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Article Published: 01 Oct 2017

Hub of Activity

A building once abuzz with the hum of sewing machines now reverberates with singers in rehearsals, at auditions and in coaching sessions. Five years ago, OPERA America opened the National Opera Center in a Midtown Manhattan neighborhood that was once part of the city’s garment district. When the building at 330 Seventh Avenue was constructed in the 1920s, it was designed as a center for fur merchants. Its reinforced floors — built to bear the weight of sewing machinery and piles of mink pelts — allowed OPERA America to carve out a custom-built space for the opera industry, including a central rehearsal hall that spans two floors.

Originally created to address the acute need for rehearsal and performance space among New York City’s performing arts community, the National Opera Center has expanded its scope to become the site of professional development programs for opera administrators, HD video recordings sessions for young artists, board meetings of New York’s independent opera companies, and much more.

Opera Center Annual Usage
  • 75,000 visitors
  • 35,000 venue rentals
  • 100 auditions and rehearsals by member organizations
  • 300 audio recordings
  • Over a dozen public OPERA America events

In celebration of this five-year anniversary, OPERA America has gathered video testimony from people who have made the Opera Center a creative home. Look for them on the OA YouTube channel

This article was published in the Fall 2017 issue of Opera America Magazine.