Opera Memphis to establish new headquarters in Midtown

Organization to begin lease of office and rehearsal space in up-and-coming PeCo neighborhood
Rendering of Opera Memphis' new Midtown headquarters.
Rendering of Opera Memphis' new Midtown headquarters.(Opera Memphis)
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 6:15 PM CST

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After a four-year process aimed at finding a new space closer to the heart of Memphis, Opera Memphis is planting seeds in Midtown.

The organization signed a lease at 216 S. Cooper Street off Peabody Avenue, an area quickly becoming recognized as “PeCo.” The building will serve as the organization’s new headquarters for staff and performers.

“This location creates daily opportunities for Opera Memphis to engage with Memphians where they live, work and play,” said Ned Canty, Opera Memphis’ general director. “It opens new avenues to collaborate with even more of the city’s arts organizations, and gives visiting artists the ability to walk to coffee shops and restaurants before and after rehearsals.”

The property features flexibility and adaptability, allowing the opera company to maximize the space for a range of activities. The headquarters will house administrative offices for Opera Memphis staff and a large, open space suitable for both rehearsal and smaller performances, including recitals and cabaret events.

Additionally, the building has space to feature public screenings of operas and other films. Canty also envisions the space as a centrally located option offered to growing arts organizations that do not have their own space for rehearsals, classes and small performances.

“We are so pleased that Opera Memphis has moved to Midtown, helping to strengthen the preeminent arts district in the Mid-South,” said Michael Detroit, executive producer of Playhouse on the Square. “We look forward to continuing our professional partnerships with them, supporting their efforts and welcoming them as longtime friends.”

In addition to the building’s features, Opera Memphis was attracted to the potential of new businesses coming to the growing PeCo neighborhood.

“We’re proud to be part of the local effort to develop the neighborhood into an established destination,” Canty said. “Midtown is already known for its thriving arts community, particularly in Overton Square and Cooper-Young, and PeCo is an ideal way to connect them and create a unified arts corridor in Midtown.”

Larger operatic productions during Opera Memphis’s regular seasons will continue to take place in theater venues across Shelby County, including Playhouse on the Square, Germantown Performing Arts Center and the Scheidt Family Music Center at the University of Memphis.

Its annual 30 Days of Opera will remain in its same format with pop-up performances across the county.

Opera Memphis’ administrative team is currently operating in a temporary office space in Overton Square, while rehearsals are being held at the Memphis Music Room, as a part of a unique asset-sharing project.

Architects from brg3s have been working on preliminary designs for the building, with plans to begin construction as soon as possible. The organization anticipates moving into the PeCo headquarters in late 2023. Shane Soefker, Jacob Biddle and Kert Kaiser of Avison Young represented Opera Memphis in the deal.

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