Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Opera in the mountains

So last week I promised to blog regularly, and I am already late. BUT I am late for a good reason. Last weekend was my birthday, and even though I am in Denver, I made the most of it. Making the most of it left little time for blogging, however!

My two favorite things to do for my birthday in Denver are to go the arboretum or the opera. Last year I stitched in the arboretum, so this year I drove up to Central City to see La Traviata, which was absolutely beautiful. The Soprano who played Violetta had the clearest most beautiful voice I've ever heard, the sets were impressive, the costumes lavish, and the music a dream. Plus I love tragedies. They play to my melodramatic side and I cried all the way through the second act. It was perfect!

The historic interior of the Central City Opera House. every seat is a good seat.

Central City is a Denver mining town. In the mid 1800s it was the richest square mile in the United States because of all of the gold they were exporting. The only way to reach this tiny little mining town clinging to a hillside during the gold rush was via a switch back dirt trail called Oh My God Road. But when the opera house was built in 1878, people made the trek up from Denver. It was a sparkling jewel in the Old West, even amid the dirt and grime of the mines. In fact, the 750-seat opera house was "the grandest theater between Chicago and San Fracisco"!

Oh My God Road is not something I will EVER drive on!

As the gold became harder to extract,people left Central City and the opera house fell into disrepair. It was saved in the 1930s, however, by Denver philanthropists and has hosted a summer opera season ever since. Famous people have played here, including Mae West and Lilian Gish, and the summer opera training program helps develop new talent every year.

Central City in 1863.

Thank goodness that in recent years a better road has been built (Oh My God Road is still there, but I would never drive it!). I went up (it is over 8,000 feet above sea level) early, had a picnic, and then explored the old mining town. Much of it is now casinos. Central City and its sister town Black Hawk are only one of two places with legalized gambling in the state, but there are also nice antique shops and the architecture is definitely western.

Central City Opera House today.
In one antique shop I was besieged by butterflies and wound up leaving with a hand stitched dresser scarf and guest towel. The dresser scarf is long--49 by 14 inches. The hand towel is delicately stitches on gauze. I just love these, although I am not sure where I will use them!

The rest of the weekend I spent reading, stitching and having dinner with my husband (via FaceTime). Since I have been frustrated with my stitching ever since returning to Denver, having something turn out RIGHT, was very satisfying. Of course, nothing is finished yet. It is close to 90 degrees in my sewing room, so I could only sew an hour or so at a time before having to retire to the shade on the porch to read a book. I had a great weekend though and the stitching (and blogging) is definitely kick-started.

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