San Francisco Sights

War Memorial Opera House

  • 301 Van Ness Ave. Map It
  • Civic Center
  • Arts/Performance Venue

Published 05/24/2016

Fodor's Review

During San Francisco's Barbary Coast days, operagoers smoked cigars, didn't check their revolvers, and expressed their appreciation with "shrill whistles and savage yells," as one observer put it. All the old opera houses were destroyed in the 1906 quake, but lusty support for opera continued. The San Francisco Opera didn't have a permanent home until the War Memorial Opera House was inaugurated in 1932 with a performance of Tosca. Modeled after its European counterparts, the building has a vaulted and coffered ceiling, marble foyer, two balconies, and a huge silver art-deco chandelier that resembles a sunburst. The San Francisco Opera performs here from September through December and in summer; the opera house hosts the San Francisco Ballet from February through May, with December Nutcracker performances.

Sight Information


301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, California, 94102, United States

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Published 05/24/2016


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