Some may look to the east and west coasts for the U.S.’s best opera, theater, classical music and ballet – but aficionados know that Denver is home to a performing arts scene to rival any other city.
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Opera Colorado, the Colorado Ballet – all these organizations and more make up a diverse and stimulating cultural mix that keeps schedules packed all year-round.
Denver Performing Arts Complex
950 13th St.
Ground zero for the Denver performing arts world is, naturally, the Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC). Located in the heart of downtown at 14th and Curtis Streets, the DPAC houses the 2,700-seat Boettcher Concert Hall (the nation's first in-the-round concert hall), the Helen G. Bonfils Theatre Complex (with four separate stages), the 2,830-seat Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre, the Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom and the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The Denver Center Theatre Company makes its home here, and since 1979 has created an impressive body of classic and contemporary drama and world premieres. DPAC also presents award-winning touring productions: The revival of Hello, Dolly starring Carol Channing, Sunset Boulevard and Disney's The Lion King have all chosen Denver as the first stop on their national tours. DCA also produces cabaret including I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, which ran for more than four years making it Denver's longest-running musical.
Opera Colorado / Central City Opera
With the stunning, state of the art Ellie Caulkins Opera House serving
as its base of operations, Opera Colorado is priceless treasure to all
Mile High City opera lovers. Opera Colorado's stated mission is to
entertain audiences by creating the passion, excitement and art of grand
opera and to promote opera to the widest possible audience through
educational and cultural activities. From classic Wagnerian spectacles
to cutting edge recent works from composers like John Adams (Nixon In China), Opera Colorado will delight both opera fanatics and novices.
Meanwhile, a truly unique opera experience can be had in Central City, where a season of world-class opera has been put on every summer since 1932. The ornate Central City Opera House (124 Eureka St., Central City), built in 1878, features modern comforts with plush new seating, installed in 1999. Continuing a tradition from 1932, many of the chairs commemorate Colorado pioneers, notable performers, and opera supporters. Illustrious names like Horace Tabor, Buffalo Bill, Beverly Sills, and Lillian Gish are carved on the backs of the seats. Head out of town to Central City for exciting new productions each summer!
Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Classical music lovers take note! The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO)
is the region's only full-time professional orchestra, embracing a
tradition of musical excellence with a wide variety of symphonic
performances-from classical repertoire to innovative new forms- all in
the perfect acoustics of Boettcher Concert Hall. Under the leadership of
musical director Jeffrey Kahane, the CSO plays a key role in making
Denver and the Rocky Mountain region an exciting place to live, work and
raise families. Each season, approximately 250,000 patrons attend CSO
concerts, including a 21-week Masterworks series of classical programs,
as well as Pops, Family, Holiday and Summer Parks concerts.
For close to 50 years, the Colorado Ballet has been dedicated to
bringing world-class dance to The Mile High City. With a company of 31
professional dancers of national and international acclaim, 15 studio
company dancers, a $6.6 million operating budget, an expansive
repertoire, and the Academies of Colorado Ballet, Colorado Ballet is a
highly regarded ballet company. From the beauty of classical ballets to
the debut of world premieres by internationally acclaimed
choreographers, Colorado Ballet consistently puts together an enriching
season, year after year.
Colorado Children's Chorale
Kids get in on the high culture action in Denver, too. For more than
three decades, the award-winning Colorado Children's Chorale charmed
audiences in Colorado, across the nation and around the world. With a
diverse repertoire, ranging from fully staged opera and musical theater
to choral compositions in classical, folk and popular traditions, the
Chorale performs with an innovative stage presence and dynamic
theatrical spirit. Performances by the CCC are always exuberant,
energetic and sure to bring standing ovations.
2344 E. Iliff Ave.
While the Denver Performing Arts Complex is the biggest cultural center in the city, it's by no means the only game in town. Case in point: Denver University's Newman Center for the Performing Arts, which features free performances from students at DU's Lamont School of Music, coordinates performances and events by dozens of Denver-based arts, civic and corporate organizations, (such as Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, United Way, Denver Brass and Friends of Chamber Music) and presents an eclectic array of world-renowned performers in a subscription series called Newman Center Presents.