The Academy of Music – Performance Venues Review

Overview: What is the vibe of the place, what is it like? In 1857, Verdi’s Il trovatore was the first performance at the newly opened Academy of Music, officially making it the country’s oldest opera still in use for its original purpose. (And giving it a National Historic Landmark designation.) These days, however, the grandiose building — located on a stretch of Broad Street dubbed “the avenue of the arts” for its density of performing arts centers — puts on stage more than the opera. Besides the Philadelphia Opera House, the venue is also home to the Philadelphia Ballet (the company’s annual production of The Nutcracker is a favorite) and hosts touring Broadway shows, comedy shows and a crowd other shows. Inspired by La Scala in Milan, the building is a dazzling gem of a space. Walking through its arched doors is like stepping back to a time when going to the theater was an event. Inside, American Baroque revival design features gilded columns, elaborate murals, carvings and carvings, and a dramatic crimson curtain, all set beneath an opulent 5,000-pound crystal chandelier.
What types of events can we see here? Not only can you see boundary-pushing shows from the Philadelphia Opera and ballets like George Balanchine’s Cinderella and Nutcracker, but the Academy also hosts most of the Broadway touring shows (this season they include Six , Come from Away, and Les Miserables.) Other performances — comedians, traveling Disney shows, and even game shows like Nickelodeon’s Double Dare and Wheel of Fortune — also make the list.
How are the seats? The auditorium’s open horseshoe design means most seats have solid sight lines, and in 2018 the Academy launched a renovation that made the red velvet seats a bit more spacious.
Good for kids? I didn’t bring my kids to the opera (there’s no rule saying I can’t, but I felt like I’d enjoy avant-garde performance a little more s (they didn’t ask for cotton candy.) They did, however, I’ve seen more kid-friendly shows, like The Nutcracker, and many kids go to Disney and Broadway shows (e.g., the Lion King).
Anything in particular that makes this place special, from the programming to a unique feature it has? Whether it’s an opera, ballet, or Broadway show, performances here are always top-notch productions put on by world-class talent. But it’s also a bonus to be able to sit in such a historic and lavish theater – the one where Susan B. Anthony gave a speech on women’s suffrage, Peter Tchaikovsky conducted the music for The Nutcracker and the Orchestra from Philadelphia recorded music for Disney’s Fantasia. .
If we’re going to be in town, what and who do you think is best for? Performing arts and history buffs should make it a point to buy tickets for something – anything – when they visit. Stop by the nearby Tria Cafe, a few blocks east, for a bite to eat before or after a show.