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PITTSBURGH MUSIC - ARCHIVAL MATERIAL

 

MUSIC DEPARTMENT

Location: Oliver Room,
Pittsburgh Music Archives #37
Box #19

GEORGE H. WILSON

A SCRAPBOOK of
GRAND OPERA PRODUCTIONS at
DUQUESNE GARDENS 1901

The collection begins with articles from DISPATCH newspaper surrounding opening of the Duquesne Gardens, a skating rink, and its conversion to an opera facility, costing c. $20,000. The building was originally a car barn. Interesting descriptions of the interior conversion, its size and complexity. “The length of the Garden, the arrangement of boxes and sounding board, and all other challenges have been made upon scientific principles of acoustics.”

First performances were the week of April 15, 1901 when Maurice Grau’s Metropolitan Opera House Co. were in residence for five performances (through April 19).

Opera stars named, including Pittsburgh native Mme. Louise Beatty Homer.

Demand for subscriptions for the five operas was substantial.

Reviews following performances stated: “Glittering success all through.” Productions, scenery, singers, orchestra, new hall, fashions were all lauded.

Other local newspapers POST, PRESS, TELEGRAPH, TIMES, GAZETTE, LEADER and INDEX are also represented in coverage of events in this 1901 opera season.

One article from the LEADER, noted a skirmish on a street car between a sleeping Italian on one of the seats and opera patrons seeking space on the seat. He “drew a big revolver from his pocket and flourished it wildly above his head. Women fainted and men tried to wrest the weapon from his grasp.” A policeman arrested the man.