With Coldplay, New Kids on the Block, and Madonna all playing Denver this month, deciding where to spend the concert budget is almost trickier than finding tickets. But Coldplay played Denver back in 2006, and the New Kids on the Block are hardly the teen heartthrobs they were. Madonna wins our pick for concert of the month; not only did her new album, Hard Candy, hit the top of music charts across the world, but her two-day Denver appearance is her first ever in Colorado. Madonna: Nov. 11-12, Pepsi Center.
A busted carriage wheel landed Ernest L. Blumenschein, a Pittsburgh boy, in northern New Mexico in 1897. Stranded in the arid land, Blumenschein got out his sketchbook and began to draw. The West inspired his imagination, and once his wheel was fixed Blumenschein settled in Taos, founding the Taos Society of Artists and crafting deeply colorful paintings of Western towns, Pueblo Indians, and rocky landscapes. Blumenschein died in 1960, but this month, in his memory, the Denver Art Museum shows the largest, most comprehensive collection ever of the acclaimed modernist's work. In Contemporary Rhythm: Nov. 8-Feb. 8, Denver Art Museum.
Union Station doesn't flip the switch on its holiday lights until later this month, and the Parade of Lights won't wind through downtown until December. Which means that, for early-season holiday reveling, you'll have to head south to the Vistas at Park Meadows. The second weekend of November, this new shopping district kicks off the season with a Fire and Ice Spectacular—Cirque du Soleil-style ice skating performances (think fire jugglers and acrobats on skates). Stick around post-performance for carriage rides and brillant fireworks. Fire and Ice Spectacular: Nov. 8, The Vistas at Park Meadows, Lone Tree.
In honor of its 25th anniversary, Opera Colorado opens its season with one of America's most-beloved and frequently performed operas, Madama Butterfly. The early-20th century tale tells the story of a Japanese geisha, Butterfly, who, as a part of a real estate deal, is wed to a flighty American sailor. Pinkerton, the sailor, sees the marriage as little more than a contractual deal, and he eventually returns to the United States and remarries—a move that crumbles Butterfly's perception of love and devotion. To tell this heart-wrenching story, Opera Colorado has enlisted some of the industry's greatest contemporary talents. In her fourth U.S. appearance, Romanian soprano Adina Nitescu sings the role of Butterfly; award-winning American tenor Michael Fabiano plays Pinkerton, and San Francisco Opera director Ron Daniels sets the stage's authentic Japanese air. Madama Butterfly: Nov. 8-16, Ellie Caulkins Opera House.