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 is Denver; a company emerged from that meeting 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. Under his direction, Opera Colorado performed "in the round" at Boettcher Concert Hall for ten years; this unusual staging etched an early artistic identity that prioritized intimate connection with the audience and the relentless focus on quality, values that still characterize the company today. The 1990s and early 2000s were a period of growth and change for Opera Colorado. The company added a third mainstage performance at the Temple Buell Theatre to its annual season in 1992, enabling Opera Colorado to mount productions with more traditional staging. In 2002, the organization won the opportunity to restore the 1908 Auditorium Theatre, leading to the opening of the 2,200-seat Ellie Caulkins Opera House as its performance home in 2005. The company builds on this acoustically excellent venue's storied past by connection modern audiences with great works of the opera repertoire in two mainstage productions each season.
"...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.