(June 30 – August 12, 2012) Founded in 1859 at the onset of the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, Central City at one point was termed “the richest square mile on earth.” With money to burn, the citizens erected the Central City Opera House and boasted it was the most luxurious venue between Chicago and San Francisco. As the gold declined, so did the condition of the opera house.
In 1931, two women with deep ties to the area – Anne Evans and Ida Kluse McFarlane – decided to restore the venue and use it as the centerpiece of an opera festival. Thus the Central City Opera Association was born, becoming the fifth-oldest company in the country. The building is the jewel of the Central City / Black Hawk National Landmark Historic District.
The Central City Opera annually produces a terrific summer season, giving music-loving Coloradoans an excuse to travel out to this mountain town (located about an hour away from both Denver and Boulder) to take in an opera and to explore the historical and cultural offerings of the area. The festival consists of three works – one surefire crowd-pleaser, one American, and one little-known. It begins in late June and extends through early August. With each opera being performed at least ten times, patrons have maximum flexibility in seeing one, two or all three in a short span in the intimate 550-seat theatre.
Operagoers can choose from a variety of additional activities – half-hour comic operas, salon recitals, catered lunches, even kid-friendly matinees with “what-to-listen-for introductions” and post-production autograph sessions.
Central City Opera Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Three shows per season with multiple performances of each, plus special events like Family Matinée performances of operas and Opera House screenings of classic and silent films
- Ticket Prices: $50–$99
- Group Discounts: Groups get a 15% discount
- Subscriptions: Two-opera subscriptions are $95–$183. Subscribers save 10% over single ticket prices, and they are permitted to get free ticket exchanges
- Membership: Central City Opera House Association Guild memberships available from $30–$255. Benefits include 15% discount on single Opera tickets, one free admission to the Denver Antiques Show & Sale, and invites to social event.