The Bardavon Opera House was constructed in 1869 under its original name, the Collingwood Opera House; James Collingwood constructed the building. The theater became a prominent venue for performers throughout the Hudson River Valley. In the early years of the 20th century motion pictures grew in popularity and in 1923 the theatre was renovated to be able to show movies. In 1928 a large Wurlitzer organ, used to provide music for the films, was constructed in the theatre and it is still there today. It was not until 1976 that the theatre was renamed the Bardavon Opera House. Today the theatre plays a vital role in the cultural world of the Hudson River Valley. The Bardavon is the home of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Classic films are still shown in the theatre and countless other performers grace its stage every year.
Hudson River Valley Music Venues
The Nelly Goletti Theatre is housed on the campus of Marist College. The theatre is named after the late Nelly Goletti. Nelly Goletti was a renowned composer and performer both in Europe and the United States. Under a financial donation from the Fusco Foundation, headed by Nelly's husband Frank Fusco, the theatre was renovated in 1994. Today the theatre serves a multipurpose role. It serves as the primary performing venue for many of Marist College's musical ensembles as well as the Marist College Council on Theatre Arts (MCCTA). The theatre also plays host to a number of other campus events as well as numerous guest speakers who lecture during the school year.
Byrdcliffe Theater was designed in 1902 by Bolton Brown. The purpose of the building was to house the Byrdcliffe School of Art. The facility, as it exists today, houses a large studio, which is used for everything from musical performances to painting classes.
The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall was constructed in 1870 by the Troy Savings Bank. The Troy Savings Bank had been in operation since 1823 and they had outgrown their current space. The Board of Trustees elected to construct a new building not far from where the bank was currently operating. The plans for the building included offices and on the upper floors of the building there was to be a large performing hall as a way to thank the community for its years of support and patronage. The hall saw many great performers including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Rubenstein, and many others. As the twentieth century progressed the industrial backbone of Troy began to fade and as a consequence so did the music hall's ability to attract big names in entertainment. In 1979 a group of patrons formed the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Revitalization Fund in order to keep the hall open. Through the acquisition of numerous grants and other financial donations the group was able to keep the hall open and keep it an attractive performing venue for the world-class talent that has been gracing its stage for more than a century.
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) was started in 1961 by a newspaper article, by Duane La Fleche, that reported a group of people were attempting to convince the New York Philharmonic to come to Stowe, Vermont and use it as their summer residence. Interest in this article in the capital district and the surrounding communities in the Adirondacks and the upper Hudson valley was incredible. Within a week a meeting was held and local leaders were set on the idea. Numerous fundraisers were undertaken to raise money for the center, which was to be located in the Saratoga State Park. By 1963, thanks to public donations and a large donation from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the actual construction could begin. In June of 1964 Governor Nelson Rockefeller operated a bulldozer to commemorate the groundbreaking ceremony. Finally on July 9th, 1966 NYCB conductor Robert Irving directed the opening nights performance. Rather appropriately the first piece on the program was A Midsummer Night's Dream. Today SPAC hosts numerous events throughout the spring and summer months. It currently is the summer home for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet and also plays host to numerous other ensembles that make Saratoga a part of their concert tour.
The Palace Theatre opened its doors to the city of Albany in October of 1931. The city of Albany was already noted for numerous movie houses and the wide spread economic depression made many wonder why it was built. Today, as far as the entertainment venues in Albany, this one is the only survivor of that era. The Palace was originally a movie house constructed by RKO pictures. In 1940 under a mandate by the Supreme Court, RKO began divesting its interest in its large network of movie houses. The theatre changed hands numerous ties until in 1969 the city of Albany purchased the facility for use as a public auditorium.
© William Salluzo, Marist College.