Happy 25th Birthday Detroit Opera House! - Michigan Opera Theatre

Happy 25th Birthday Detroit Opera House!

On April 21, 1996 the Detroit Opera House opened, and was referred to as a “Motown Miracle”.  The building was originally constructed as a 1922 movie palace by architect C. Howard Crane, but had fallen into a dilapidated state over the next 7 decades.  It would take MOT Founder and Visionary David DiChiera, The MOT Board of Directors, Patrons etc. to raise 28 Million dollars to transform the structure into a state-of-the-art opera house. But this House went far beyond the world of opera, it went to the core of the Detroit Renaissance. It became an economic anchor for Downtown Detroit, from which sports teams, restaurants and a theatre district boomed.

By the 1980’s, it was clear MOT needed its own home if it were to continue to handle the requirements of a world class opera company. The building, which sits between Madison and Broadway was a beautiful theatre in the Italian Renaissance style, much like a European opera house. Actor Roddy McDowall, who attended the premiere in 96,’ said at the time “This is one of the most beautiful in the world.”

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Operatic Royalty descended upon Detroit for the 1996 Opening!  Legendary soprano Dame Joan Sutherland helped cut the red ribbon across the stage declaring the opera house was “open for music.”  Tenor Luciano Pavarotti, honoring a promise he made 5 years earlier to appear at the opening, sang along with other artists: Jane Eaglen, Allessandra Marc, Kallen Esperian, Vinson Cole, Leona Mitchell, Marcello Giordani and others.


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Luciano Pavarotti and the other artists sing the finale Libiamo from Verdi’s La Traviata from the Detroit Opera House Opening 4/21/1996


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