Author Archives: Dorothy Hernandez

Why Not Just Tear It Down?

Why Not Just Tear It Down?

Believe it or not, we had a well known business leader in the community ask us this yesterday.  Why not just tear it down?  Why spend all of this time, energy, resources, money on restoring a hundred year old building when you could just tear it down and start over?

Well, we thought about that.  BUT, there is something to the history of what we currently have.  There’s something about restoration of life.  There’s something about redemption of the things that society has thrown away.  Our culture is so quick to toss things away and declare them worthless.  We felt like there is something special to be gained by saving a historic building like the Venice City Opera House and restoring it to its former grandeur.  We hope that the public agrees.  We hope that you agree.

In the meanwhile, this video was shared with us the other day and we felt like it epitomized the reason we wish to bring the Opera back to Venice, California.  Young talent like this is so important to foster.  It is our responsibility to do exactly like that.  Watch this and be amazed!

This young lady is the future of what opera is in America and throughout the world.  We look forward to the day when our beautiful restoration will be used to host these young singers.  We look forward to the day when we will have a full auditorium of children from local schools listening to and watching the drama unfold on stage, and dreaming of the day when they can be seen and heard in front of hundreds and thousands of people.

We appreciate your support folks.

Some of you have asked about the surprises we found in the hidden safe that was discovered.  As we told you before, our friend John, at came out to safely crack open the safe without destroying it.  We are in the middle of some authentications and will share more when we feel like the timing is right.  Thanks for your inquiry.

The Hidden Safe

Well, as many of you know, many famous entertainers performed in the Venice City Opera House during it’s prime years in the early 1900’s.  In it’s more recent history, many contemporary artists, playwrights and other performers have graced it’s stage.  But, for the last 40 or so years it has set vacant.

The Venice Opera is filled with relics of from the past, including a safe hidden below the stage that we were able to find. Due to the curiosity surrounding the safe and without any idea what the original combination was, we called old friends in Missouri.  One of the nation’s best safe crackers, John Bannon with Show Me Safe, has been in safe repair, safe opening, and safe moving in Springfield MO for over 20 years.  John was able to carve some time out to come to sunny SoCal and help us discover the history of our Venice Opera House safe, and get it opened up for us.  We’ll reveal in a later blog the significant contents of the safe!

“You know when you smell odors of homemade apple pie, it reminds you of memories of Grandma’s house with a lattice pie sitting on the buffet,” Jones says. “It’s pretty much the same thing that we have here. When you start seeing all of these things as they’re pulled out, you are reminded of how things once were and it takes you back.”

Although estimates have put the cost of the renovation as above $5 million, this will not be an issue toward holding up progress from completion by the expected time.

Jones says that the Opera House will not lose it’s original charm and quality over the duration of the restoration.  In fact, he says, that the quality of the theater will surpass the original as they seek it to become a major venue in the L.A. region for opera.

Venice City Opera House Restoration

Welcome to the Venice City Opera!

Welcome to the online home of the Venice City Opera in beautiful and sunny, Venice, California! We are looking forward to sharing information about our upcoming schedule, the renovations to the opera house, and our wonderful team of folks who are helping to put legs underneath this project!

Reopening an old opera house has proven to be quite the task.  After three years of searching for a restoration project, a resident couple of Venice finally found what they were looking for in their own backyard.  Our historic 100 year old City Opera House found a new owner this last year.  The new owners, locals, Rhonda and Brian Jones closed on the property late last year and quickly began working with the non-profit arts advocacy Venice Arts Consortium to put together a restoration plan that would include help from local volunteers and the full financial backing of the Jones’ and other interested parties.

The city was quickly enamored by the amount of love that was being shown to the old building and to opera in general.  Mrs Jones is a former ballet artist with the Los Angeles Ballet Company and was searching far and wide for an arts related project to dive into and blend with her love for restoration.  She and her husband are excited about restoring the classic building to its former glory.

“It’s a theater, but let’s not forget that it is also a museum that gives homage to the great performers of the past.” Jones says. “This community has a great opportunity to bring performers of the future back into the city of Venice.”

Built in 1915, the opera house was a hit for nearly 50 years. Over the years, with money trouble, and lack of interest, the building became abandoned and fell into disrepair.  In the 1990’s, a local developer, Rich Striker, purchased the building to save it from being demolished by the city.

We will share more in the coming days/weeks, but for now we will leave you with a teaser of one of our favorite online videos, “The Best of Opera.”