Difference between revisions of "Opera House"

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=Opera House=
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''For information on the theatrical form and on opera in South Africa, see the entry on '''[[Opera]]'''''. 
  
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='''Opera House as concept'''=
  
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Technically the term [[opera house]] refers to a custom built theatre building used for opera performances and the venue usually consists of a stage, an orchestra pit, audience seating, and backstage facilities for costumes and set building.
  
=City Opera houses=
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While some such venues are constructed specifically for the rehearsal and performance of [[opera]]s only, most venues referred to as [[opera houses]] are actually intended for a range of performance forms, usually events of a large scale. In some cases the opera house may be more akin to a large [[performing arts centre]], containing more than one [[venue]] of varying size and function.
  
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='''Opera venues in South Africa'''=
  
Opera House Cape Town
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Over the years there have been a number of custom built venues intended for operatic (or large scale musical and balletic) perfomances, that have either borne the name '''[[Opera House]]''' or (if a dedicated venue for this kind of work within a theatre complex) '''[[The Opera]]'''.
  
Also called the '''Cape Town Opera House'''. (1893 – 1937).  Situated on the site of the present Post Office** and built for £40 000.  First performance (31 August 1893):  ''[[Dorothy]]'', a musical by Stephenson and Cellier performed by the [[Lyric Company]]. 
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==The '''[[Opera House]]''' as a venue==
  
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This usually refers to a free standing venue, custom built for the presentation of large-scale productions. Among the various such building in South Africa are (or have been):
  
=== The Theatre ===
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=== The [[Opera House]], Cape Town (1893 – 1937)===
  
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The [[Opera House, Cape Town]] was opened on 31st August, 1893,  in the presence of His Excellency the Governor General and
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most of the members of Parliament, by the then Mayor of Cape Town (J. Woodhead), with a performance of the musical ''[[Dorothy]]'' (Stephenson and Cellier), performed by the [[Lyric Company]]. 
  
The theatre was of major importance and at the time considered the finest theatre in the Southern Hemisphere, with 1000 seats, a fireproof corridor, lit by gas, which was later replaced by electricity. The pit was of the latest design, stalls were well padded and covered with red leather, the dress circle and boxes were elaborate with chaste designs and there was a "gods" with bench seating.
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Also called the '''[[Cape Town Opera House]]''', it was at the time considered the finest theatre in the Southern Hemisphere.
  
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''For more details on this [[venue]] and its history, go to the entry on the '''[[Cape Town Opera House]]'''.
  
===The Grand Theatre Restaurant===
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It also housed a restaurant, The '''Grand Theatre Restaurant'''.  
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=== Opera House Johannesburg ===  
  
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'''<big>[Was there one??**]</big>'''
  
=== Lessees and Performances ===
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=== Opera House, Port Elizabeth ===
  
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Also known as the [[Port Elizabeth Opera House]], the [[P.E. Opera House]], the [[Opera House Port Elizabeth]] and today as [[The Opera House Nelson Mandela Bay]], it claims to be the oldest theatre still in use on the continent of Africa and in the Southern Hemisphere. 
  
In 1896 Frank de Jong was the lessee, his “Gaiety” companies performed here, as well as various well-known international performers, including Zena Dare, Matheson Lang and Sybil Thorndike. * Mark Twain also gave three performances of his At Home there in July 1896. *In June 1909 Leonard Rayne became the lessee.  Harry Stodel** [hosted many overseas stars such as Anna Pavlova and Harry Launder and locals such as Stephen Black*, Leonard Rayne* and Harry Stodel*. EXPAND]  **Also saw the first performance of An African Millionaire by Edgar Wallace. Written by Wallace when he was editor of the Rand Daily Mail, it was based on the life of Rhodes. Produced by Leonard Rayne in the Opera House in Pretoria/Cape Town (??*) in 1904. It was a dismal failure and closed after 6 days.
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''For more details on this [[venue]] and its history, go to the entry on '' '''[[Port Elizabeth Opera House]]'''
  
