Opera Colorado enriches the quality of life through the presentation of opera performances that inspire our audience, and serves the community through education and cultural programs.
Stories are the essential lifeblood of a community, and Opera Colorado's story is inseparable from its hometown. A group of opera lovers gathered in 1980 to discuss the need for professional-quality opera in Denver; a company emerged that set a new standard for artistic excellence in Colorado. Nathaniel Merrill, longtime stage director for the Metropolitan Opera, served as artistic director from 1981-1998. Opera Colorado performed "in the round" for ten years, this unusual staging etching an early artistic identity that prioritized intimate connection with the audience and a relentless focus on quality, values that still characterize the company today.
With the opportunity to restore the Auditorium Theatre, the 2,200-seat Ellie Caulkins Opera House became Opera Colorado's performance home in 2005. The company builds on this acoustically excellent venue's storied past by connecting modern audiences with great works of the opera repertoire. Through a new artistic vision, help from a capacity building grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and an anonymous $1,000,000 donation, Opera Colorado will deepen its commitment to producing high-quality performances and building connections with the community by adding a third mainstage production to the 2019/20 season.
Opera Colorado moved its offices and rehearsal space into a renovated World War II-era building in Englewood in December 2017, marking the first time that administrative personnel and artists have worked in the same space. The new space has strengthened the collaborative spirit and shared focus that enable Opera Colorado to be a key contributor to artistic life in the Greater Rocky Mountain Region.
"...As I marched my toddlers to the performance, I was a little nervous that I was dragging them to something they wouldn't understand or have the patience to sit through. I was so wrong. We all loved it... My five-year old was fixated and keeps asking when we can go back to the Opera. Thank you for making this artform so accessible to children. Thank you for a reminder that true artistry speaks to us all. "
- Julia Jung reflecting on Family Day, a free Education & Engagement Program in which Opera Colorado opens the doors to the Ellie for programming of condensed operas and activities for children and families.