A Home for Opera
When OPERA America moved its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to New York City in 2005, it was with the intention of creating a purpose-built facility where opera companies from around the country could hold auditions. The resulting National Opera Center, which opened its doors in September 2012, became much more: The 25,000-square-foot facility features an array of vocal studios, several meeting spaces, a state-of-the-art recording studio, an opera-dedicated library, and halls for performances, rehearsals, and auditions.
The Opera Center was created on two floors of 330 Seventh Avenue, a 1928 Art Deco high-rise that had been a fur factory in what was once Manhattan’s bustling Fur District. (The building was also the site of more than one fur heist.) The building’s construction, designed to support the weighty machinery of furriers, allowed OPERA America to carve out custom spaces across both floors and to create two large halls without visible support beams; the larger of them, Marc A. Scorca Hall, spans both floors.
The Opera Center annually welcomes 80,000 visitors, who use the space for everything from vocal lessons and live-streamed recitals to workshops of new operas and meetings of creative teams. While the Opera Center’s spaces temporarily went silent this spring and summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility reopened for limited use at the end of September (see “A Safe Opera Center”).