VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. – The historic Piper’s Opera House, located in Virginia City, Nevada, is a significant treasure not only for the mountain mining town it calls home, but for the western United States and the arts and theatre industry across the country. The history of the opera house, built originally in 1863 as Maguire’s Opera House, tells a fascinating story of its ups and downs over the decades, including world-famous stars, periods of decline, and revival to its modern-day status.
While this year proved challenging for many, Piper’s Opera House continued to weather the storm by developing programming and conducting tours of its historic facility while following the guidelines established for safety, distance and cleanliness. The goal remains to continue to be a premier performance venue in northern Nevada.
“We’re proud that we’ve been able to continue to showcase the beauty of our building and continue to tell it’s story,” said Whitney Brunson, special events coordinator for Piper’s Opera House. “There’s so much rich history here, I learn something new all the time. That’s the experience we provide and we love sharing it with those that walk through our doors.”
Starting in the 1860s, Virginia City was one of the most prominent cities in the west. It was where poor miners became millionaires seemingly overnight – striking it rich with silver from the Comstock Lode. The wealth in the town was unimaginable. With that wealth came the demand for entertainment of the highest caliber. Enter the Opera House – where the biggest stars from around the world came to perform on the stage, including Lily Langtry, Edwin Booth, and Lillian Russell. Mark Twain was a regular and in later years, Vaudeville’s biggest acts appeared at Piper’s including Enrico Caruso, Marie Dressler and David Belasco. President Grant once gave a speech from its stage, and Buffalo Bill performed his famous Wild West show there.
“There’s so much rich history here, I learn something new all the time.”
The importance of the opera house landed it on the League of Historic Theaters for its role in the history of American stage and screen. It has been called one of the most significant theaters on the west coast. As the mines dried up and the town began to decline, Piper’s Opera House went dark in the 1920s and stood condemned for 20 years. In the 1940s it reopened as a museum and in the 1960s underwent significant restorations.
Today, Piper’s Opera House is a fully-functioning performing arts center, welcoming plays, musicals, and performances of all kinds throughout the year. It’s also a highly sought-after wedding and event venue.
For those interested in learning more about its history and seeing it firsthand, self-guided tours are offered for just $3 per person. Tickets are available at Piper’s Opera House or the Virginia City Visitors Center, located at 86 South C Street in Virginia City, Nevada.
For more information on Piper’s Opera House, visit PipersOperaHouse.com or call 775-847-0433.
Piper’s Opera House, located in the historic district of Virginia City, Nev., is a living legend serving as a critical performing arts center for the region. It is listed in the League of Historic Theaters and is known for having attracted famous stars from all over the world during the late 19thand early20thcenturies. The theater operates now as a significant, premier vintage center hosting everything from theatrical performances to concerts, family reunions and weddings.
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