Thrills for the week

Make me an opera: You got your kids tickets to the opera? Now, there's a fairy tale. Perhaps that's why Opera Colorado opted to present Humperdinck's operatic treatment of Hansel and Gretel--because you've got to start them early, or you'll never manage to win the little Metallica disciples over from the dark side. The fully staged production, sung entirely in English, is really for everyone, so bring the family: Tickets for the opera, showing at 2 today and 7:30 February 25 and 27 at the Teikyo Loretto Heights Theater, 3001 S. Federal Blvd., are $30 (student and senior discounts available); call 830-TIXS for advance reservations.

February 24
Food, glorious food: We all like to eat, and we're not about to change. That's why the annual Great Chefs of the West food-and-wine event is one of the easiest fundraisers you'll ever attend. You fork over your admission, then you're ready to forklift the grub right into your mouth. For $65, you'll be treated to a smorgasbord of entrees and desserts from 23 fine metro-area restaurants and caterers, who will offer everything from grilled polenta cakes with sausage to chocolate pancakes with rum sauce tonight from 5:30 to 9 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S. Syracuse St. Now stop drooling and call 713-1523 for reservations, pronto. Then you might consider fasting. Proceeds benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Colorado.

February 25
What hath Garp wrought? Author John Irving won our hearts long ago with his 1978 blockbuster novel The World According to Garp. And fans agree that the same kinds of oddball characters who peopled Garp and ensuing, equally eccentric tomes continue to show up regularly in Irving's newest works--such as the recently published Trying to Save Piggy Snead and work-in-progress A Widow for One Year. The best-selling novelist appears tonight at 7:30 at the Central Library, 14th and Broadway, where he'll speak and read portions from the unfinished piece as guest of the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation. Admission to the talk ranges from $12 to $17; call 640-6192.

You oughta be in pictures: The town hasn't yet settled down from this Motherwell hoopla--and with good reason. Not only is the Denver Art Museum the proud owner of a major acquisition of Motherwell works, but the Robischon Gallery in LoDo continues to exhibit prints by the influential abstract expressionist through mid-March. Appetite whetted, the arts community can now enjoy An Evening of Film About Robert Motherwell, tonight at 7 at the Acoma City Center, 1080 Acoma St., in a former church located a couple of blocks south of the museum. Included on the program are films exploring Motherwell in interviews, the context of the New York School movement of which he was part, and the artist as a printmaker collaborating with poet Rafael Alberti. Tickets for the evening are $5 ($3 students); for details call 623-2349.

For Shaham: Great music is often the focus of CU-Boulder's recurring Artist Series, and tonight's offering follows through with that directive magnificently. Renowned violinist Gil Shaham--born in Illinois and trained in Israel--strikes some classical connoisseurs as a fiddler possessing all the passion and style of a young Itzhak Perlman. When he performs in duet with his 21-year-old sister, pianist Orli Shaham, it's icing on the cake, leaving a brilliant aura around the music that only a tuned-in pair of siblings can produce. The close-knit duo performs in a recital of works by Dvorak, Beethoven and Korngold tonight at 8 at Macky Auditorium, located on the CU-Boulder campus; tickets are $10 to $30. Call 492-8008.

February 26
The smell of the war paint: The Colorado Authors Lecture Series presents authors Jean Afton, David Halaas and Andy Masich, who give a slide-enhanced lecture, Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, tonight at the Colorado History Museum, 1300 Broadway. Offered in conjunction with the museum's current exhibit of the same name, which features a fascinating cache of colored drawings by Cheyenne warriors from around the time of the infamous 1869 battle at Summit Springs, the lecture begins at 7; call 866-4686 for tickets, $5 ($4 Colorado Historical Society members), and reservations.

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