Boston Opera House

539 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02111

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Showing 51 - 75 of 144 comments

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

ken mc’s 1980 photo is of the Opera House/Savoy Tremont Street entrance. This was a modernized structure dating back to its service as the Tremont St. entrance for the old B.F. Keith/Normandie Theatre in the mid-1890s. Note that there were 2 screens, the main auditorium and a new screen in the stage-house. This structure was later demolished, and then, curiously, rebuilt a few years ago. It has sat vacant and unused since because the Opera House today does not have any means to allow patrons to enter from Tremont St.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I went to the rear of the Opera House (Mason Street) yesterday. The new Emerson College building is finished on the exterior, and it has a recessed loading dock about one truck-length deep from the street. At the north end of this dock there is a large freight door which is perpendicular to the south side wall of the Opera House. I am guessing that this freight door is for loading sets onto the Opera House stage. If that is true, it means that the Opera House’s scene loading door is on someone else’s property, an unusual arrangement.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 18, 2008 at 11:36 am

Boston Lyric Opera stages its shows at the Shubert. There were several shows this year, and more next spring.

bruceanthony on December 18, 2008 at 11:18 am

The Shubert is finally getting a major booking with “Jersey Boys”.brucec

danpetitpas on December 18, 2008 at 11:04 am

I think he’s referring to the Boston Ballet shows. There’s always shows at the Colonial and the Wang. Unfortunately, the Shubert is very under-utilized. There hasn’t been a show there in a year, and the next show is scheduled for July 2009!

Just as a side note: When Clear Channel spun off Live Nation in 2005, Live Nation lost interest in doing anything but concerts. Clear Channel had bought the Boyd Theater in Philadelphia and was planning a $31 million restoration for it, just as it had done for the Opera House, so Broadway-style shows could be performed there. Luckily, a developer bought the theater from Live Nation a few months ago and promises to renovate it, while building a hotel over it. But we were very lucky to have had Clear Channel beautifully restore the Opera House.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 13, 2008 at 9:50 pm

I don’t understand — why will there be no live performances in other theatres?

MPol on December 13, 2008 at 9:45 pm

From what I’ve read/heard, pretty much all live performances will be at the Boston Opera House from now on. Good idea, as it’s a cool place to see stage shows.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 5, 2008 at 2:34 pm

In its newspaper and TV ads so far this season, the Opera House has consistently referred to itself as the “Boston Opera House”. The original Boston Opera House out on Huntington Avenue (between Symphony Hall and the MFA, 1909-1958) called itself “Boston Opera House” in its newspaper ads (and on the theater’s marquee) but it was just plain “Opera House” on many of its printed programs in the 1950s.

MPol on July 10, 2008 at 10:50 pm

The Opera House is beautifully renovated and is very baroque-looking inside. I had the opportunity to see a production of “NutCracker Suite” in the Opera House, which was a wonderful experience through and through.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 26, 2008 at 1:42 pm

It’s possible that the Opera House has an easement thru the northwest edge of the new Emerson College building leading to the loading dock and wide enough for a trailer truck to back in there. Some big roadshows travel with 8 or 10 or more trailers. Things could get a little congested back there !

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 25, 2008 at 11:55 pm

I’ve been wondering how the Paramount construction is going to accommodate the Opera House’s loading needs. Surely this situation is temporary?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 25, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Emerson College construction going on in the parcels on the south side of the Opera House has obliterated the Opera House’s scenery loading dock at stage-right. It is now impossible to use it. The scene door for the old Keith Memorial was on the rear stage wall on Mason St., but the Opera House’s new stage does not have a loading door in that location.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 18, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Fifty years ago today on June 18, 1958 I took an early train up to Boston from Providence ($3.41 round trip fare) to spend the day in the city, with a good deal of book-shopping. But the first thing I did was to see a movie musical program of Oklahoma and Carousel at this theatre. The double bill ran from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M., and I paid 60¢ admission. For books I got The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Walden, Life on the Mississippi, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tobacco Road, The Catcher in the Rye. The six books cost a total of $2.30! I want 1958 again.

