By Priscilla Rodriguez and Alexandra Fradelizio | m/Oppenheim Media Writers
If you’ve ever been to Boulder, Colorado, or have ever heard of the city, then you’re probably aware that its mountains, rivers, and outdoor beauty are a huge part of what ranked Boulder as one of the ‘happiest cities’ in the United States. But one of the region’s lesser-known strengths is its vivid arts community.
In fact, Boulder was also named one of the nation’s ‘most artistic towns’ by a travel giant, Expedia, and the city has one of the highest concentrations of artists in the U.S.
In 2012, these elements made for a perfect setting for Boulder Opera Company, a local nonprofit that has worked for the last six years to make the ancient art form of opera more accessible to Boulder’s diverse audiences.
“We transform big works and cut them into shows of under an hour to make them accessible to young children and families,” says Dianela Acosta, Executive Artistic Director and Founder of Boulder Opera.
Traditionally, opera productions can cost hundreds of dollars for patrons and can run for several hours, making shows unattainable for many individuals and families alike. But through Boulder Opera, families can access abridged, professional productions of standard and lesser-known operas for about $20, depending on the season, with discounts for students.
When Acosta first moved to Boulder from New York, she noticed that opera was not readily available to the families of the region, and she set out to establish the Boulder Opera Company with one goal in mind: to expand the audiences that can enjoy opera.
Over the years, Boulder Opera has worked with different communities across Colorado to put on both abridged and full-length productions that speak to (and often involve) children, youth, and local musicians. The organization also offers affordable workshops for schools to teach children the creative process of putting together an opera of their own. Opera can be a challenging art form to be exposed to as a child if you have no preliminary understanding of it, but Boulder Opera’s fresh approach makes opera enjoyable for everyone who is new to the art form.
Though the organization is still relatively young, Acosta says the company has done a great job in reaching audiences of all ages and backgrounds, from preschoolers to elders across Colorado. But one obstacle that comes with these early stages for any nonprofit is visibility.
“There are a lot of people who still don’t know us,” says Acosta.
“We are still building awareness that there is an opera company here in town and even though we’ve been around for six years, some people don’t know Boulder has an opera company.”
Of course, not knowing that this gem of an organization exists in the center of one of the most artistic cities in the country is an educational and cultural opportunity lost for anyone in the region. As the company continues to create quality productions, Acosta and the rest of the Boulder Opera team hope new audiences can become inspired and entertained by the classical art form.