Sunday, August 23, 2015

Central City Opera


This is the view my husband and I saw as we drove on Interstate 70, headed up into those Rocky Mountains in the distance, towards, Gilpin County, where we had tickets to attend an opera at the oldest operating Opera House in the United States.  (All photos, and photo collages, will enlarge for easier viewing, if clicked on.)


At exit 243 we entered Central City Casino Parkway, and took a 12 minute scenic drive up to the 8,510 foot elevation of the old gold mining town of Central City, founded in 1859 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush.  Central City was once called "The Richest Square Mile on Earth" due to the many gold mines that once operated in the area--over 17,000 claims were made in this part of Gilpin County.


As soon as you approach Central City, many of its historic buildings become visible....


...and its pretty Main Street.


The town is very picturesque and interesting, and my husband and I both would like to come back one day to explore it more.  The fortunes of Central City declined after gold mining diminished, but in the 1990's casinos were open here, and in the adjoining town of Black Hawk, to form the Central City/Black Hawk Historic District.  Black Hawk has developed casinos at a faster rate than Central City, and therefore has more revenue, but the town of Central City is more quaint and historical.


Many of Central City's buildings have historical markers that tell interesting and colorful stories about their history, such as the one above.  Click on to enlarge the photo to read about the Rose Haydee building.


The Central City Opera House was built in 1878 by Welsh and Cornish miners who had brought the rich tradition of music with them from their home towns. Prominent Denver architect Robert S Roeschlaub designed the elegant stone building and San Francisco artist John C Massman added elaborate trompe l'oeil murals to the interior.


Unfortunately, productions of this 550 seat opera house soon closed as the mining industry left the region and the population dwindled, and sadly the opera house fell into disrepair. In 1932, some interested opera patrons restored the Opera House to its former glory, and legendary actress, Lillian Gish, came to play her role as Camille, in the production of the same name, which launched an annual tradition of summer festivals that continues to this day. This National Historic Landmark has hosted performances of the nation's fifth oldest opera company since this 1932 re-opening, hosting such famous artists as Mae West, Beverly Sills, Helen Hayes, Denyce Graves, among others.


We saw one of our favorite operas at Central City, Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata. Directed by Elise Sandell, and conducted by John Baril, this production starred Ellie Dehn as Violetta, Ryan McPherson as Alfredo, and Troy Cook as Giorgio Germont. No photos are allowed during the opera, but I took this photo of the final bows to the audience's enthusiastic standing ovations.  

You can see some scenes for La Traviata at this Central City Opera youtube promotional trailer



We enjoyed this sell out opera very much and seeing it in this historical building made me feel as if I was also viewing a part of our nation's history. We will definitely return next summer for not only an opera but also a musical, or two. It is wonderful knowing this treasure box gem is in close proximity to us, and an additional theater along with those in Denver, in which to enjoy the arts. We saw many operas when we lived in New York City, both the Metroploitan Opera and City Opera, and we are happy that we have choices here in Colorado to continue seeing live performances.

Do you enjoy visiting performing arts complexes around the country and the world? What places have you visited and performances that you would recommend? 

I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

Thank you to all the blog hosts!

Bookmark and Share Pin It

46 comments:

Deanna said...

Wow, Pat! That first photo is a stunner! When I enlarged it, my husband and I just oohed and ahhed over it. I don't know how you were able to get such a clear shot without a blur (I always come out with a lot of blur since I'm never ready with my camera..lol!)

What a picturesque little city and can you imagine the great Lillian Gish having once been there? I feel sad that kids nowadays have no idea who she is.

I'm fixing to watch the video you provided. Have a great week!

Mersad said...

I love little cities like this one. They are really fun to explore and you can turn your camera everywhere and get a good shot. If you like you can link up with the new edition of "Through My Lens". Link is below.

Mersad
Mersad Donko Photography

Gracie said...

It really looks like a typical american city, like the ones we are used to see on movies...glad you have the chance to follow your interests there too

Maria Gagliano said...

You did a great job of showing some amazing spots to visit. Looks like a wonderful place. THanks for sharing

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Very pretty town and what a treat to hear La Traviata in an old Opera House. I would say that was a very successful day. Verdi is our favorite composer.
Sam

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

I fixed you entry; sorry it took so long.

This is a wonderful place you've discovered. You guys sure know how to retire!

We had season tickets each year up until now, but no longer. It's become too difficult for me.

Isn’t it fun finding blues to share?

