Colorado’s opera legacy dates back to the mining boom of the late 1800s, when opera houses popped up in mountain towns to entertain the throngs of prospectors setting up camp. In the ensuing decades, dozens of such venues—and their respective companies—were founded, and still stand today. Revel amid these historic venues this summer, when festivals bring out the best of the best. Ball gowns and tiny binoculars are optional.

1. Central City Opera

Central City Opera’s annual summer festival—which purports to be the second-oldest summer opera program in the country—kicks off on June 28 with the Marriage of Figaro. Can’t make it to the mountains? The company brings the show to Denver, with the Sound of Music from August 2 to 10 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

2. Aspen Music Festival

The esteemed Aspen Opera Theater lends booming voices to the Aspen Music Festival’s 65th season, starting with Tchaikovsky’s romantic classic Eugene Onegin on July 10 at the Wheeler Opera House.

3. Crested Butte Music Festival

Works by Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi—two of opera’s most seminal figures—come to life during the Crested Butte Music Festival’s summer opera performances. See it at the Center for the Arts Crested Butte beginning July 12.

Image courtesy of Central City Opera