Make opera, classical music and the fine arts your summer destinations

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The ritual is about to begin – or start again, we should say. The weather is warming up, the snow is finally melting and the Coloradans are hitting the road for some of the best art, dance, opera and orchestra concerts on the planet.

Painters, pianists and ballerinas love to spend their summers in these regions, and we have learned to seize the moment.

Here are 10 promising options when you’re ready to fuel up and go.

“Jeffrey Gibson: The Electric Body”

Until September 11, SITE Santa Fe

Jeffrey Gibson’s eclectic artwork is rooted in symbols of his Native American heritage, but his messages of marginalization are universal. The same goes for the appeal of the various objects in this retrospective, which range from painting to sculpture, video and performance. Gibson’s art is too colorful, larger than life, full of personality and super fun to be around. Two other good things about SITE: it’s always free and has a stellar gift shop. 1606 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM Information: 505-989-1199 or www.santafe.org.

“Mountain/Time”

Until 9/11, Aspen Art Museum

The Aspen Museum of Art pushes the envelope with this warm-weather exhibition, devoting nearly all of its gallery space to video. This exhibition comes with serious credibility, with all works borrowed from two major collections, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Rosenkranz Collection. The list of artists is equally impressive, with Kahlil Joseph, Kandis Williams and Arthur Jafa leading the way. Aspen tries something interesting here, linking stories of human migration to “stories and geographies of mountains and their ecological systems.” You will have to see it to fully understand. 637 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen. Information: 970-925-8050 or aspenartmuseum.org.

An architectural rendering of James Turrell’s “Skyspace”, currently under construction in Green Mountain Falls. The interactive art installation tops this year’s Green Box Arts Festival. Image courtesy of the Green Box Arts Festival.

Skyspace by James Turrell

Opening June 18, Green Box Arts Festival

Artist James Turrell is a legend in the world of light art, creating dozens of near and far installations that attempt to capture the sensory pleasures of light as it travels across the country. His latest, “Skyspace,” is the main attraction at this year’s Green Box Arts Festival, and it’s both a hit and a carrot for the festival: Colorado’s first “Skyspace”; the first located on the mountainside; and the best possible reason to attend this fledgling event in Green Mountain Falls, located about 25 minutes northwest of downtown Colorado Springs. Book a tour of the artwork soon and explore the exact location, as well as the entire festival program, on the website. Overlooking Gazebo Lake, near 6990 Lake St., Green Mountain Falls. Info: 719-465-3065 or greenboxarts.org.

Julia Hansen's costumes for the Santa Fe Opera

“Carmen”

July 1-August. 27 Santa Fe Opera House

Mezzo soprano Isabel Leonard was born to sing “Carmen.” She has the voice and the attitude to succeed, and so I keep faith that this production, helmed by French director Mariame Clément on its first outing at the Santa Fe Opera House, will come together for some real magic. The company pulls out all the stops for the show, so expect stunning sets and costumes by Julia Hansen and earnest orchestral accompaniment led by in-house music director Harry Bicket. Crosby Theater, 301 Opera Drive, Santa Fe, NM Info: 505-986-5900 or www.santafeopera.org.

“Die Fledermaus”

From July 10 to 31, Central City Opera

Central City has scheduled a light opera this summer, a departure from its recent history of taking on the heavyweights of the genre. There’s one particularly bright spot in the lineup, especially for fans of traditional fare: Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus.” Light-hearted, light-hearted and fun despite itself, the operetta is a promising destination for one of those beautiful mountain walks capped off by enjoyable musical fare at the state’s most historic performing arts venue. It’s a good year to support the company by buying a ticket or two. Central City Opera, Central City. Information: 303-292-6500 or centralcityopera.org.

Nathalie Stutzmann will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra concert on July 16 with Bruch's Double Concerto for clarinet, viola and orchestra on the program.  Image courtesy of Bravo!  Vail Music Festival.
Nathalie Stutzmann will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra concert on July 16 with Bruch’s Double Concerto for clarinet, viola and orchestra on the program. Image courtesy of Bravo! Vail Music Festival.

The Philadelphia Orchestra plays Copland and Brahms

July 16 Well done! Vail Music Festival

Catching the Philadelphia Orchestra during their annual summer residency in Vail is always a safe bet, but this concert has added excitement. It’s all about the program, an unusual mix of musical pieces that you don’t hear too often here. These include Bruch’s Double Concerto for Clarinet, Viola and Orchestra (with Philadelphia soloists Ricardo Morales and Choong-Jin Chang); Copland’s super short palate cleanser, “Fanfare for the Common Man”; and the crowning achievement of Brahms’ career, Symphony No. 4. Local classical music fans will understand just how different this lineup is. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, 530 Frontage Road, Vail. Information: 877-812-5700 or bravovail.org.

Limon dance company

August 1, Vail International Dance Festival

Since its founding by the late movement pioneer José Limón in the 1940s, the Limón Dance Company has been one of the country’s premier contemporary troupes – historic, iconic and groundbreaking. It’s a wonder the company has never been to Vail Dance Fest until now. Beginnings are welcome and the best reason to head to Vail all summer long. The August 1 program mixes old and newer works, so it will serve as an ideal primer for people unfamiliar with the delights of Limón.
Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, 530 Frontage Road, Vail. Information: 877-812-5700 or bravovail.org.

“Mr. Butterfly”

July 30-August. 24 Santa Fe Opera House

“MM” by writer David Henry Hwang. Butterfly” was a hit play on opera, so it only makes sense that Hwang would make it the opera on opera that has its world premiere in Santa Fe this summer. As a librettist, Hwang has a capable partner in composer Huang Ruo, whose musical creations have been performed by leading orchestras across continents. It’s one of the most anticipated classical music moments of 2022 and it has the potential to make countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim a major star in the industry. Crosby Theater, 301 Opera Drive, Santa Fe, NM Info: 505-986-5900 or santafeopera.org.

Lawrence Brownlee is headlining an August 4 concert at the Aspen Music Festival.  Image courtesy of Aspen Music Festival.
Lawrence Brownlee is headlining an August 4 concert at the Aspen Music Festival. Image courtesy of Aspen Music Festival.

Lawrence Brownlee

August 4, Aspen Music Festival

Lawrence Brownlee is one of the busiest tenors in opera these days, carving out a career that combines starring stints in newly commissioned works with a series of recitals across the country. This concert, one of Aspen’s highlights, will showcase his remarkable vocal and dramatic range but retain the kind of intimate setting where he shines best. The program ranges from warhorse standards to spirituals. Myra Huang accompanies on the piano. Harris Concert Hall, downtown Aspen. Information: 970-925-9042 or aspenmusicfestival.com.

by Vivaldi "Four Seasons," with Melissa White arrives in Aspen on August 11.  Image courtesy of Aspen Music Festival.
Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” starring Melissa White arrives in Aspen on August 11. Image courtesy of Aspen Music Festival.

An Evening of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Melissa White

August 11, Aspen Music Festival

File this one under “very special”. A founding member of the Harlem Quartet, violinist Melissa White has won accolades as an ensemble player and soloist. For her Aspen debut, she has chosen a showstopper, Vivaldi’s insanely popular “Four Seasons,” which she will perform at Harris Concert Hall. Expect this event to be intimate and personal – and memorable. Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor is also on the program. Harris Concert Hall, downtown Aspen. Information: 970-925-9042 or aspenmusicfestival.com.

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