Frequently Asked Questions

Before May 2011, I had never traveled west of St. Louis. Now a three-month resident of Central City, I can look back on my move “out West” as a time full of equal amounts of excitement and apprehension. Hearing about the secluded City of Central, I admit that having never spent time in Colorado allowed for a substantial number of questions to flood my mind as I packed for the move.
Though I traveled over 1,500 miles to get to Central City, I’ve realized that some people might have the same questions as I do that might inhibit them from making the trip “up the hill.” In order to dispel any outstanding myths about Central City Opera, I’ve composed this list of Frequently Asked Questions that plagued me before I made my first trip to Central (and a few heard from others since I’ve arrived):
Question: Where is Central City and what is the best way to get there?
Answer: Central City is located less than an hour from Denver or Boulder, one mile up the hill from Black Hawk. From I-70 West, the Central City Parkway (Exit 243) provides a clear and scenic 8.4 mile drive directly to Central City. If you’d prefer to leave the driving to someone else, check our directions page for a number of solutions. Also, Central City Opera offers bus transportation for just $18 round-trip from Glendale or Lakewood (select performances). Check out all of the affordable options.
Question: What is the duration of the opera performances?
Answer: For many opera newcomers, a typical assumption is that operas are lengthy. To dispel this myth completely, Central City Opera is offering a triple bill of one-act operas this summer, the shortest of which is 34 minutes. Performance times vary; for those who want a little more, the longest runs just under three hours–similar to the length of the feature films Avatar and Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. All multiple-act performances feature an intermission, lasting a convenient twenty minutes. The show pages on our website list the run times for individual operas. Our Fringe Festival also offers Short Works and Signor Deluso, which are half-hour long performances by our Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists.
Question: How can people sit through a performance in those hickory chairs?
Answer: The historic hickory chairs pictured in several photos of the Opera House were replaced in 1999 with plush new theatre-style seating. In use since 1903, the hickory chairs were originally engraved with pioneer family names for a fundraiser in the 1930s. Today, some remain (thankfully on display only) in rehearsal spaces and other opera properties.
After new seats were installed in the Opera House, many of the old hickory chairs, with pioneer names inscribed on the backs, were moved to Willams Stables, where they are stored hanging from the ceiling.

Question: Hasn’t Central City lost all of its charm since the casinos opened?
Answer: Though this one is a matter of opinion, in my experience (as I didn’t know Central City pre-casinos) Central City is a quaint and historic place with plenty of tradition. Several antique shops, a brewery and other stores still line the historic streets. And as for Central City Opera, our historic preservation has allowed for a pleasant opportunity to “step back in time.”
Interior of the Opera House. Photo by Mark Kiryluk.
What questions are holding you back from making your way up to Central City for the 2011 Festival? Performances run through August 7. Use the comments below to add to the list of “Frequently Asked Questions.” I’d be glad to answer to the best of my ability!

Directions, current weather conditions, lodging and dining options and area activities can be found on our Visitor Information pages.

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