The Takács Quartet performs at the CU Boulder April 28-29. (Amanda Tipton, provided by the Takács Quartet.)
Colorado’s classical music-makers saved their best for last this season. Before they slow down for summer, the region’s top ensembles, opera companies, choral groups and presenters are staging concerts that bring elegance, creativity and a new attitude to their usual late-season offerings. The schedule is high-quality, across genres, and full of moments to seize.
1. The Takács Quartet, University of Colorado, Boulder, April 28-29
The Takács Quartet may be Colorado’s only truly international classical music ensemble and it is, for many folks, its very best. The Grammy-winning quartet performs at its home base in Boulder just a week before heading off on a European tour with stops in Spain, Germany and the U.K., taking along its newest member, violinist Harumi Rhodes. The program is particularly enticing with Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven on the list.
The concerts take place at Grusin Music Hall, Imig Music Building, 1020 18th St., Boulder. Info and tickets at 303-492-8008 or cupresents.org.
2. “Signor Deluso” and “Cavalleria Rusticana,” Boulder Opera, May 3-12
The Boulder Opera has been around since 2012 but it remains an adventurous and agile company by offering up unusual combinations of standard and unexpected fare. This double bill of short works is a good example, pairing Pietro Mascagni’s well-known 1890 masterpiece “Cavalleria Rusticana” alongside “Signor Deluso,” composed by Thomas Pasatieri in 1974. One’s in English with piano accompaniment; the other in Italian with a string quartet. It’s a variety show, really, and definitely different.
Boulder Opera performs at The Nomad Playhouse, 1410 Quince Ave., Boulder. Info and tickets at boulderoperacompany.com.
3. Duke Ellington’s “Sacred Concert,” Montview Presbyterian Church, May 5
Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church celebrates its own history with a special afternoon presentation of Duke Ellington’s “Sacred Concert,” commemorating the moment, 50 years ago, when Ellington brought his big band to Denver for two concerts with the Montview Westminster Choir. Several members of the choir who sang with Ellington will perform at the event, pulled together by Montview’s current music minister, Adam Waite. The event is sentimental, for sure, but the music is timeless.
Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church is at 1980 Dahlia St. The concert is free, but you can make a donation. Info at montview.org.
4. “The Marriage of Figaro,” Opera Colorado, May 4-12
Stage director Matthew Ozawa works with the cast of “The Marriage of Figaro,” the latest production from Opera Colorado. (Kelly Maxwell, provided by Opera Colorado)
Mozart wrote the “The Marriage of Figaro” in 1786, and somehow it’s managed to stay on the classical music charts for most of that time. It always ranks high in top 10 lists of the most performed operas in the world. Why? There’s the music, of course, but also librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte’s story, which is actually funny, even after all these years. Opera Colorado’s production should make the most of its best assets, directed by Matthew Ozawa and starring soprano Maureen McKay as the beleaguered Susanna. Music director Ari Pelto conducts.
Opera Colorado performs at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Info and tickets at 303-468-2030 or operacolorado.org.
5. Colorado Mahlerfest, May 15-19
Colorado’s Mahlerfest continues to grow excitement around its annual exploration of Mahler and his legacy in classical music. This year’s lineup is particularly insightful, and quite clever, as concocted by artistic director Kenneth Woods. Hear the music of Mahler’s influences, like Beethoven, and those he influenced, like Britten, Bruckner and Korngold — and, of course, a few compositions from the man himself, including a new critical edition of his Symphony No. 1. There’s also a day-long symposium for folks who want to go really deep.
Mahlerfest takes place at various venues in Boulder. There’s a schedule and info on tickets at mahlerfest.org.
6. Altius Quartet, Clyfford Still Museum, May 12
The Altius Quartet performs at the Clyfford Still Museum May 12. (Provided by Altius Quartet)
The lobby of the concrete art temple known as the Clyfford Still Museum doubles as one of the best music rooms in town and concerts there manage to be both solemn and special. And the lineup for its “Music in the Galleries” series, co-presented with Friends of Chamber Music and Swallow Hill, are unfailingly top-notch. This upcoming Altius Quartet show is full of promise: a quiet afternoon, super talented players and all that abstract expressionism on the second level just waiting to be explored.
The concert takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock St. Info at 720-354-4880 or clyffordstillmuseum.org.
7. Andrea Bocelli, Pepsi Center, June 21
Andrea Bocelli just won’t quit. In an era when crossover classical stars are fading, he just seems to get bigger and brighter. His 2018 album “Si” was perhaps the most popular of his career, making its way to the top of the Billboard record charts. This performance is his first stop in Denver in five years. Expect a blend of big-bang arias and a bit of pop. The Colorado Symphony plays backup.
The concert takes place at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle. Tickets and info at altitudetickets.com.
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