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=== Opera House Pretoria ===
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This venue was first conceptualised in 1902, but finally opened on 27 February 1904. A three storey building in the rennaissance style, it was originally meant solely for opera, and was  used as such for the first two years, after which - under the management of McKay Bros, the music firm, it was mostly used for gramaphone concerts and operettas, and was long a favourite venue for shows and meetings in Pretoria. 
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Numerous productions, in English and in Afrikaans, were done there over the years, including the premiere productions of many new South African works. 
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''For more details on this [[venue]] and its history, go to the entry on the '''[[Opera House, Pretoria]]'''''
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=='''[[The Opera]]''' as a venue==
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Besides the various custom built '''[[Opera House]]s''' in the country, many other large theatre venues, especially those intended to house larger scale productions (e.g. of opera, operatta, ballet and musical presentations)  have, over the years,  also been referred to as "[[The Opera]]" or "The [[Opera House]]" by locals, journalists and even in adverts and other publications. (See for example [[The African Theatre]] in Cape Town.) 
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In the case of the venues built for the four provincial [[Performing Arts Councils]] ([[PACs]]) (1963-1994) by the provincial performing arts councils in the 1970s-1980s, the name [[The Opera]] was specifically given to the largest venue in each of the four theatre complexes. These were all well-equipped venues for the staging of a full scale operatic production.
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For more on these venues, see the entries on the four [[state theatres]], i.e. the '''[[Nico Malan Theatre]]''' ((later known as [[ArtsCape]]); the '''[[State Theatre Pretoria]]'''; '''[[The Playhouse]]''', Durban and the '''[[Sand Du Plessis Theatre]]''', Bloemfontein.)
  
 
= Sources =
 
= Sources =
  
See Fletcher, 1994 (JF & MN)  
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_house
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Binge, 1969,
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Vermeulen, 1971, 
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Tucker, 1997)  
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[TH, ABr]
  
= For more information =
 
  
  

Latest revision as of 07:49, 31 May 2019

For information on the theatrical form and on opera in South Africa, see the entry on Opera.

Opera House as concept

Technically the term opera house refers to a custom built theatre building used for opera performances and the venue usually consists of a stage, an orchestra pit, audience seating, and backstage facilities for costumes and set building.

While some such venues are constructed specifically for the rehearsal and performance of operas only, most venues referred to as opera houses are actually intended for a range of performance forms, usually events of a large scale. In some cases the opera house may be more akin to a large performing arts centre, containing more than one venue of varying size and function.

Opera venues in South Africa

Over the years there have been a number of custom built venues intended for operatic (or large scale musical and balletic) perfomances, that have either borne the name Opera House or (if a dedicated venue for this kind of work within a theatre complex) The Opera.

The Opera House as a venue

This usually refers to a free standing venue, custom built for the presentation of large-scale productions. Among the various such building in South Africa are (or have been):

The Opera House, Cape Town (1893 – 1937)

The Opera House, Cape Town was opened on 31st August, 1893, in the presence of His Excellency the Governor General and most of the members of Parliament, by the then Mayor of Cape Town (J. Woodhead), with a performance of the musical Dorothy (Stephenson and Cellier), performed by the Lyric Company.

Also called the Cape Town Opera House, it was at the time considered the finest theatre in the Southern Hemisphere.

For more details on this venue and its history, go to the entry on the Cape Town Opera House.


Opera House Johannesburg

[Was there one??**]

Opera House, Port Elizabeth

Also known as the Port Elizabeth Opera House, the P.E. Opera House, the Opera House Port Elizabeth and today as The Opera House Nelson Mandela Bay, it claims to be the oldest theatre still in use on the continent of Africa and in the Southern Hemisphere.

For more details on this venue and its history, go to the entry on Port Elizabeth Opera House

Opera House Pretoria

This venue was first conceptualised in 1902, but finally opened on 27 February 1904. A three storey building in the rennaissance style, it was originally meant solely for opera, and was used as such for the first two years, after which - under the management of McKay Bros, the music firm, it was mostly used for gramaphone concerts and operettas, and was long a favourite venue for shows and meetings in Pretoria.

Numerous productions, in English and in Afrikaans, were done there over the years, including the premiere productions of many new South African works.

For more details on this venue and its history, go to the entry on the Opera House, Pretoria

The Opera as a venue

Besides the various custom built Opera Houses in the country, many other large theatre venues, especially those intended to house larger scale productions (e.g. of opera, operatta, ballet and musical presentations) have, over the years, also been referred to as "The Opera" or "The Opera House" by locals, journalists and even in adverts and other publications. (See for example The African Theatre in Cape Town.)

In the case of the venues built for the four provincial Performing Arts Councils (PACs) (1963-1994) by the provincial performing arts councils in the 1970s-1980s, the name The Opera was specifically given to the largest venue in each of the four theatre complexes. These were all well-equipped venues for the staging of a full scale operatic production.

For more on these venues, see the entries on the four state theatres, i.e. the Nico Malan Theatre ((later known as ArtsCape); the State Theatre Pretoria; The Playhouse, Durban and the Sand Du Plessis Theatre, Bloemfontein.)

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_house

Binge, 1969,

Vermeulen, 1971,

Tucker, 1997)

[TH, ABr]


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