here)
  • Gian Carlo Menotti's 1951 film version of his opera The Medium (see a clip here, read more about it here, and buy the DVD here)
  • Francesco Rosi's 1984 movie of Bizet's Carmen, filmed on location in Seville, Spain (see the full movie here)
  • Powell and Pressburger's 1951 movie version of Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann (see the HD trailer here
  • The BBC's 1995 movie version of Dido and Aeneas, starring Maria Ewing (see the full movie here)
  • The Santa Fe Opera production of Mason Bates' The (R)Evolution of Steve Jobs, for which Dan was Assistant Director (see a highlights video here)
  • Kendrick Lamar's performance at The Grammy Awards in 2016 - unfortunately, I couldn't find a video online, but here's a news clip about it from online video news community The Grio which shows a few highlights

Finally, here's an excerpt from Dan's production of the Britten adaptation of Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias, which he directed for Vespertine Opera Theater in 2013, vaudeville-style. 

A huge thank-you to director Dan Wallace Miller for being on the Central City Opera Podcast this season! This was a fascinating interview. Dido and Aeneas will be performed on July 17, 20, 22, and 28, 2021 in the Opera Garden in Central City. Although the shows are sold out at the time of this post, call the CCO Box Office at 303-292-6700 or email to see if you can snag last minute tickets.

-Emily Murdock, Host & Producer