#HauteSpaces: The Royal Opera House Reopens After 23 Years
Who doesn’t love a pretty home/work space? I know the answer to that one. So now, every week, I will go in search for the most stunning indoor spaces in our country that will inspire the inner decorator in you. Unique, colourful, or quirky, these photo stories are sure to leave you spellbound, like mouth-hanging-open spellbound. If you know or use a space that fits the description, ping me and we can chat! It can be anything from a home to an office, a studio to a restaurant — if it is fun, I’m game!
On October 20, that is tomorrow, a slice of history will come alive. India’s only surviving opera house is all set to open its doors again, 23 long years later, to mortals like us! The iconic Royal Opera House in Mumbai will play host to the opening ceremony of the MAMI festival this year, and simultaneously re-open to function once again, much to the joy of art and movie lovers.
Let’s go back some 100 odd years to when this magnificent building was constructed. A famous entertainer from Kolkata, Maurice Bandmann originally conceived the idea of constructing this beauty in 1908. It later got the suffix ‘Royal’ attached to it because it was built during the British rule. Ever since, Indians have witnessed fantastic performances here, making the whole country proud. From Prithviraj Kapoor to Lata Mangeshkar, this venue has been home to some great talent. And now, it’s back! The credit for its rebirth goes to the owners — the Royal family of Gondal, that has been working tirelessly towards its construction since 2010. Abha Narain Lambh is the architect behind getting this monument back on its feet. A big thank you to these people for this pre-Diwali gift that they have given to our city.
Back then, the opera house was a structure of art. With baroque design elements, the kinds of which are rarely seen today, the building had a mix of Indian and European flavour in its architecture. Twenty-six rows of seating with balcony boxes and dome ceilings, adorned with paintings, ensured that everyone watching the performances had a truly special experience. The musical venue has now been restored in a similar way — keeping the royal touch but adding an element of technology to it. The restored facilities will feature a 574-seater 3-level auditorium with an orchestra pit and state-of-the-art technological upgradations, including acoustics, stagecraft, lighting, and air-conditioning, and will also retain the old-world charm of the proscenium stage, the royal boxes, and the magnificent regal chandeliers. Some more enhancements to the venue include a motorized screen, co-axial ceiling speaker system, four-zone volume control, and all-round wifi access.
But what you absolutely must watch out for are the beautifully crafted white marble pillars and the famous dome ceiling with portraits of popular playwrights and painters — they take you straight into a vintage musical Broadway dream! The exterior looks straight out of a Hollywood Broadway movie, complete with white sculptures with musical instruments in their hands, welcoming you from the roof. In an attempt to revive the passion for art, literature, and music, Opera House is coming back with a bang, and that too in association with a arts movie festival, MAMI. We can’t think of a better comeback. Curated shows will start November onward.
While we wait for the glass-shattering shows (you know, it’s the opera!), take a look at these images and see the transformation for yourself, and why it truly deserves to be called The Royal Opera House!
Here’s How It Looked Before:
…And This Is What It Looks Like After The Restoration: