Lunenburg Opera House
The Lunenburg Opera House in 2010
|Former names||Capitol Theatre
(c. 1940 – c. 1970)
|Address||290 Lincoln Street
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
|Seating type||Standing room|
|Built||20 November 1907|
The Lunenburg Opera House is a landmark located within the boundaries of the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. The opera house was built from local timbers in 1907 by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in a manner that conformed to the town’s architectural traditions and was modeled after European music halls. Contractor Solomon Morash led the original project. The local newspapers foresaw "one of finest opera halls in the province."
The ingenuity of Lunenburg’s shipbuilders and craftsmen who built the opera house is evidenced by the architectural features that enhance both the acoustics and aesthetics of the building. The floor joists are laminate beams that have been steamed to curve in a semicircle facing the direction of the stage, giving support to the auditorium seating and enhancing the acoustics of the theatre. The joists mimic the unseen ribbing and framework that might be found beneath the facade of a guitar or violin or inside the hull of a wooden ship.
The Lunenburg Opera House was used as a venue for vaudeville, music and touring productions. In the 1940s, the opera house was converted into a movie house and was renamed the Capitol Theatre. In the 1970s the building was purchased privately and in the years to follow, the opera house was intermittently used as a performing arts venue.
The 1990s and early 2000s saw little activity, with the building sitting mostly vacant, except for the upper floor which was uused as a music recording studio. Many local and traveling bands recorded under James Shaw of Redfish Audio in the Lunenburg Opera House until the company moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Full restoration of the Lunenburg Opera House began in 2006 when it was purchased by Farley Blackman. During 2006 and 2007, restoration efforts were focused on general cleanup, structural reinforcement and meeting fire code.
In 2008, 2009 and 2010 the efforts shifted to the theatre itself with the installation of a new stage that approximated the size of the original. Electric was updated and new lighting and sound equipment was purchased and installed. Over the same period the floors were restored, the theatre was painted and new seating was purchased.
During 2011 and continuing through 2012 the exterior was restored. Starting with a new roof and soffits and continuing with new shingles, trim, windows and doors. For the first time in its history the Lunenburg Opera House will be insulated.
- Progressive Enterprise. 20 November 1907. Missing or empty