New Cultural Heritage Travel Offering Points Visitors to Live Events, Tours & Rentals in Elegant Wild West Settings
The first-ever Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit, which connects five mountain opera houses, launches on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at ColoradoOperaHouses.com. 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.
This summer, after two years of Covid closures, visitors can enjoy live performances and events—opera, national and regional music acts, theater, festivals, and more—plus building tours and rentals.
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)
The Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit makes trip planning easy. ColoradoOperaHouses.com gives information about the opera houses, a calendar of events, and a Circuit map. The website links to nearby history and arts attractions, outdoor recreation, and lodging so that visitors can plan a full and rewarding trip.
Reopening: After two years of pandemic closures, the Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit enables visitors to step away from their screens and reconnect with the energy of live shows.
New Take on History: The opera houses introduce visitors to a lesser-known side of the Wild West. Among the rowdy mining camps, saloons, and outlaws, these ornate beacons of culture were built to announce a town’s up-and-coming status.
Rarity: Between 1860 and 1920, 132 opera houses were built in Colorado, according to “Local Glories: Opera Houses on Main Street, Where Art and Culture Meet” by Ann Satterthwaite. Today, many opera houses are being used for other purposes or are no longer in existence. The five Circuit opera houses give visitors a rare opportunity to see live entertainment in the same settings that people did at the turn of the 20th century.
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), Ouray International Film Festival (Wright Opera House, June 23-26), and at the Wheeler Opera House, Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Experience (June 24 & 25), Aspen Music Festival & School (July 7 – August 20), and Corrine Bailey Rae (July 22). The Circuit’s website features a full calendar of events.
Tours are available this summer at Central City Opera House, Sheridan Opera House, Tabor Opera House, Wheeler Opera House, and Wright Opera House. The Sheridan Opera House, Wheeler Opera House (based on availability), and Wright Opera House can be booked for rentals.
About the Circuit
The following organizations are Circuit partners:
- Aspen Chamber Resort Association
- Central City Opera House Association
- City of Central City
- City of Ouray
- Gilpin Historical Society
- Lake County Tourism Panel
- Sheridan Arts Foundation
- Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation
- Wheeler Opera House
- Wright Opera House
The project is funded by $40,000 from the Colorado Tourism Office, through its Marketing Matching Grant, and a collective partner contribution of $20,000. All participating organizations are equal partners; the Lake County Tourism Panel is the formal project lead.
The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The CTO’s mission is to generate traveler spending through the promotion of Colorado as a four-season, four-corner, world-class travel destination and the development of compelling, sustainable travel experiences. At its height before the pandemic, Colorado travelers directly spent $24.2 billion, generating $1.49 billion in local and state revenues, saving each Colorado household $707 in additional taxes last year. Tourism is one of Colorado’s largest employers and is a priority industry for the state. For more information, please visit oedit.colorado.gov/tourism.