A Day at the Opera
As overcome as I was by responsibilities and commitments in 2016, I found several ways to enjoy stepping back into Colorado history. As usual, my quest into the past took me to some unexpected places. For instance, how did a dedicated rock ‘n roll Chicago gal and guy end up spending a July afternoon at the opera? It was not an ordinary opera, and not just any venue. It was the 60th Anniversary production of The Legend of Baby Doe Tabor, composed by Douglas Moore in 1956 when it premiered at the Central City Opera House.
We found ourselves in the middle of Central City’s historic mining district, entering the majestic Central City Opera House. The stone walls are three feet thick, creating some interesting temperature holding patterns. The seats are narrow by modern standards, a discomfort to some people. Despite all that, we acquired seats one row from the orchestra pit with an unsullied view of all that transpired on stage. This broke our longstanding bad luck streak of seeking allusive prime seats for concerts at Red Rocks, Fiddler’s Green, and the Pepsi Center. We never seemed to avoid the faraway nosebleed section, or the woman in the fringe jacket dancing in front of us, obstructing the show. This was our day. We would let nothing interfere with our enjoyment of this opera.
Prior to entering the opera house, we attended an informal presentation about the evolution and storyline of the production. I sat spellbound as the story unfolded. My original inclination was to compare their version with my award-winning biography, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen. After about ten minutes, I let that go. As the producer pointed out, the story was embellished to facilitate a production portraying the feelings, emotions, and atmosphere of people and places from Colorado’s mining past.
Modern technology provided visual elegance on an otherwise bleak backdrop, such as images of lazily falling snowflakes created from projected lighting as elderly Baby Doe dressed in rags struggled through a blizzard to reach her cabin. Costumes were remarkable. The orchestra was adept and never let up nor dropped a note. And the singing. Oh my. It was superb. The majesty and elegance of all elements combined to create a stunning visual effect within a riveting emotional tale. I was afraid to blink so I would not miss one moment of this transcendent live performance. By the time Horace Tabor died in his beloved Baby Doe’s arms, I was a wreck. Tears streamed down my face, which is not my usual style. My hubby was not quite as enraptured, but he was mighty impressed. Bravo!