Carmel Impresarios: A cultural biography of Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous

Carmel Impresarios: A cultural biography of Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous

by David J Gordon


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, June 23


Carmel-by-the-Sea on the California Coast was becoming an artistic hot spot of the West in the 1920s, when two extraordinary women paid a visit and never left.

During the 1920s, 30s, and 40s Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous worked together to bring art, music and beauty to the world. Against all odds, and even through the Great Depression, they founded the Carmel Music Society and the Carmel Bach Festival; ran a repertory theater in Monterey and a major concert series in San José; and designed Carmel's first art gallery and three dozen of its distinctive early houses.

Dene and Hazel were visionary artistic innovators who used the arts to bring people together in harmony, and their full story has never been told before. Carmel Impresarios tells their tale in the context of their pioneer parents, their childhoods, how they met for the first time in San Francisco, and how they joined their lives together in the world of art, music and theater.

This 400-page volume includes nearly 300 vintage photos and illustrations. It places the life and work of its two colorful subjects within the context of the artistic, intellectual, and cultural currents of early 20th century California, and sheds new light on the musical and theatrical history of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985665548
Publisher: Lucky Valley Press
Publication date: 06/01/2014
Pages: 408
Product dimensions: 7.44(w) x 9.69(h) x 0.84(d)

About the Author

Described by the Washington Post as "a model of style and charm, and an irresistible performer," tenor David Gordon has forged a versatile international career as singer, teacher, lecturer, and recording artist. He has won critical acclaim as guest soloist with virtually every major North American symphony orchestra, and with other prestigious orchestras, operas, and music festivals on four continents.

Hailed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as "one of the great interpreters of the Bach evangelist of our time," David is especially known for his vivid and stylish performance of Bach's music for tenor. As a Bach soloist, he has been featured in hundreds of concerts throughout North America, Europe, and Japan with conductors including Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, Bruno Weil, Christopher Hogwood, David Zinman, Greg Funfgeld, Simon Preston, Blanche Honegger Moyse, Richard Westenburg, and Peter Schreier.

On the international operatic stage, David has portrayed 60 principal roles with the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera (Kennedy Center), Hamburg Staatsoper, and other stages worldwide. His operatic repertoire includes Monteverdi, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Smetana, Wagner, Mussorgsky, Leoncavallo, Verdi, Puccini, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, and several world premieres.

A prolific recording artist, David appears on 15 classical CDs for RCA, BMG, Telarc, Decca, and other major labels, in eight centuries of repertoire.
David is also a popular lecturer and master class presenter, and has been a voice instructor at Sonoma State University and the University of California at Berkeley. David was a central figure at the Carmel Bach Festival in California for three decades, serving first as tenor soloist and then on the artistic staff as Dramaturge, lecturer, and director of the Festival's vocal master class for young professionals.

In 2014, David published Carmel Impresarios, a major cultural biography of the two visionary women who helped establish Carmel-by-the-Sea as an artistic and cultural hotspot in the 1920s and 1930s. The 400-page volume offers a detailed history of theater and music in one of California's most unique regions, and includes nearly 300 vintage illustrations, extensive footnotes, and a detailed appendix and index. Available from any bookseller worldwide. For more information, please visit

David can be contacted through his website:

Table of Contents

Carmel Impresarios


Foreword by Barbara Rose Shuler



California City and Town Populations

Computing the Cost of Things

Map of California

Introduction: Río del Carmelo 1603

Part One: Family and Roots 1829–1903

Part Two: Coming of Age in San Francisco 1903–1923

Part Three: Impresarios in Carmel 1924–1930

Part Four: The Monterey Peninsula Orchestra 1931–1934

Part Five: Festival and Theater 1935–1938

Part Six: Establishing Traditions 1939–1950

Part Seven: Entering the Modern Age 1951–1959 301


After the Impresarios

Carmel Bach Festival Early Leadership and Growth

Carmel Music Society Performance History

Monterey Peninsula Orchestra

Monterey Symphony

Dene Denny’s Piano Repertoire

Gastone Usigli’s Compositions Performed in California

Bach in Berkeley 1905

19th Century Photography

California School of Arts and Crafts




Customer Reviews