Grand Opera House Belfast
The Grand Opera House Belfast opened in December 1895 and over the years has played host to some of the biggest names in both, theatre and music. According to the Theatres Trust, the principal auditorium is described as "probably the best surviving example in the UK of oriental style architecture applied to theatre"
From its beginnings it was very successful, hosting a lively and mixed program of entertainment including opera, pantomimie and musical.
During the 1920s and 30s, its program was dominated by a variety of performances and throughout the second world war it was popular as a repertory theatre. Celebrations at the opera house to mark the end of WWII, were attended by General Eisenhower and Field Marshall Montgomery.
The arrival of television in many homes in the 1950s, led to the theatres decline in popularity and the building was subsequently used as a cinema between 1950 and 1971. In 1976 after some years of neglect it was acquired by the Northern Ireland Art's Council. The Opera House reopened in 1980 after a huge renovation project.
In both, 1991 and 1993 the building was extensively damaged with bomb attacks to the neighbouring Europa Hotel, but on both ocassions quickly recovered.
Further renovations to the building in the form of a new extension were undertaken to the opera house in 2006. These works provided new space to host smaller musical, dramatic and educational performances as well as a contemporary style cafe bar/restaurant. This new more modern addition to the building did however cause some controversy, as some people felt that it was not in keeping with the original.
Further details on performances and purchasing tickets for the Grand Opera House Belfast can be obtained by telephoning the box office on Belfast 00 44 2890 241919.
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Paul Potts Opera Singer
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