Opera House: An Evening with Judy Collins, 8/25

Opera House: An Evening with Judy Collins, 8/25

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation presents an evening with Grammy-Award winning folk legend Judy Collins at the Sheridan Opera House, Saturday, August 25. Doors open at 7 p.m.; show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $35, $40 and $45 reserved seats at sheridanoperahouse.com or by calling 970-728-6363 ext. 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“Creativity,” said Collins in an interview several years ago,” is a voice that calls us from dreams, that peeks out the corners of our eyes when we think no one is looking, the longing that breaks our hearts even when we think we should be happiest and to which we cannot give a name. When I was young, I heard the voice, the ticking, had the dream, but I didn’t know what it was and felt only the pain, the longing that the voice inside brought me.”

Please scroll down to the bottom of the story to listen to my interview with the legendary Judy Collins.



“Both Sides Now.”

“Chelsea Morning.”

“Norwegian Wood.”

Someday Soon.”

“Send in the Clowns.”

“A Little Night Music.”

And more Sondheim.

When she performed at the iconic Cafe Carlyle in New York in 2016, Judy Collins brought top critic Stephen Holden of the New York Times to his knees:

“It’s almost unheard-of for a pop soprano in her 70s to surpass her younger self in stamina, precision of intonation and vocal command. But that was what Judy Collins, 77, did at Thursday’s opening-night show of her latest engagement at Café Carlyle. The evening was particularly intense because of the death of her friend Leonard Cohen, which she only acknowledged after a performance that culminated with a somber rendition of his love song “Suzanne.” Her 1966 recording put him on the songwriting map.

“With her lunar sliver of a voice, there is little room for slippage because Ms. Collins has so few overtones to cushion and absorb tonal deviations. If the singing isn’t consistently on the note, her angelic perfection is compromised. The enjoyment of watching her is tinged with the same anxiety you feel while watching an Olympic gymnast execute a challenging routine that could be ruined by a less-than-perfect landing. On Tuesday there wasn’t a single misstep…”

We anticipate more of the same when Judy Collins returns to the stage of the historic Sheridan Opera House after to one-year hiatius, where the jewel box of a venue’s near perfect acoustics will complement the singer-songwriter’s D-flawless soprano, allowing those legendary chops to shine their brightest.

Just imagine if Baccarat crystal could sing.

Or a Colorado high mountain spring.

Or the sky after a cold front has passed through.

Just imagine.

Or show up at Collin’s Opera House concert and become a believer.

At 78, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter remains fearless. If past is prologue, Collins’s will again take on all comers from a deep and wide set list filled with indelibly beautiful and undoubtedly challenging chestnuts.

Judy Collins is woman. Hear her soar.

In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Now, after 50+ albums over five decades, the crystalline voice has lost none of its legendary clarity.

Judy Collins still sings like an angel.

Her vocal interpretations continue to inspire millions; her poetry remains timeless.

Collins is esteemed for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, was entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Collins’ dreamy, intimate version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical “A Little Night Music,” won “Song of the Year” at the 1975 Grammy Awards.

She garnered several Top Ten hits, gold- and platinum-selling albums. Relatively recently, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, and the dearly departed Leonard Cohen honored Collins’ legacy with the album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.

Judy Collins began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy, dazzling audiences performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” but the hard-luck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Now her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics, but the focus and regimented practice of classical music would remain a source of strength as Judy navigated the highs and lows of the music business.

In 1961, Collins released her masterful debut, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, which featured interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. That began a wonderfully fertile 35-year creative relationship with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. Around the same time, she became a tastemaker within the thriving Greenwich Village folk community and brought other singer-songwriters to a wider audience, including poet/musician Leonard Cohen, plus Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman.

Throughout the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and right up to the present, Collins has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with critically acclaimed albums, while balancing a robust touring schedule.

Prolific as ever, just last year Collins recorded a DVD special Judy Collins: A Love Letter To Stephen Sondheim, in her hometown of Denver, CO. Along with the Greely Philharmonic Orchestra, she dazzled the audience with Sondheim’s beautiful songs and her lovely, radiant voice.

Collins also released a collaborative album in 2016, Silver Skies Blue, with writing partner, Ari Hest. Silver Skies Blue was Grammy-nominated for Best Folk Album in 2017, the first Grammy nomination for Collins in over 40 years.

In 2015, Judy released her first studio album in four years, Strangers Again, inviting a cast of icons and young talents to sing with her on that fresh collection, from Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne and Jeff Bridges to Glen Hansard, Ari Hest and Bhi Bhiman.

In 2012, she released the CD/DVD Judy Collins Live At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, which aired on PBS.

It would certainly be enough if Judy Collins was just a singer/songwriter or a political activist, but there’s more.

The lady is also a painter and published author.

Released by Tarcher/Penguin in 2003, Judy’s “Sanity and Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival and Strength,” is a deeply moving memoir focusing on the death of her only son and the healing process following the tragedy.

For her memoir, “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music,” Collins reached deeply inside and, with unflinching candor, recalls her turbulent childhood, extraordinary rise to fame, her romance with Stephen Stills, her epic victories over depression and alcoholism, and her redemption through embracing a healthy and stable lifestyle and finding true love with Louis Nelson, her partner of 30 years.

Released in 2017, “Cravings” is a no-holds barred account of the artist’s harrowing struggle with compulsive overeating and the journey that led to a solution.

In addition, Collins remains a social activist, representing UNICEF and numerous other causes. She is the director (along with Jill Godmillow) of an Academy Award-nominated film about Antonia Brico ,“Portrait of a Woman,” the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world–and Collins’ classical piano teacher when she was young.

Now 78, Judy Collins is as creatively vigorous as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent.

The modern-day Renaissance woman is also an accomplished painter, filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and  in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention.

Judy Collins continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

For more, listen to her podcast.

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