AN OPERA PLAYLIST FOR COLORADO NATIONAL PARKS

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Blue sky above a row of blue-gray mountains in the background, with abundant evergreen trees in the foreground.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Source: National Park Foundation

By: Angelica DiIorio

Many Coloradans love exploring the great outdoors. We have some music recommendations for your summer adventures inspired by the national parks of Colorado. These arias provide a wonderful soundtrack for any hike, run, or walk. Enjoy the sounds of our 40th Anniversary Season, with songs chosen specifically for your park of choice!

BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK

Sunlight begins to illuminate the immense dark of Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Source: National Park Foundation

Black Canyon of the Gunnison has an eerie quality as you walk through the narrow passage between the blue-tinted rock walls. It feels haunting but beautiful, much like the music in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt. This opera deals with grief and denial. It follows Paul, who finds new hope when he meets Marietta, the mirror image of his late wife, Marie. Paul is trapped in sorrow but catches glimpses of light in the distance—much like walking through a canyon.

“GLÜCK, DAS MIR YERBLIED” FROM KORNGOLD’S DIE TOTE STADT

The aria “Glück, das mir verblieb,” meaning “Joy, That near to Me Remains,” sings of how death cannot separate Paul and Marie’s love. As they said in WandaVision, “What is grief, if not love persevering?” Play this lush and melancholy melody when you need to take some time for yourself to clear your head.

COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT

Green scrub trees cover the foreground before a wide canyon open up below a bright blue sky.
Colorado National Monument
Source: National Park Foundation

Dramatic, opulent, and larger-than-life. The Colorado National Monument is a fantastic display of many unique geological structures. Similarly, Turandot has a breathtaking quality with incredible sets, a large chorus, and many fantastical elements.

“GIRA LA COTE! GIRA!” FROM PUCCINI’S TURANDOT

Listen to “Gira la cote! Gira!” to experience the grandiose scale of this opera in a song where the townspeople gather to see what the fearsome Princess Turandot will do next during her terrifying reign.

GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK

A spectaular starlight night sky fills the image above the black of the dunes at night.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Source: National Park Foundation

“Nessun Dorma” is one of the western canon’s most famous tenor arias. When Calàf sings “Nessun Dorma” in Turandot, he is waiting for the night to pass under a starry sky. After solving three riddles to win Princess Turandot’s hand, Calàf challenges her to discover his name before the night ends. It can be difficult to see stars if you live close to a city, so an International Dark Sky Park like the Great Sand Dunes is the perfect place to channel your inner Calàf.

“NESSUN DORMA” FROM PUCCINI’S TURANDOT

As you listen to this aria, think of staring up at a celestial sky and waiting for love to come.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

Bright greens, yellows, and white color a subalpine view of the park below a blue sky.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Source: National Park Foundation

Even if you do not live in Colorado, you have probably heard of the Rocky Mountains. Rocky Mountain National Park is a favorite destination spot among hikers and “La donna è mobile,” sung by the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, is a favorite aria among opera lovers. You have probably heard this melody before, like in a pasta sauce commercial, and now you know its source.

“LA DONNA È MOBILE” FROM VERDI’S RIGOLETTO

Listen to this aria the next time you feel “mobile,” and its energy will keep you running up that hill!


Whether you are listening to these songs as you explore a national park, summit a fourteener, or take a walk around your neighborhood, we hope you enjoy the sounds of our 40th Anniversary Season!

Want to hear these songs performed live? Join us for Rigoletto, Die tote Stadt, and Turandot this season>>

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