the face on the barroom floor
A one act opera inspired by the famous portrait of a woman on the Teller House Bar in Central City, Colorado.
John S. Bowman
Central City Opera
Central City, Colorado
In 1936, Herndon Davis painted a portrait of a woman on the floor of the Teller House Bar in Central City, Colorado. Becoming the subject of local myth thereafter and even appearing in a 1930s film by the famed comedy group, The Three Stooges. The portrait later inspired Henry Mollicone and John S. Bowman’s one act opera.
Isabelle and Madeline are two women in parallel circumstances separated by hundreds of years. Through love triangles and the jealousy that ensues, Isabelle and Madeline both become victims of their lovers and meet the same ends. The perpetuating story that seems to withstand time is anchored by the famous painting on the Teller House Bar.
*Amanda Austin performed the role of Isabelle/Madeline as a member of Central City Opera’s Bonafils-Stanton Apprentice Artist Program.
“Austin was pert, pretty and bright-voiced in the central role. She sang with convincing expression throughout, capturing the audience’s sympathies as she tries to keep the testosterone-fueled macho outbursts of the men under control.”
- Peter Alexander, flatsandsharps.com