Arizona Opera opens the season with “The Copper Queen,” its first film

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Like most arts organizations, Arizona Opera had to close its doors and get creative to reach its audience when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

The pandemic continues so in lieu of a live performance to kick off 2021-22 season, the company will open with a homegrown, original film called “The Copper Queen.” It’s the first time since the opera company was established in 1971 that it hasn’t opened its season with a live performance.

That forced creativity resulted in other firsts at Arizona Opera. Three women of Latin heritage, director Crystal Manich, scene designer Liliana Duque Piñeiro and actress Vanessa Becerra, performed top leadership roles in the production.

The film tells the true story of Julia Lowell, a resident of The Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, Arizona in 1910. Lowell lived in captivity at the hotel in room 315 working as a prostitute. She eventually died at there.

A hundred years later a guest, Addison Moore, visits room 315 and finds that Lowell’s ghost still haunts the place. The narrative spans decades and takes viewers on a roller coaster ride of emotions that ultimately ends in redemption.

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