What the triumphant return of Philly’s former Metropolian Opera House means for North Broad Street | Inga Saffron
Ever since Oscar Hammerstein erected the Metropolitan Opera House on the wrong side of Broad Street in 1908, it seems like someone has been trying to save the musical colossus from the wrecking ball.
Hammerstein, who spent a small fortune to build what was then the world’s largest opera house, thought he was creating a North Philadelphia rival for the Academy of Music. But he gave up just two years later and unloaded the 3,500-seat white elephant on the deep-pocketed financier, Edward Stotesbury. He didn’t stick around long, either. The Met passed through a series of owners, who used it for everything from basketball games to church revivals. Even the Pew Foundation, with all its money, tried to restore the Met as a concert hall in 1990 and failed.
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