Backed by 45 years of singing and songwriting success, more than 40 albums, and multiple Grammy nominations, Judy Collins performs for Denver with the haunting, graceful tones and soothing, meditative melodies that continually set her folk lyrics apart from the rest. Collins' 2005 release Portrait of an American Girl has been touted by critics as a nostalgic trip back to the idealistic era of the 1960s. Sat 8 p.m., Paramount Theatre, 1631 Glenarm Pl. Tickets $35-$45. For tickets, call 303-830-TIXS or visit www.ticketmaster.com . English Croonin'
David Gray rocks the audience with his emotionally intense lyrics, blending melancholy strains with a high-energy stage presence for a compelling performance. (Aqualung opens the show with a slightly more upbeat tone.) Gray was the first artist Dave Matthews signed under his own record label, ATO Records, following the success of Gray's fourth album, White Ladder. Don't miss tunes from his newest release, Life in Slow Motion. Mon 7:30 p.m., Colorado Convention Center Lecture Hall, 700 14th St. Tickets $32.50-$42.50. For tickets, call 303-830-TIXS or visit www.ticketmaster.com . Bluegrass Jams
Head to the high country for some fiddling festivities and wilderness luxury at Devil's Thumb Ranch, where Grammy Award-winner Tim O'Brien headlines the resort's first-ever live concert. O'Brien's West Virginia upbringing, his teenage years in Nashville, and his instrumental part in the founding of 1970s Colorado bluegrass band Hot Rize account for his unbeatable acoustic tunes. His 2005 album Fiddler's Green is an intimate and thoughtful lineup of traditional folk and bluegrass melodies-perfect for that cozy ranch weekend to follow the show. Thu 7:00 p.m., Devil's Thumb Ranch, 3530 County Road 83, Tabernash. Tickets $15-$18. Advanced purchase recommended. Tickets available at Singin' Dog CDs in Winter Park or Ranch House Restaurant at Devil's Thumb Ranch. For more information, visit www.devilsthumbranch.com . African Rhythms
Children of Uganda, a group of 20 children who have lost parents to AIDS or war in their home country, brings the stirring beat of East African music and dance to Colorado. With lyrical flutes, powerful drums, and songs of joy and hope, the children perform to raise funds for orphans still struggling in Uganda. A free lecture about the performance will be held at 6:30 p.m. Stay after the show for an interactive discussion led by the children. Sat 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Gates Hall, University of Denver, 2344 East Iliff Ave. Tickets $20-$35. For tickets, call 303-871-7720 or 303-357-ARTS, or visit www.ticketmaster.com . Intro to Opera
Central City Opera and Opera Colorado join forces for a special "Opera 101" evening in honor of Mozart's 250th birthday, featuring previews of two Mozart operas to be performed in full later in the season. Excerpts from Don Giovanni and The Abduction from the Seraglio (a comic opera about Turks who kidnap a Spanish noblewoman) will be presented with lectures about the Mozart-ian creative processes behind them. Attendees can enter to win two free tickets to both operas. Besides, what could be better than birthday hats and cupcakes at the opera? Tue 7 p.m. Denver Central Library, 10 W 14th Avenue Pkwy. Free. For more information, visit www.centralcityopera.org  or www.operacolorado.org .