Rare Posters of Opera & Ballet

From the Collection of the Museum of Performance + Design

Exhibition Website

Jan 22 2015 - Dec 31 2016

Offsite exhibition:    War Memorial Opera House, Lower Lounge

This collection of rare lobby cards, an early form of posters designed for theater lobbies and street cars, takes us back on a journey through four decades of San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet performances and celebrates the longevity of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House as the home to these two leading San Francisco performing arts companies. 

Neapolitan conductor Gaetano Merola founded San Francisco Opera in 1923. Unlike other American opera companies, which were the properties of wealthy politicians and businessmen, San Francisco Opera was established with donations from the people of San Francisco. It first performed at the Civic Auditorium before moving to its permanent home at the war Memorial Opera House in 1932.

San Francisco Ballet first served as a ballet corps to San Francisco Opera. In 1933, it staged its first “all dance programs” with original choreographies and soon became a separate entity under the leadership of William Christensen. New ballets were presented in performances throughout California while in the city, the War Memorial Opera House was home to its Holiday and Spring Seasons.

Exhibition overview from museum website

  • Works on Paper
  • American
  • 20th Century

Exhibition Venues & Dates