Also known as the “Grand Old Lady of Granville Street” because of its location, age and splendour, the City of Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre opened its doors and had the first performance on November 7, 1927, but the official opening took place the next day. At the time of its inauguration, the Orpheum Theatre became Vancouver's largest vaudeville house, providing a mix of live and movie entertainment
The Orpheum was designed by architect Benjamin Marcus Priteca
. Priteca was born in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1909, he came to Montreal, but his final destination was the United States. Priteca lived in Seattle where he died of cancer in 1971, at the age of 81. During his long career, the prestigious architect designed dozens of entertainment halls in the main cities of California, Oregon and Washington states. He also designed theatres in Memphis, Kansas City, Fort Worth and Salt Lake City. In 1926, he was in Vancouver to review the bids submitted by local construction firms for the construction of The Orpheum.
At the time of its opening, the splendidly ornamented hall was the biggest theatre in Canada
with 3,000 seats. Several costly paintings and hangings were purchased in Europe, and a gigantic chandelier was imported from Czechoslovakia. Priteca referred to the elaborate style of the theatre as “conservative Spanish Renaissance”. Two other theaters designed by Priteca in Vancouver, the historic Pantages Theaters
number 1 and 2, were demolished in 2011 and 1967, respectively. Thus, the Orpheum
is the only surviving Canadian theatre designed by Priteca. Currently the theatre seats 2,688 patrons
In 1979, the Orpheum Theatre was designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The outstanding theatre, one of North America's finest concert halls, is home to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
, the Vancouver Bach Choir
, the Vancouver Chamber Choir
and the Vancouver Cantata Singers.
The next performance taking place at the Orpheum Theatre will be Mozart’s “Great Mass in C minor"
on 10 and 12 of Nov., 2012. Maestro Bramwell Tovey
will conduct the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
, the Vancouver Bach Choir and four notable vocal soloists on the interpretation of one of Mozart’s most sublime and magnificent choral masterpieces.