About Us

About the Cultural Center at the Opera House

The Cultural Center at the Opera House was constructed in 1870 and has always been owned by the City of Havre de Grace. The building is historically designated in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (HA-816). It is located within several designated areas: Arts and Entertainment District, Sustainable Community, National Historic District.

It should be noted that the Maryland Historical Trust approved the Opera House renovation plans in January 2013 stating that there would be ‘no adverse effect’ to the historic value of the building because of the renovation. A quote from that letter reads:

“Overall, this is an excellent project that will create an asset to the community and maintain the usefulness and integrity of an important historic resource”.

Opera has very rarely been performed in the Opera House. But in 1870 when it was built, the use of the word “opera” was more politically correct that “theater” or “music hall”. Such entities were considered morally corrupt.

During this part of America’s entertainment history, opera was considered to be the product of high civilization and a respectable form of entertainment. Thus the words “opera house” preserved the moral standing of the theatrical house, even though the entertainment inside was the same as in any music hall or theater of the time. Many American communities built “opera houses”.

Our newly restored Cultural Center at the Opera House brings the highest quality entertainment to our community and the region. The historic theater is used for local and professional plays, live music and arts performances, film, dance, arts education and youth programming, local events and private receptions and gatherings. We hope there will even be some opera.

The Cultural Center at the Opera House embodies our community’s commitment to the arts, the preservation of our history and access to a state-of-the-art facility that is accessible to all.