Discover Denver’s Outdoor “Un-Opera,” Missed Connection

Scroll through Craigslist, and you’ll find countless labor-intensive gigs, Persian kittens for sale, unwanted antique dolls, and roommate inquiries. It’s a site for those searching for something, whether that be boat parts or a like-minded community, to discuss bikes.

For some, it’s a place to find that attractive stranger you saw crossing the street, “a missed connection.” Although in the age of swiping through potential interests like purchasing a pair of shoes and stalking- I mean- searching for old classmates on Facebook, missed connections aren’t as standard. Luster Productions brings back the tension of falling in love at first glance and looking for that special someone with an immersive, musical and meditative twist this September. Discover Denver’s outdoor “un-opera,” Missed Connection.

colorful print, woman, lion, text

Photo courtesy of

Set against the picture-perfect sunset in Commons Park, Missed Connection takes its attendees on a journey of operatic storytelling and self-reflective exercise. On their walks during the pandemic, Leah Podzimek, lead producer and cast member, envisioned an opera experience in Commons Park where “audiences could walk and encounter singers along the way.” Thanks to Arts and Venues’ Denver Music Advancement Fund and the Denver Theatre District, Podzimek’s vision is brought to life. 

“Denver has a vibrant, immersive scene, but little involves opera singing. We have talented local singers who are enthusiastic about this type of performance, and opera singing provides a more energetic, emotional connection. It’s important to offer immersive experiences for all audiences and to continue building audiences for opera in all settings,” said Podzimek on the importance of Denver’s “un-opera,” Missed Connection.

The story begins when the audience meets their protagonist, the Seeker, played by Podzimek, who sings their tale of a lost lover with a cheery smile, dreamy words and radiating confidence. It is up to the Seeker’s new friends (the audience) to help them find their missed connection. 

Map of park, cartoon drawings, text, Denver's outdoor un-opera Missed Connection

The Map of Commons Park Given to Attendees

With the help of a map, explore six locations around the park in 90 minutes. Along the way, you will meet four potential suitors, the Lovers, played by Kira Dills-deSurra, Dana Kinney, Jerome Síbulo and Silen Wellington. At each point, you and your group will listen to each Lover’s song, ask questions, and participate in each individual’s activities. The songs not only offer clues but also a chance for self-reflection. You will have the opportunity to hug yourself, show appreciation for Mother Earth, burn your fears to ash and turn inquiries into lyrics because to connect with others, we must connect with ourselves.

Person drawing on sign outside

Photo Courtesy of Leah Podzimek

Once the audience completes the route, they will gather the clues and determine who is the one who got away. The attendees won’t know the gender identity of the Lovers or the sexual orientation of the Seeker. The cast is “comprised of individuals of varying gender identities and sexual orientations who bring their lived experiences to the creation of their role.” It is up to the audience to stay open-minded throughout the experience and base their answers on the clues. With a sweet ending worth the wait, the Seeker joins their Lover in song, creating a romantic and hopeful finale. 

“I hope that attendees have a newfound understanding of how people are drawn to each other and connect, regardless of gender identity, and an interest in exploring opera more at their own pace,” said Podzimek on the takeaway of Missed Connection

Held from September 9-22, the event is a limited-run performance with seven performances. Admission costs $35. Make sure to purchase tickets for Denver’s outdoor “un-opera,” Missed Connection before it sells out!