Alice Busch Opera Theater

A remarkable setting – An unforgettable experience

The Alice Busch Opera Theater is an integral part of the Glimmerglass experience. Its casual elegance, beautiful surroundings and excellent acoustics provide an intimate, one-of-a-kind operatic encounter. 

All of the theater’s 914 seats are less than 70 feet from the stage, so you can experience the world’s great operas and musicals the way they were originally performed – with clear, unamplified natural sound. Our productions feature projected English text above the stage, which allow the audience to easily follow the story. 

The theater’s unique sliding side walls allow the audience to enjoy fresh air prior to and during performances. Because of the theater’s open-air design, we encourage our visitors to dress for comfort in warm or cool weather. Outside, the estate’s rolling lawns invite you to stroll, picnic and relax in a place that’s dedicated to music and the arts.

History of the Theater

The theater was built on farmland donated by the late Glimmerglass Board Chairman Emeritus Tom Goodyear and his mother Jeanette Bissell Goodyear and opened in 1987. Following the opening of the Metropolitan Opera facility in 1966, the theater was the first American hall designed specifically for opera in 21 years. 

About the Theater’s design

Designed by Hugh Hardy of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, with acoustics by Peter George, the theater features  an intimate design with a single wrap-around balcony and box seats, and unique sliding side walls that can be opened prior to performances and during intermissions. In designing the Alice Busch Opera Theater, Hardy worked to evoke Central New York’s rural, agrarian architecture. The ceiling of the theater features a traditional Double Wedding Ring quilt pattern; there are other touches that integrate the theater with its surroundings, including its barn-like architecture.