Downtown Denver has changed a lot over the past decade, but one constant has been the stunning exterior (OK, we like the interior, too) of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The venue—home of Opera Colorado and the Colorado Ballet—celebrated its golden birthday on September 10. But the real festivities are going down on Saturday, September 19 at the 10th anniversary party, which doubles as a fund-raiser for Opera Colorado.

The featured event is an hour-and-a-half long concert (starting at 7 p.m.) of opera hits, plus some newer selections, including Jay Hunter Morris performing an aria from the contemporary Moby Dick opera. Supporters will want to get tickets to the whole evening, which includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 p.m., and dinner (by chef Kevin Taylor) and dancing after the show. (Black-tie attire required.)

The Ellie, as it’s known, opened in 2005. Built in 1908, it was previously known as as the Auditorium Theatre. It was named after Eleanor N. “Ellie” Caulkins, an emphatic opera supporter whose affection for the medium began in an “Opera as Drama” class at the University of Colorado at Denver. Its creation gave the Opera a venue with better acoustics and a large enough space that they could scale up the size and scope of productions. Today, the Ellie hosts numerous cultural events, from comedians to lectures to special screenings during the annual Denver Film Festival.

Reflecting on the Ellie’s impact 10 years later, Opera Colorado general director Greg Carpenter says, “I think it’s a great resource to the community. It’s important for a community to have a really fine acoustic hall like the Opera House. It certainly has elevated our stature both in the community and nationally.”

As the city figures out how to better activate this underused performing arts complex, there’s one thing you can be certain of: The Ellie—the area’s youngest building—will remain a beacon for arts lovers in Denver and beyond.

Details: Contact Leah Podzimek at 303-468-2029 to make a reservation for the full evening. Concert-only tickets are $30 to $65 and can be purchased online.

Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at