bruceanthony on April 29, 2008 at 2:42 am

Its good news for the Wang which can now book in a lucrative Holiday show such as the Radio City Christmas Show and White Christmas and maybe the Grench Who Stole Christmas. When the Opera House was restored it took the Broadway shows away from the Wang because the Opera House is better suited for Broadway shows. The loss of the Broadway shows hurt the Wang so they gave up the non profit Ballet for a show they can make money on. The Opera House picked up the Ballet so its a win win for everyone. The Boston Theatre distict needs better marquees on both the Wang and the Opera House. When Chicago restored there theatre distict they made sure they put marquees on the Palace,Oriental and the new Goodman complex on top of the fabulous Chicago Theatre marquee. The City of Oakland have beautiful Marquees on both the Paramount and the Fox other cities should take a lesson on how to restore not only inside of the theatre but the oustside as well. A restored theatre looks naked without a proper marquee. The Fox in Detroit has a wonderful marquee as well as the Sheas Buffalo,Hollywood Pantagees,Knoxville Tennessee,Seattle Paramount,Atlanta Fox,Erie Warner,Birmingham Alabama,New York Radio City Music Hall and many more.bruce

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 27, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Boston Ballet has signed a 30-year lease with the Opera House, starting in 2009. This is very bad news for the Wang Theatre, which has been the ballet’s home since 1974.

Datamatters on March 23, 2008 at 6:16 am

May I share a very warm moment in the Opera House, back in 1983, when Richard Kiley took “Man of La Mancha” on his third and last revival…My wife (Pat) and I where stationed in Newport R.I.. We had just had our only child (then 13 mos. old), and I was in the middle of my Navy career. Actually, I was torn between getting out or staying in and making a go of it. Anyway, things were kind of crazy…the orders to Navy Electronics School that I had been working for, where not coming in. As well, the water pump and alternator on our car had decided to fail, just 76 miles after the warranty expired! And of course it was one of the hardest winters in the great north east! That I should be lying in the snow to fix the car! So, you say? What does this have to do with the Boston Opera House??? Well, one night Patty, Adeline and myself are at the table having dinner…and Patty says to our daughter “Ya think dad needs to perk-up?!?!”. The kid just giggled, as her mashed green beans went flying across the room. Before I could respond, Pat got up from the table and went up to our bedroom. When she returned, she told me that she had been trying to think of something to get me out of my “funk”…and continued to explain that before I opened the envelope, that she was just about certain the contents would help. Well, my friends the contents were two tickets, front row-center, for opening night…of Richards LAST Impossible Dream.
Ya see, I had spoken to my best friend (at that time, of four years), many, many times about when my cousin and I went to see Mr. Kiley do his very FIRST Broadway revival (1972) of that great show. Well, Patty and I have been best friends for going on thirty years now. I ended up staying in the Navy and retired in 1990. My second best friend just recently got married (Feb 08), and has heard this story…a number of times, I’m sure.
Point is folks, it was at The Opera House, that opening night when “Aldonza/Dulcinea”, along with the rest of the cast…stepped forward on the stage, as “Cervantes” and his side-kick did mount the drawbridge-like staircase to go to their impending trial, as the prisoners sang The Impossible Dream.
Thank You Richard and cast, and thank you Boston Opera House.

Patsy on March 2, 2008 at 2:22 pm

It was $11 million which amazes me as I recall 128 being where the Chamberlayne Junior College President had his office.

Patsy on March 2, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Ron: Thanks so much as I will now email Mount Ida.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 2, 2008 at 12:36 pm

(by the way, I doubt any Comm. Ave. house is on sale for $11,000! Maybe $11 million?)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 2, 2008 at 12:34 pm

That I can’t help you with. Looks like your college merged with another. Maybe the Mount Ida folks could tell you more.

Patsy on March 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Ron: Thanks. And could you possibly tell me about the lavish brownstones along Commonwealth Avenue as my former junior college, Chamberlayne Junior College and dormitory was at 128 and immediate area/numbers. According to the internet a beautiful home is at 128 and on the market at $11K. I tried googling my alma mater and it goes to a college site in Newton Center MA.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 2, 2008 at 12:08 pm

The name is just Opera House, not Boston Opera House (which was a different theatre demolished in 1958).

For the Gaiety/Publix, see this page. The apartment development that it was demolished for has yet to happen; it is currently a vacant lot.

Patsy on March 2, 2008 at 12:01 pm

I plan to visit Boston this Spring and found this theatre while surfing CT. After reading about its history I am pleased that the name is now Boston Opera House! And could someone tell me more about the former Boston Gaiety/Publix that met the infamous wrecking ball as it was mentioned on this theatre link.