Happy Blue Monday!

Cathy said...

Pat, I am pleased to see that Central City has retained it`s charm. Love all the photos. A long time ago we dredged gold in the Black Hawk area.

Linda Kay said...

Pat, such a delightful time. That first picture with the mountains is breathtaking!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, Central City does look charming. I love the historica Opera House. It is great you were able to enjoy this sell out opera. Wonderfuls series of photo, the first shot is beautiful. Happy Monday, enjoy your week ahead!

Rajesh said...

Fantastic shots of the tour. The first shot is mind-blowing.

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

WOW you had me at the first shot. What a view!!

Cathy Keller said...

Central City has certainly changed since I was a kid. But some things have stayed the same. The last opera I saw there was Don Giovanni in 1968. This year on our visit we didn't get to Central City, but it is usually on the itinerary. Thanks again for the memories!

Barbara said...

Pat, a beautiful post, as always. Your photography is always stunning.

To answer your question to all of us about attending performing arts evens, I seldom go, although the show is usually enjoyable when I do. I dislike the crowds and figuring out the parking, and so forth. I prefer to go with people who know all about how to get there and how everything works, so I don't get lost or embarrass myself.

The last live performance we saw was White Christmas at the Buell Theatre during the Christmas season of 2012. It was delightful.

Thank you for another enjoyable post!

Donna said...

Oh I would love this place...it reminds me of a mining town in AZ, Bisbee...similar buildings.

Gemma Wiseman said...

An amazing, scenic journey to the opera. And the building itself is such an enchanting design.

Vee said...

Incredible views...I wouldn't want to be the driver! What a story Rose had. Wonder if her story ever became a movie. "Satanic good looks"? Yikes! La Traviata is my favorite opera...and I like the back story of the opera nearly as well. Keep taking those pictures of your splendid corner.

LV said...

What an awesome trip. Wish I could have been along in person.

happywonderer.com said...

What a great historical town to visit. Love Main street!

NC Sue said...

Super-cool series!
Thaanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/08/bennett-place-bit-of-history.html

bj said...

We were there many years ago, when our children were little...it's a beautiful spot.

Denise said...

Great post, Pat!! Your pictures and mosaics are fantastic, and your post is very informative. My husband and son went to Philmont Scout Reservation in N.M. when Will was in high school, but they spent a few days in Colorado first. They took the cog railway to the top of Pike's Peak while they were there. Your pictures and stories REALLY make me want to see Colorado now.

Yes, we do like to attend live performances. When I was in junior high school, I went to see "Pirates of Penzance" with a friend and her family. We visited NYC in December of 2005, where we saw the Rockette's Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall and "The Lion King" on Broadway. Our hometown here in North Carolina is what my husband calls a "big" small town, but we have a lot of the arts here. The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is based here, and I've seen lots of good performances here that the students put on. Our local Shakespeare Festival performs the bard's plays during summer, and they do a performance of "A Christmas Carol" every December. The School of the Arts performs "The Nutcracker" here every December, as well. I have to admit though, my husband and I aren't too keen on opera. Still, The Central City Opera House looks lovely, Pat. I'm sure you and your husband had a wonderful visit there.

Thanks for sharing and have a great week!!

Hugs,

Denise at Forest Manor

Linda H said...

I agree, that first photo is stunning! What a great place to visit- the history, the scenic landscape PLUS fabulous performances at the Opera. You MUST return! (AND share it with us, of course!)
I love live performances whether at our local theatre or on Broadway in NYC. You can't beat live theatre!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I know you and Vinny loved attending performances of the opera in NYC, so it's nice to know you can also find opera out there in Colorado, Pat. This past weekend, I attended the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in Cooperstown, NY. and heard MacBeth and Candide. Aside from the wonderful music, it's a beautiful location for all kinds of fun activities - from water sports on the lake to art museums - and of course the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Marie C said...

We wanted to re-visit Central City so much when we were there last summer, but we missed the turn (there was road construction) and didn't backtrack. We heard that the Casinos have ruined the town, but I see that it is mostly the case with Black Hawk. My memories are intact as I see your lovely photos of this quaint and wonderful town! We always enjoyed the place so much in the mid-70s and I think we would have really enjoyed showing it to our grandson last summer. We aren't fans of opera but the historic opera house is so wonderful!

Mari said...

That view from your car was just awesome! It can be overwhelmig closeby. The town streets are pretty inviting and much more tge old opera house.

s.c said...

