Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit Opera House

The original Detroit Opera House was located on Campus Martius Park and opened in 1869. It succumbed to fire in 1897 and was rebuilt the following year. The current Detroit Opera House opened on January 22, 1922. Prolific Detroit theatre architect C. Howard Crane designed the Italian Renaissance style building. Crane was also responsible for The Fillmore, Fox Theater and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Orchestra Hall – known for its acoustic perfection. Restored in 1996, the present Detroit Opera House at 1526 Broadway Street was originally known as the Capitol Theatre, built in 1922. It was among the first of several performance venues built around Detroit's Grand Circus Park, and was known as Detroit’s first true movie palace. When it opened, the theater was the fifth largest in the United States, seating up to 3,500 people. The Capitol Theater's name changed to the Paramount Theater in 1929, and changed again in 1934 to become the Broadway Capitol Theater.

Artists who performed in the building's first few decades included jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Following a minor restoration in the 1960s, the building became the 3,367 seat Grand Circus Theatre. After a series of closures and re-openings throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was forced to close in 1985 after a fire, and was neglected for several years. The Michigan Opera Theater revived the historic Grand Circus Theatre name in 1988; however, the name quickly changed again to its present name as the Detroit Opera House, when the Michigan Opera Theatre bought the Grand Circus Theatre and made it their permanent home.

After its extensive restoration in the mid-1990s under the supervision of Michigan Opera Theatre general director Dr. David DiChiera, the present Detroit Opera House reopened. The theatre marked the occasion with a star-studded gala featuring Luciano Pavarotti. The Detroit Opera House is now configured with seating for 2,700, and is still the home to the Michigan Opera Theatre.



Detroit Opera House postcard

Program for "Mr. Henry Miller" at the Detroit Opera House

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