Alison Moritz appointed Artistic Director of Central City Opera

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Amanda Tipton
Mezzo-Soprano Kira Dills-DeSurra sings from the balcony of the Central City Opera House.

Updated March 13 with information about CCO's rescheduled 2024 Opera Teaser event.

After a year of turmoil and challenges, Central City Opera has named Stage director Alison Moritz as its new Artistic Director.

“I started my relationship with Central City Opera a little less than a decade ago as an assistant director, and I've come back as a director,” Moritz said. “Now I'm moving into this larger role and it's really meaningful to be able to grow alongside the company.” 

Moritz's first production with Central City was Tosca, which she recalled involved “some really interesting projections,” made trickier by the company’s high elevation location and 19th-century opera house. 

“How do you focus the projections? How do you make sure everything looks great every time? These are things that have to be reconsidered at altitude for the singers, and then in historic buildings when it comes to technical and production teams,” said Mortiz.

Most recently Moritz directed a production of Madama Butterfly at Central City Opera in 2019, the summer before the pandemic.

”It was really a career highlight for me in so many ways,” she said of that show. “But mostly because, truly, the cast that Pat Pierce had assembled was just so phenomenal, so generous and wonderful to work with.”

Courtesy of Central City Opera
Alison Moritz was recently named the new Artistic Director of Central City Opera.

Moritz holds a degree in Music and Art History from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Music from Eastman School of Music. She has produced original works for several distinguished opera companies, such as Cincinnati Opera, Washington National Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

Stage director is a role unique to opera — the position works with the wardrobe, set and technical elements of a production, and oversees the concept and dramatic components. A separate position, music director, chooses the interpretation of the music.

Starting with the 2025 Festival, Moritz will direct one performance each season as the Artistic Director of Central City Opera and oversee the artistic and production team.

Moritz said the company's focus on both opera and classic musical theater is a big part of why she pursued the artistic leadership role at Central City Opera, as was its unique history.

“But I'd also had such positive experiences as a director myself and saw so many incredible ways that our industry is changing to meet the needs of current social change and opportunity that I thought maybe I could do this,” Moritz said. She said it is an added bonus that she has family in the area. 

Last year, labor troubles at Central City Opera burst into the open, with public accusations of wage theft, body shaming, harassment and discrimination. The conflicts briefly put the summer season in doubt. Although the shows went off as planned, the company’s CEO abruptly departed in the middle of the season.

“I really do think the future is bright,” Mortiz said of the company. “Our entire industry has had so many shakeups and transitions in the last year — a few years really — and I think so many of them are really exciting. And, I don't know, my attitude is onward and upward. I'm really looking forward to this coming season.” 

Central City’s upcoming season includes productions of “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Street Scene,” and “La Fanciulla del West.

Mortiz will meet the public at Central City Opera Guild's 2024 Opera Teaser at the Wellshire Event Center on Friday, April 12. The event was originally scheduled for March 14, but the CCO decided to move it because of an anticipated winter storm.