Nice shots. That first one is a real stunner. I like it.

Jeanne said...

Good morning Pat, We have been on HWY 70 going towards the Rockies and it is a spectacular view. We have never been to Central City but I would love to go there and especially attend an opera.

Your photos and history of Central City are a great post and very interesting as always. How lucky that you live close enough to go there.

We have used AAA many times in our many journeys. We actually have very rarely needed them for car service on the road. Good thing!!! A few times we have needed them and it takes forever to send help. Such is life. Smile.

Have a great week and I am happy to be visiting again. What a summer for company!!!

Hugs,
Jeanne

Shelia said...

Hi Pat! Oh, what a wonderful time you must have had. The town is just darling and take away the cars and it looks like a western movie. I'm sure the opera was great! Thank you so much for popping in to see me.
be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Fun60 said...

Oh what an historic town to visit and it looks so lively and welcoming. Glad you included the plaque telling the interesting tale of Rose Haydee.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

What an historic treat this town is and seeing La Traviata in the Opera House would be quite memorable.
We have summer season's tickets for onstage productions about an hour's drive north of us. Drayton Entertainment has theatres in several Ontario communities and often the performers have been on television or broadway.
Tomorrow I'm off on a bus trip to Toronto to see 'Newsies'.
Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Pat.

Retired English Teacher said...

How nice that you were able to do this. I always get sad, and a bit angry, when I see the way Central City is today. It once was a real treasure before the gambling business came to town. I rarely go there because I just can accept the changes. I guess I need to get over it, but I loved how it was back in the day. I enjoyed reading your take on the place. It helped me to see it all with new eyes instead of remembering how it was.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wonderful! We did visit Central City once on our way to somewhere else . Did not know about the theater/ opera house.

Sheila said...

Hello Pat, I always enjoy the history you share as you explore different locations. It's so interesting to learn the things that Colorado has to offer. I'm sure that we will hear about your trips to the Opera on a regular basis now. Hope you are still enjoying a lovely summer!

Ida said...

Wow that first shot is super cool. - I've never been a fan of Opera music since it's not in English but I think it might be fun to go see one sometime.

ann said...

Central City is one of our treasures, isn't it? With the gambling in Black Hawk, Central City suffered; now it appears to be making a comeback with he opera house at the core. One of the most famous sights used to be the saloon with the face of a lady painted on the floor: The Lady on the Barroom Floor. No one knew the lay was, and the painter had long been forgotten. It was, however, a long time ago, the main attraction in town. Wonderful post.

Kaye Swain said...

What a sweet and intriguing town to visit. Thank you for sharing it via the Grand Social. :)

Kaye Swain
RosevilleCaliforniaJoys.com/Pets

annie said...

Lovely photos but then they always are.
You make me miss living in the west (Utah).

Spare Parts and Pics said...

What a beautiful little town! I really like all the historic buildings, and glad they are so well preserved.

Photo Cache said...

What a delightfully charming little town.

Worth a Thousand Words

Al said...

I haven't yet been to an opera although I'd love to; I sometimes listen to one on my stereo. Central City looks similar to Cripple Creek, which I visited a couple of weeks ago.

jaipurthru mylens said...

great post! really liked the first picture with expansive highway and mountains in background!

Steven Que said...

Each and every photo is just amazing! It gives me a trip to Opera House even if I am on a sunny, humid afternoon here in the Philippines. I especially love the road photo with those mountains at the back :)

Greetings from the Philippines

Steven

Maya Harrison said...

I love the road photo with the mountains as a background, beautiful capture... the Opera house and mainstreet are beautiful. Take you for taking me around your town. I may not be able to visit in person but doesn't mean I will never see it - thanks to your post :-)

Maya from Pompeii | Naples, Italy

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great post. I love how they staged the opera in a restored building. I love the opera and was a season subscriber when I lived in Houston. Nothing like the human voice in my opinion for music. I never bothered with reading the translations. You can tell what is happening by the tone of the music and the action on stage (I am not telling you anything you don't already know I realize.)

NC Sue said...

These are great photos!!
I hope to see you at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/08/bennett-place-bit-of-history.html and each week for the Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) photo linky!

Have a Daily said...

I love old buildings and it's wonderful when they restore them instead of tearing them down. I have not seen an opera in years, but do attend plays now and then. I'm glad that you had a wonderful time! The town is one that hubby and I would love visiting as well. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs
Jann