Regal Renaissance: The Royal Opera House Re-opens
TAKE on art|July - December 2017

The Royal Opera House Mumbai is widely touted as ‘Mumbai’s cultural crown jewel’ and India’s only surviving opera house. The original idea for the space was conceived of in 1908. It was inaugurated in 1911 by King George V, and eventually completed in 1916. The design incorporated a blend of European and Indian detailing.

Asad Lalljee

The space became a cinema in later years before falling into disrepair and shutting by the 1990s. Fittingly, the space has been owned by the Royal Family of Gondal since 1952 and was eventually restored by the conservation architect, Abha Narain Lambah under the leadership of the current Maharaja of Gondal, Shri Jyotendrasinhji. The Royal Opera House Mumbai, now one of the last remaining Baroque structures in the city, reopened after 23 years in October 2016.

The building was included on the 2012 World Monuments Watch to raise awareness about its history and significance, and to garner support for its preservation. Today, it stands as a prime example of restored and renewed city heritage.

The building’s place as a heritage icon that has been re-gifted to the city is undeniable and we’ve made conscious decisions to include the venue in heritage walks and tours which allow the space to be accessible to curious locals and visitors alike, who have the opportunity to learn not just about the opulently restored structure, but also the Royal Opera House’s positioning in Mumbai’s entertainment industry, its role in the evolution from street theatre to cinema, and its operatic legacy.

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