Posts made in September, 2018

Music and Moisture Are Not Perfect Matches: Opera Houses Damaged by Water

»Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Below are some examples of the clash of sounds: the sounds of stormy rains and the sounds of music. If you’re a regular opera-goer or simply interested in the music of the heart then you may want to read up on these short stories about opera houses which have had to face the music.

Deutsche Oper (Germany): In January of 2018 the Berlin Ballet Company was unable to perform, wait for it: Swan Lake. The watery situation was caused by a problematic sprinkler system which went rogue and flooded the entire stage, leading to extensive water damage.  This forced managers to redirect performances on an alternative ‘Black Stage’ devoid of illumination and appropriate scenery.

The Wortham Theatre (United States of America): A part of the Houston Grand Opera, the Wortham Theatre was threatened by storms in 2017, which sent water into the front of the house areas and the Brown Theatre stage leaving residue and damaging to the top of the Brown stage in its wake.

Cullen Theatre (United States of America): Also a part of the Houston Grand Opera, the Cullen Theatre was affected by torrential downpour which left the basement of the building as well as the Theatre District completely deluged.

The Palau de les Arts (Spain): This structure cost a hefty 332 million Euros to construct but was made to look cheap in 2007 when a severe downpour damaged the building’s electrical and cooling systems while rendering the rehearsal areas and side theatre unusable.

The Boston Opera House: When the Opera Company of Boston went bankrupt in 1991, the Boston Opera House underwent serious negative transformation. Perhaps degradation is a better word because the building’s highly ornamented plaster interior was damaged by water. Thankfully the building was designated a landmark and restored in 1999.

The Springer Opera House (United States of America): in 2017, managers of the Springer Opera House launched a campaign to repair parts of the building such as water leaks to a ceiling which occurred as a result of water seeping out from the impaired roof. Further damage included mold which formed in the basement.

The Jersey Opera House: Aggressive sea waves smashed into the Jersey Opera House in 2008, overcoming sea wall defences, to drench the building’s foyer in more than six inches of water and damaging computers and the electricity supply.

The Semperoper Opera House (Germany): Originally built in 1841 by Gottfried Semper this historic building faced a massive threat in 2002 during the Elbe floods which required extensive repairs due to water damage.


The Fredonia Opera House (United States of America): Is today an ornate and well appointed structure, but it was once in ruins more than eight decades ago when its frescoed ceiling was damaged by water and eventually replaced with the tin ceiling that’s still there today.

Teatro Royal or Royal Theatre (Spain): This is a truly magnificent opera house known for its exceedingly beautiful acoustics. It was first built in 1708, demolished and rebuilt in 1818. The grand structure had to be closed to the public in 1925 due to shaky foundations caused by water flow beneath the grounds. It was reopened in 1965, and endured another closure between the 1980s and 1990s but has continued to open its doors to the public.


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