The festive evening of Dec. 14 celebrated the start of a new partnership between Opera Colorado and the City of Englewood, as the more-than-30-year-old opera company invited guests to visit its new administrative office and rehearsal facility at 4121 S. Navajo St. (west of the new Oxford Station apartments).
Englewood Mayor Joe Jefferson happily sliced through the yellow satin ribbon, held across the doorway that separates the two parts of the 7,000-square-foot, 1930s industrial warehouse.
He said “this takes us to a whole new level — the success of nonprofits is our success,” citing Englewood’s long cooperation with the Museum Outdoor Arts. Many in the community thought the interesting structure would be scraped for more apartments, he noted.
Development was completed in late 2016 by Brue Baukol Capital Partners, in partnership with Littleton Capital Partners, who have won awards in Littleton for careful renovation of several historic buildings.
The Opera Center stands between apartments and the railroad, ready for a new life.
Greg Carpenter, General Director of Opera Colorado, said this was the fulfillment of a 10-year vision. Board Chairman Kevin O’Connor spoke about how very helpful the City of Englewood’s manager and staff were in working with tax credits and expediting the permitting process so the old building could be retrofitted for its new role. Speed was needed since the company’s lease at its former Belcaro site was up.
The opera’s business office was housed in the Oxford Station apartment complex for several months, while the new space was designed and built out.
Because of the excellent natural light, all office walls and doors are clear glass. The main entrance is at the north end of the building, which is reached by driving through the road separating the apartment units.
It features “beautiful natural light, exposed brick and a bow-shaped truss ceiling,” according to Opera Colorado’s Tamara Vallejos.
She said the staff is really happy with the light after many years in a basement office.
Rehearsals have been held at the Loft at Ellie Caulkins Opera House in downtown Denver, where Opera Colorado usually performs. Now artists can ride the light rail to Oxford Station and enjoy the spacious south part of the new Opera Center, devoted to rehearsal use.
Opera Colorado’s next production is a world premiere of “Steal a Pencil for Me,” which will be presented Jan. 25 to 30 at the Wolf Theatre, Mizel Arts and Culture Center at the Jewish Community Center, 350 S. Dahlia St., Denver.
We visited briefly with Sahar Nouri, Opera Colorado’s chorus master and repetiteur, who talked about the dramatic story of a couple, Jaap and Ina Polak, Dutch Jews who escaped the Holocaust, surviving imprisonment at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Tickets are available at operacolorado.org.