Before dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble made virtual sparks fly, sweethearts met the old-fashioned way: in person, and often at work. Given the passion involved in creative pursuits, it’s no wonder, then, that several of the Mile High City’s cultural power couples found love on the job. In advance of (arguably) the most romantic holiday of the year, we talked with married musicians, filmmakers, and theater crew members about what it’s like to share your greatest joy with your biggest fan.
Head Over Reels
Amanda & Aaron Kopp
Denver filmmakers Amanda and Aaron Kopp (pictured above) spent eight of their 11 years of marriage creating the 2017 film Liyana, which tells the story of a young Swazi girl who attempts to rescue her twin brothers from kidnappers. “We know we can depend on each other to keep working through the night, but that same passion can also be a problem,” Aaron says. “When we disagree about a creative choice, it can get heated.” The Kopps confess they’re still learning how to fight fair when it comes to their art, but healthy meals out—Potager and Meadowlark Kitchen are two of their favorite date-night spots—help to ease tensions.
All’s Fair in Love and Wagner
Justin & Myroslava Bartels
Principal trumpet player Justin and violinist Myroslava Bartels are one of several married couples in the Colorado Symphony. (Who knew that Beethoven’s Fifth was such a powerful aphrodisiac?) The pair met while studying at an orchestral academy in Miami and bonded over their shared love of horror movies and South Park. When looking for full-time performance work, though, they encountered a problem that many in the arts grapple with: There just aren’t that many jobs. Fortunately, says Myroslava, they don’t play the same instrument, so the competitive duo never had to vie for the same gig. After pingponging around the country, moving to wherever one or the other had an opportunity, in 2008 the couple landed in the Centennial State, where they’ve been busy starting a family and planning visits to the real South Park.
In Good Company
Lisa & Bob Orzolek
As the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ director of scenic design and associate technical director, respectively, Lisa and Bob Orzolek create stunning scenes onstage—a skill they’ve mastered over 27 seasons of working together. But taking time away from their jobs to recharge is key to keeping their partnership exciting, they say. “We make it a priority to not talk about work at home,” Lisa says. The theater does remain a part of their lives even when they’re off the clock, though: The Orzoleks’ poachable Valentine’s Day tradition involves hitting up the Colorado New Play Summit (February 17 to 18 and 23 to 25 this year).