Wheeler Aspen Opera House

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Wheeler Opera House

The Wheeler Opera House has served as the "art and soul of Aspen" for over a century. A visit to the magnificient, restored theatre just might take your breath away. Read More

  • The Wheeler Opera House, restored to its original Victorian-style splendor, hosts nationally reknowned cultural events and has long stood as the cultural center of the town and region. 
  • Jerome B. Wheeler  funded constuction, which was completed in April 1889, of this historic landmark.
  • Located at 320 W. Hyman Avenue, in downtown Aspen.
  • Box office hours (generally): weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with some weekend hours during peak seasons. Call (970) 920-5770 or visit www.wheeleroperahouse.com for more information about tickets and events.

Overview

Still committed to its founding purpose, Aspen's famous and historic theatre venue, Wheeler Opera House, functions as the heart of the town's ardent cultural community, hosting concerts, movies, festivals, lectures, and community events of all stripes.

History

Businessman and mining investor, Jerome B. Wheeler, one of Aspen's most influential men, commissioned the building of the Opera House with construction occuring from  June 1888 to April 1889. A relic of Colorado's mining boom beginnings, the once "state-of-the-art assembly place," equipped with electricity (brand new technology in those days), served as a stop for traveling musicians and minstrels along the era's "Silver Circuit," which included towns in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. More than one hundred years later, the theatre on the third floor of the Opera House has served as a stage for performances by acclaimed artists, such as James Taylor and Lyle Lovett; for countless theatre productions; and for events in partnership with National Public Radio, National Geographic and the Aspen Institute, among so many other organizations.

Wheeler Opera House, much like the town of Aspen, has suffered periods of "boom" and periods of dormancy brought on by forces of nature and economics. A string of fires, in 1912, damaged the three-story building and left it boarded and unused for decades. The 1940s brought the rebirth of Aspen through resort skiing, and the opera house underwent renovations to make it a functional space for the community. Further renovations happened periodically over the next few decades, the most important of which, in 1984, restored the Opera House to its original Victorian facade.  As property of the City of Aspen for nearly a century, the Wheeler Opera House has been funded, in part, by the local Real Estate Transfer Tax, since 1979. The Wheeler Opera House has a fantastically ornate, Victorian-style theatre with balcony and main level seating (with limited wheelchair accessibility).

Location

The historic building sits on the corner of W. Hyman Avenue and Mill Street, at the south end of the Mill Street Mall, and looks north upon Wagner Park, in downtown Aspen. 

Hours/Seasons

Wheeler Opera House serves as a venue for cultural events, during all four season of the year, and hosts Aspen Music Festival and School's Opera Theatre Program from mid-June to mid-August each year.

Summer 2010 box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Box office hours may vary throughout the year. To contact the venue, please, call (970) 920-5770 or toll-free at (866) 449-0464. For more information, visit www.wheeleroperahouse.com.

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