Colorado - Music and Performing Arts

Music is ever-present in Colorado. The Central City Opera House is the fifth oldest opera company in the U.S. and an icon of Colorado’s mining days. More than 40 performances are scheduled throughout the year.

Summer sets off a series of music and dance festivals, including the acclaimed Aspen Music Festival and School, which affords visitors a chance to experience one of the country’s leading summer music programs. The program is a showcase for more than 350 varied performances ranging from symphonic and chamber music to opera and choral. Likewise, Durango, Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge and Vail host highly regarded summer music festivals and, in Telluride, the Bluegrass Festival in June is considered one of the country’s best.

Denver’s vibrant art scene revolves around the four-square-block Denver Performing Arts Center, home to the Colorado Ballet, Opera Colorado, the Denver Center Theater Company and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra—all are world-class institutions where visitors can experience a range of dynamic concerts and performances. Denver boasts the region's largest resident professional theatre company. A part of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Denver Center Theatre Company performs nearly a dozen plays in repertory from fall through early summer. Its newest artistic endeavor, the Colorado New Play Summit, is committed to encouraging great new American writing for the stage.

Just west of Denver, the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is a concert venue unlike any other. Carved out of surrounding red sandstone, it has provided a singular outdoor concert setting for some of the world’s most renowned headliners—from the Beatles to U2.

Visitors with an appreciation for theater will be engaged by Colorado’s thriving theatrical scene. In summer and early fall, the Creede Repertory Theatre presents a rigorous, rotating schedule of performances in repertory. In Cripple Creek, the historic Butte Opera House is home to year-round live professional theater, musical entertainment and classic melodrama.

Just outside Steamboat Springs lies the oldest continuously operated performing arts school and camp in the country. Founded in 1913 and now included in the National Register of Historic Places, the historic 73-acre Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp welcomes aspiring thespians, playwrights and musicians, as well as those simply inspired by its Rocky Mountain setting.

In Leadville, the Tabor Opera House, which opened in 1879 to entertain the town’s mining moguls, today is home to musical and theater performances. In Julesburg, the landmark 1919 Hippodrome Theater, credited with showcasing through attitude and architecture the magic that motion pictures brought to small rural towns, continues to operate, thanks to dedicated community volunteers.

In January, the Boulder Bach Festival features music of the composer; later in June, the town celebrates the bard with the renowned Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

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