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article imageThe Orpheum Theatre: ‘The Grand Old Lady of Granville Street’ Special

By Igor I. Solar     Nov 9, 2012 in Arts
Vancouver - On November 8, the Orpheum Theatre celebrated its 85th anniversary as one of the City of Vancouver’s most important cultural and performance venues and a highly valued historical place for Vancouver citizens.
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.
The Orpheum Theatre  Vancouver  British Columbia.
The Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia.
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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.
Ceiling and Chandelier at the Orpheum Theatre  Vancouver  British Columbia.
Ceiling and Chandelier at the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia.
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Choral performance at the Orpheum Theatre  Vancouver  British Columbia.
Choral performance at the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia.
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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.
Leslie Dala  Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir  conducts at the stage of the Orpheum Theatr...
Leslie Dala, Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, conducts at the stage of the Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia.
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More about Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver BC, Historic buildings, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Benjamin Marcus Priteca
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