Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit Launches
The first-ever Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit, which connects five mountain opera houses, launched on June 23, 2022. This new cultural heritage travel offering invites visitors to experience Colorado’s Silver Rush past and the enduring importance of arts and culture in today’s remote mountain towns, all within elegant buildings. Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit encourages visitors to “step away from their screens and reconnect with the energy of live shows.”
All Circuit opera houses are on the National Register of Historic Places, were built from 1878 to 1913, and retain their original character:
- Central City Opera House (Central City)
- Sheridan Opera House (Telluride)
- Tabor Opera House (Leadville)
- Wheeler Opera House (Aspen)
- Wright Opera House (Ouray)
Summer events include music and film festivals, concerts, and art exhibits. Next on the calendar are a month-long opera festival (Central City Opera, July 2-31), the Telluride Plein Air Festival (Sheridan Opera House, June 28-July 4), Ghosts of the Tabor immersive performance (Tabor Opera House, July 8-9), and at the Wheeler Opera House, Opera Encounters (July 2) and Aspen Rocks (July 5), and Corrine Bailey Rae (July 22).
Start Your Trip Planning Here:
The Tabor Opera House in Leadville, a short one-hour drive from Salida just won the statewide 2022 Endangered Places Progress Award for its preservation efforts. For a full day’s outing, backtrack a short ways south to the turnoff for Twin Lakes. Passing the reservoir, enjoy a beautiful, winding drive over Independence Pass (no vehicles over 35’) to Aspen. There you’ll find the luxuriously-appointed Wheeler Opera House with weekly tours and scheduled dates for performances of all kinds. You could stay overnight in the Roaring Fork Valley and retrace your steps back to Salida, but why stop now?
For a truly Grand Tour (without having to head to the Continent), you’ll need to plan several days to avoid sensory overload. From Aspen, head to Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction. For a change of pace, don’t forget the 2-mile long Downtown Grand Junction Creative District, with over 100 pieces of outdoor public art. Accommodations in the Grand Valley may offer more affordable options than in Aspen’s “Glitter Gulch”, and provide even more outdoor diversions.
From Grand Junction, US 550 takes you south to Telluride and Ouray, home of the Sheridan Opera House and the Wright Opera House. All of these destination venues will be busy this summer so you’ll need to plan ahead.
Make it a “Two-Fer”: Explore the Colorado Creative Corridor, Salida and Beyond
There’s something for everyone in Colorado and especially in the summertime. Besides the performing arts and outdoor recreation, the visual arts are well represented among Colorado’s Creative Districts and notably, the Colorado Creative Corridor.
While there’s opportunity for combining a few of these venues with the Colorado Opera Houses Historic Circuit (Carbondale and Ridgway for example), to spread out your sensory pleasures, consider another expedition of several days taking in all that this district has to offer.
Carbondale, Crested Butte, Paonia, Ridgway and Salida combine to offer “a collective experience of unique event programming and activities, alongside mountain town eclecticism, majestic vistas and outdoor recreation, and authentic Colorado mountain culture.” Wildflowers bloom in Crested Butte, there’s high-altitude, fine wine along Paonia’s West Elk Loop and mountain biking most everywhere. A tour guide is here.
Within easy driving range of Chaffee County there’s a whole summer of art, music, recreation, adventure, and culture easily accessible. No need to trek to the Front Range, DIA or beyond, there’s plenty to do in our own backyard.
Featured image: Colorado Historic Opera Houses Map courtesy of The Colorado Tourism Office