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Credit: KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Bravissima! Seattle Opera opens curtains on its shiny new home

After more than two decades of dreaming, fundraising and hand-wringing, Seattle Opera is opening the doors to a brand new building at the Seattle Center.

The Opera performs in McCaw Hall; the new Seattle Opera center abuts McCaw, just to the east, on Mercer Street. At more than 100,000 square feet, the new facility houses three rehearsal rooms, a community theater, a costume and wig shop and the ability to store scenery temporarily.

The big move from its old home -- a former carpet factory in South Lake Union -- began the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Although the new costume and wig shop has the same square footage as in the Opera's South Lake Union home, the old facility was built into the side of a hill and had very little natural light.

The new facility already feels very different.

“It gets so sunny it’s kind of shiny on my table,” says crafts supervisor Miriam Goodman-Miller as she shows off the new fabric dye vats.

“It’s worth it," she adds. "It’s amazing!”

The old building was at the "end of its useful life," says says Kristina Murti, Seattle Opera marketing director.

Plans to move were temporarily derailed when the 2008 recession hit. Opera leaders revived the project when Seattle’s economy improved.

Rehearsals for the Opera’s next production, Verdi’s ‘Il Trovatore,’ began there this week.