Monday, March 16, 2015

Mary Garden Rocked The Amphitheatre Before The Beatles

One With Nature: Mary Garden singing at Red Rock
"This week marks the 100th anniversary of touring acts playing live concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver's iconic venue of the West. Shortly after internationally acclaimed opera singer Mary Garden crooned 'Ave Maria' on Stage Rock this week in 1911, she gushed: 'Never in any opera house the world over have I found more perfect acoustic properties.' 'I predict that someday, 20,000 people will assemble there to listen to the world's greatest masterpieces,' she wrote. Garden's sentiment proved prophetic. The dramatic twin fins of monolithic sandstone that harbor a historical record dating back 250 million years have hosted a much shorter but equally inspiring record of musical performances in the past century. 'It makes your hair just stand up when you think about the artists who've been here,' says Erik Dyce, who has shepherded Red Rocks marketing for Denver's Theatres and Arenas Division for the past 23 years. 'This place is a temple. It's overwhelming when the venue overpowers the artist.' Red Rocks has well served Denver, which acquired the venue in 1941 for $50,000 and quickly elevated the 868-acre park and venue to its crown jewel in an already impressive trove of mountain parks. Culturally and financially, Red Rocks plays an important role for the city, contributing $1.85 million in tax revenue last year. This week, Denver leaders merged the Theatres and Arenas Division, of which Red Rocks is a part, with the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, saving Denver's strapped general fund $1.2 million a year." [Source] For more information about The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Jethro Tull, The Carpenters, Jimi Hendrix, and many more that have performed throughout the history of Red Rocks, click here. Scottish-American soprano Mary Garden's setlist for May 10, 1911, included "Ave Maria" and "Annie Laurie." Learn more about the soprano and her singing, after the jump.
The Red Rocks Amphitheater as it appears today for Rock and Jazz concerts in Colorado.