THRILLS

Saturday March 4 This is the modern world: The gray castle known as the Denver Art Museum took a giant leap this week when new architecture, design and graphics galleries opened and modern and contemporary collections found new homes at the ever-expanding location at 100 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy. The design installation now ranks among the country's largest, representing stylistic movements of the past 250 years, while the reconfigured Stanton Gallery now houses Options: 1, an exhibition from the museum's twentieth-century collection. In addition, the newly opened Close Range Gallery spotlights important regional artists. As always, museum admission is free from 10 to 5 Saturdays--what better way to see what's new? For information call 640-2793.

All the muses that fit: Have you ever put yourself into the shoes of a music teacher? They bravely accept all the sour notes and unpracticed melodies with a smile and a grain of encouragement--but what do they do when the students leave? Find out tonight at 8 at the Swallow Hill Teachers Concert when the music association's faithful crew of instrumental know-it-alls get to show what they can do. The teachers will trot out a dizzying selection of genres, riffs and runs at the Cameron Church, 1600 S. Pearl St. Admission to the once-a-year concert is $13 ($11 members); call 777-1003.

Sunday March 5 The hot Rockwells: Small-town America never had a better champion than nostalgic illustrator Norman Rockwell, whose sentimental scenes graced mid-century covers of The Saturday Evening Post and other magazines. A collection of archival works--limited-edition lithographs and collotypes--not available for viewing since before Rockwell died in 1978 can now be seen at the Circle Gallery, 221 Detroit St., where they'll hang through March 19. Collectors and the soft-hearted can call Circle 377-8706 for gallery hours or further information.

Monday March 6 From the hands of babes: Artistic youngsters in China no longer stick to the traditional and austere Asian black-ink techniques--just take a look at Reflections of a Changing China: Children's Art From the People's Republic of China, a new exhibit opening today at the Goodson Recreation Center, 6315 S. University Blvd. It bursts with color. And rather than being limited to natural themes, the show's subject matter ranges from popular Chinese cartoon characters to the same ubiquitous television sets and electronic toys that captivate our own capitalist Western tykes. Visit the center from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays or 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends; the exhibition, sponsored by the Asian Coordinating Council, continues through April 3.

Tuesday March 7 Take a diva: Opera Colorado opens its season with a splash, marked by the return of soprano Elizabeth Holleque, who wowed 'em in last year's Madama Butterfly. This year, the silver-piped Holleque takes the helm in Puccini's Tosca, playing Floria Tosca--a role she'll reprise opposite Luciano Pavarotti at the Met not long after her Denver appearances are over. Performances continue tonight and March 10 at 8 p.m., and at 2 p.m. March 12 in the Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis in the Plex. Ticket prices range from $15 to $116; reserve seats by calling 830-TIXS or 98-

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