Detroit Opera House

The Detroit Opera House is an opera house located in Detroit, Michigan. It is the venue for all Michigan Opera Theatre productions and it hosts a variety of other events. It opened on January 22, 1922.

The building is located at 1526 Broadway Street and was originally designed by C. Howard Crane, having created other prominent Detroit theaters such as The Fillmore Detroit, Fox Theater and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Orchestra Hall, the latter noted for its acoustic perfection.

History

Over the years, opera has been presented at a variety of venues in Detroit - the Old Detroit Opera House (1869–1963) at Campus Martius, the Whitney Grand Opera House (Garrick Theatre) at Griswold and Michigan avenues, and the New Detroit Opera House (1886–1928) at Randolph and Monroe streets. The Nederlander Organization, a major theatrical producer, began in Detroit with a 99-year lease on the Old Detroit Opera House in 1912.

The present Detroit Opera House opened in 1922 and was originally known as the Capitol Theatre. It was among the first of several performance venues built around Detroit's Grand Circus Park. When it opened, the theater was the fifth largest in the world, seating up to 4,250 people. In 1929, the Capitol Theater's name was changed to the Paramount Theater, and in 1934 was changed again, to the Broadway Capitol Theater.

During the first few decades of the building's history, it featured artists such as jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, although at one point the business at the Paramount Theatre had decreased so substantially that in desperation it was converted into a movie theatre, specializing in soft core porn.

Following a minor restoration in the 1960s, the building became the 3,367-seat Grand Circus Theatre. The building was closed in 1978, then reopened in 1981 only to close again in 1985.

In 1988, the Michigan Opera Theatre purchased the building and dubbed it the Detroit Opera House, after an extensive restoration and stage expansion. The reopening in 1996 was celebrated with a gala event featuring Luciano Pavarotti and other noted artists. The Detroit Opera House is now configured with seating for an audience of 2,700. Since 1996, the opera house has annually hosted five opera productions, five dance productions from touring companies, and a variety of other musical and comedy events.

Starting in 2010, the Detroit Opera House has agreed to host a weekly Sunday church service for Triumph Church, a Christian megachurch of Detroit.

Images
  • Old Detroit Opera House in 1906.

Bibliography
  • Eisenstein, Paul (February 1997). Relighting the Footlights: The Detroit Opera House renovation recaptures the golden age of the American stage. Popular Mechanics.
  • Hauser, Michael and Marianne Weldon (2006). Downtown Detroit's Movie Palaces (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-4102-8. 
  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. 
  • Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1651-4. 
  • Sharoff, Robert (2005). American City: Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3270-6. 
  • Sobocinski, Melanie Grunow (2005). Detroit and Rome: building on the past. Regents of the University of Michigan. ISBN 0933691092. 

Media

2 photos

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com