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Classical music for the waning winter and coming spring

By: DAVID SCKOLNIK Special to The Gazette
February 20, 2014 Updated: February 20, 2014 at 10:10 am
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Believe it or not, winter will soon begin to lose its grip upon us. While we are waiting for blossoms and greenery to fill our eyes and the fragrance of life to awake around us, here are a few possibilities to help bridge the gap to the promise of spring.

"Lakme," by Leo Delibes, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1 and 2, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, Armstrong Theatre, Colorado College, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., $25-$35; 1-719-646-3127, operatheatreoftherockies.org

Box office opera be damned! Displaying an impressive ability to turn on an artistic dime, our regional opera company changes up their equation in a big way in late winter. The company takes on an exotic opera that while well-known for its popular moments ("Flower Duet" and "Bell Song"), it doesn't show up on anyone's Top 100 list. The Pikes Peak Center has also been eschewed in favor of the intimacy inherent with Colorado College's Armstrong Theatre.

“Watkins Plays Elgar," 7:30 p.m. March 14-15 and 2:30 p.m. March 16, Colorado Symphony, Boettcher Concert, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 14th and Champa streets, $20- $83; 1-877-292-7979, coloradosymphony.org

The real attraction here is to watch the symphony's internationally renowned music director, Andrew Litton, strut his stuff. The program offers Tchaikovsky's ever-popular music from "The Sleeping Beauty" ballet, the chance to hear a great cellist, Paul Watkins, play Elgar's great concerto, and a stunning orchestra piece, Prokofiev's 4th Symphony, which is so rarely performed by American orchestras.

“Tchaikovsky’s Shakespeare,” 8 p.m. March 15, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $19-$55; 520-7469, pikespeakcenter.com

It's time to start referring to Thomas Wilson as a community treasure. Here, he has authored an entire program around Tchaikovsky tone poems that magnify Shakespearean greats: "Hamlet," "The Tempest" and "Romeo and Juliet." Wilson's multimedia concept will add greater appreciation and enjoyment of his musical subjects and, once again, is likely to surpass the pre-packaged "Beyond the Score" Chicago Symphony presentations that the philharmonic continues to program.

“Rigoletto,” by Verdi, 7:30 p.m. March 15, 18, 21 and 2 p.m. March 13, Opera Colorado, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 14th and Champa Streets; $27.60-$127.60; 1-303-468-2030, operacolorado.org

Thanks to a successful 11th-hour fund drive, Denver's Opera Colorado will live to see another day. Not so much Gilda however. The doomed soprano, played by the up and coming Rachele Gilmore, will be led astray by the men in her life in the company's new production of Rigoletto, featuring celebrated baritone Gordon Hawkins in the title role and top tenor Rene Barbera as the ultra sleezy Duke of Mantua. Opera legend Bernard Uzan is putting the production together.

DAVID SCKOLNIK, Special to The Gazette

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