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Peabody Opera House

1400 Market St.
Saint Louis  Missouri  63103
United States
(314) 499-7600
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    - Suzanne Corbett
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Midwest Living Review

A major restoration, completed in 2011, transformed this 1934 opera house into a jewel on the St. Louis culture scene.

The Peabody Opera House reopened in downtown St. Louis in 2011 after extensive renovation, and the effects are jaw-dropping. Originally christened as the Kiel Opera House in 1934, the Peabody's concert stage has hosted such legendary entertainers as Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack, Elvis Presley and Bob Hope. Many of the original Art Deco fixtures remain after the restoration. To find your seat, just follow the vintage signage. Inside the 3,100-seat concert hall gold leaf is plentiful and a gold encrusted shield hangs above the proscenium. Its relief depicts King Louis IX on his horse, the former symbol of St Louis before the Gateway Arch. Plush carpet, painted ceilings and crimson upholstered seats embroidered with the Peabody bear in gold thread round out the decorations. Every detail has been attended to, from the cast-iron stair rails and decorative covers on air vents to wood molding along the floor. However, the setting doesn't come across as stuffy or gaudy. The mezzanine lobby with its classic Art Deco accent lighting and ornate ironwork makes for an excellent roost for people-watching at intermission. Though the mezzanine balcony seats aren't gold embroidered, they do afford great views because the Peabody was designed for live performances unlike other houses of the era designed as movie theatres. The area also opens to an outdoor veranda (weather permitting) overlooking Market Street with views of the Arch to the east and Union Station to the west. Event halls are available for rent, and feature rich woodwork, painted ceilings and Art Deco light fixtures. Peabody's schedule of shows, concerts and events are diverse, ranging from the Moscow Ballet to rock concerts to theatrical productions as "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Ticket prices vary dramatically, and range up to $120. Group tours of the Opera House are available by reservation for groups of 20 or more at $8/each. After being closed since 1991, the revitalized Peabody Opera House seems like a rescued jewel. A visit is well-worth the ticket price.

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