Arizona Opera Returns with Film Event

Arizona Opera announced both virtual and live, in-theatre screening opportunities for the public to experience its newest world premiere, The Copper Queen Film. The film begins streaming next month. The Copper Queen Film tells the haunting tale of Julia Lowell. The ghost local to Arizona who famously roams Room 315 at The Copper Queen Hotel. The lore has been around for years at the hotel’s location in the mining town of Bisbee, Arizona.

As part of Arizona Opera’s McDougall RED Series, The Copper Queen Film portrays a period romance thriller. The story focuses on a search for love through tragedy. The film features music by Clint Borzoni and a libretto by John de los Santos. Originally slated to be performed in-theater, The Copper Queen was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team at Arizona Opera then reimagined the story as a feature film project.

In a newly announced partnership with Harkins Theatres, the feature length film will be shown at three Harkins Theatres in the Phoenix and Tucson metros. Audiences can catch the film from October 29 through November 4. For audiences that prefer to watch from their homes, the film will be available for viewing online starting on October 29. Users can view the film via Arizona Opera OnDemand. It will then become available for streaming to the general public after the Harkins theatrical run.

“From the moment that the concept of The Copper Queen was first born six years ago in 2015 until today, this powerfully captivating work has been a part of our company’s artistic growth,” said Arizona Opera’s President and General Director Joseph Specter. “I am incredibly proud of everyone that worked on this project, for their creativity and resilience in pivoting during the pandemic to bring this work to life, and in a medium that is completely new to Arizona Opera. The Copper Queen Film showcases the power of Southwest storytelling and demonstrates Arizona Opera’s commitment to high-quality traditional operas, as well as original new works, which we hope will attract new, diverse audiences to the opera art form,” he added.

The idea for The Copper Queen Film originated as part of Arizona Opera’s SPARK initiative. The project fosters the creation and support of new works. It also marks Arizona Opera’s first ever all-female director/conductor/designer team, led by film director Crystal Manich. Munich says the journey of two female character drew her to The Copper Queen Film.

“Pivoting the opera from stage to screen has been a fantastic opportunity to lean into styles of filmmaking that include drama, horror, and old westerns, all of which work to support the lush score and text that will keep audiences wanting to learn more about our heroines as the mystery of how their journeys coincide unfolds,” said Manich.

The Copper Queen tells the legendary ghost story of Julia Lowell, the famed resident of The Copper Queen Hotel. She is forced to reside in the hotel in captivity in service to the men of the town in 1910. A century later, Addison Moore – a stranger to Bisbee – visits Room 315, where Julia’s spirit lingers. This riveting tale – told across the generations – is one of human bondage, furtive romance, secret connections, and ultimately – redemption.

“Clint and I are so excited to bring the premiere of The Copper Queen Film to opera audiences across the globe in this compelling new vision,” said John de los Santos, the opera’s librettist.

Arizona Opera partnered with Phoenix-based Manley Films to bring the project to life. Crew filmed this past spring in Arizona Opera’s Roma and Raymond Wittcoff Black Box, an area transformed from a 5,500 square foot rehearsal space into Room 315 at The Copper Queen Hotel. “As soon as the Manley Films team heard the words, ‘Old West, Bisbee, Arizona, feature film based on a legendary ghost story’ and ‘Arizona Opera’ we were all in. I always knew this was going to be a unique and interesting movie, but after I watched the final cut, I was absolutely blown away,” said Jim Manley, Manley Films CEO.

“I believe that the intimacy of the work lends itself well to film, since the piece is a dark and rich character study,” said Clint Borzoni, the composer of The Copper Queen Film. “Through the lyrical score and gripping plot, I’m confident audiences will be pulled into the haunted room along with the characters.”

Audiences can watch The Copper Queen Film in-person at the select Harkins Theatres below for $15, from October 29 – November 4. Tickets for these screenings will be available in October on www.harkins.com. After the Harkins theatrical run, the general public can purchase online viewing tickets for $30 at Arizona Opera OnDemand (https://ondemand.azopera.org/), which includes unlimited viewing through January 4, 2022.

The Copper Queen Harkins Theatres Viewing Locations:
Harkins Theatres Scottsdale 101, 7000 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85054
Harkins Theatres Arizona Pavilions, 5755 W Arizona Pavilions Dr, Tucson, AZ 85743
Harkins Theatres Tucson Spectrum, 5455 S Calle Santa Cruz, Tucson, AZ 85706

The Copper Queen Film is part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. Lead underwriting provided by Matt and Ann Melsheimer. Production made possible, in part, through additional generous support from Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard, Roma Wittcoff, the Carol Franc Buck Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Michael and Beth Kasser, Margaret T. Morris Foundation, Drs. Stephen and Barbara Munk, Charles and Jennifer Sands, Ron and Kay McDougall, Colonel (Ret.) Kimberley Smith, Dr. Judith G. Wolf, and members of the Arizona Spark Commissioning Club.

The all-female conductor-director-designer team of The Copper Queen Film is generously supported by a consortium of donors, led by Susan Esco Chandler, Milo and Kim Kauffman, and Linda Hirshman.

Manley Films is the Official Film Production Sponsor of Arizona Opera.

About Arizona Opera
Arizona Opera, entering its 50th Season in fall of 2021, produces fully-staged operas, concerts, and collaborative programs throughout the state of Arizona each season, and is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that regularly performs in more than one city. Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music, cultivating community and strengthening a state and people as adventurous and diverse as the place they call home. Since its inaugural year in 1971, Arizona Opera has produced more than 200 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company’s artistic history is rich with a blend of operas traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas.