Central City Opera House

Central City Opera House
The Central City Opera House is home to the nation's fifth-oldest opera company. | Photo by sfgamchick / flickr

Staff writer

Welsh and Cornish miners built the charming Central City Opera House in 1878, a touch of class for the town reputed to be “the richest square mile on earth.”

Now a National Historic Landmark, the opera house was designed by Denver architect Robert Roeschlaub and artist John Massman filled the interior with trompe l’oeil murals.

The opera house drew crowds for musical and theatrical events. P.T. Barnum’s circus performed there, as did Buffalo Bill Cody, Oscar Wilde and Harry Houdini.

However, reflecting the failing fortunes of the town itself, the opera house was shut down not long after its opening.

In 1929, preservationists from Denver united in a volunteer effort to restore the building to life. In 1932, a cast led by Lillian Gish celebrated the renewal with a performance of “Camille.”

Summer festivals with guest performers joining the 75-year-old Central City Opera Company continue to draw audiences up the mountain. The building was again renewed in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1999, to the relief of regular patrons, the original wooden seats were replaced by padded ones.

Central City Opera House
124 Eureka St
Central City CO 80427

Administrative offices and box office
400 S. Colorado Blvd, Suite 530
Denver CO 80246
(303) 292-6700