Riders World Premiere Breaks Box Office Records, Earns Critical Acclaim

March 6, 2017

“It blew away even my wildest expectations, financially or in terms of the public response. This is what great art can do. It can energize a community.”
— Joseph Spector, General Director of Arizona Opera

Riders of the Purple Sage, Arizona Opera's first-ever world commission by Olivier Award-nominated composer Craig Bohmler, has shattered box office records for the company, now celebrating its 45th season.

Single ticket sales for Riders totaled $390,924 – the third highest in the company's 45 seasons. Total ticket sales were the highest for the company in twelve years, and total attendance for the world premiere run was 7,796.

The production has been hailed as a history-defining moment for Arizona Opera – one that has given the company a "seat at the big boy's table."

Read reviews:

"Suave melodies and distinctive motives...a fascinating work that deserves to be heard often."
Opera Today
"Monumental and well-crafted, Riders can lay claim to a rightful place in the canon of works about the American West. A dynamic and memorable production...resonates with authenticity in the voices of a superb cast...that merits the unequivocal standing ovation."
Broadway World
"Bohmler's cinematic score also has a very contemporary energy, with flashing violins of the sort that build excitement in the latest “Star Wars” flick. This engaging production is built on sturdy bones: iconic hero-and-villain characters, a suspenseful story and a score that’s studded with soaring, hummable melodies. There’s no denying the edge-of-your-seat energy..."
The Republic
"Bohmler’s score had strong references to classic Western film themes — it reminds us of the Silver Screen era Westerns without imitating them."
Arizona Daily Star