Arizona Opera opens new location in central Phoenix near Phoenix Art Museum

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The Arizona Opera opened their new location in central Phoenix, across the street from the Phoenix Art Museum, last week. (Connor Descheemaker/DD)

After a year and a half of construction, the Arizona Opera opened a new 28,000 square-foot opera center in central Phoenix March 25.

Director of Marketing and Public Relations Kate Crowley said the building Arizona Opera moved into was a $5.2 million building, located at 1636 North Central Ave. The city of Phoenix paid $3.2 million in city bond funds. This helped purchase the former Walsh Bros. Warehouse for just less than $1.8 million.

Crowley said the project is drawing a lot of attention. Now that it’s open, it’s bringing in more people than where they’ve worked before.

“We were doing rehearsal and production in a warehouse in Mesa,” Crowley said. “But in the old space trying to do fittings or borrowing costumes was very tricky.”

Crowley said the opera house features an intimate black-box performance venue, rehearsal space, orchestra loft and patron-viewing gallery. Behind the scenes, there’s space to feature administrative offices, box office, costume, wig and make-up shops, as well as educational and meeting facilities. In addition to the black-box theater, Crowley said there are two additional coaching rooms within the center that include a sound proofing system and piano.

“It’s great because there is only so much you can do in a large room when you have more than one person practicing or rehearsing,” she said.

Crowley said this is the space where all the artists can call home and for the “first time we will all be under one roof.”

She said the center is a nice home for the artists right in the center of the city, where they can take the light rail and grab coffee or see new exhibits at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Nicole DeLeon, public relations representative for the Phoenix Art Museum, said they are excited to pursue a possible partnership with the opera house.

“We’re really looking forward to the opportunity of partnering up with another art center,” DeLeon said.

Arizona Opera General Director Scott Altman said the Center will “open up the windows of opera to the community.”

Altman said the space can fit up to 500 people and the garage doors are great for hosting indoor and outdoor events. He said it is encouraged to be rented out to the business community and nonprofit organizations for events that aren’t necessarily opera-related.

“It can go from a corporate meeting to a party,” Altman said. “The space is infinitely manipulable.”

He said there are five fully-staged opera productions that are planned for the new season which include HMS Pinafore, Der Fliegende Holländer, La Bohème, La Traviata, and Don Pasquale.

The first full opera performance will be held sometime in April 2014.

Contact the reporter at ramona.radan@asu.edu