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For This Show, The BLO Had To Turn A Hockey Rink Into An Opera Venue

The performance space is seen Wednesday night, before the audience came in for final dress rehearsal. (Courtesy Liza Voll)
The performance space is seen Wednesday night, before the audience came in for final dress rehearsal. (Courtesy Liza Voll)
This article is more than 1 year old.

High drama. Unbridled passion. Sometimes blood!

Hockey and opera have more in common than you might think. And this week, the kindred spirits converge in an arena that usually hosts skaters, not sopranos.

That’s because the roving Boston Lyric Opera has taken over the state-run Steriti Memorial Rink in the North End for its upcoming production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti.”

But how do you go about transforming a cavernous, cold athletic complex into an intimate cabaret-like setting with a stage that calls to mind a 1950s New York City nightclub? With a lot of gear and glitz.

The 15,000-square-foot rink is now prettied-up with six chandeliers that hold 144 light bulbs and 1,000 feet of hand-strung crystal beads. There’s also 4,000 square feet of pink carpet, 837 feet of rental drape, 144 table lamps and 425 gold Chiavari chairs.

Here's a look at how it took shape before opening night:

Workers move the BLO's equipment into the Steriti Memorial Rink. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Workers move the BLO's equipment into the Steriti Memorial Rink. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Aurelia Lyman, left, and Taylor Hansen position one of the six chandeliers in the rink-turned-opera house. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Aurelia Lyman, left, and Taylor Hansen position one of the six chandeliers in the rink-turned-opera house. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Taylor Hansen installs a light bulb onto one of the chandeliers. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Taylor Hansen installs a light bulb onto one of the chandeliers. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
These pink lamps will be placed on the tables and around the perimeter seating. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
These pink lamps will be placed on the tables and around the perimeter seating. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Aurelia Lyman makes some minor adjustments to a chandelier. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Aurelia Lyman makes some minor adjustments to a chandelier. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Melanie Becaling, Julie Lagevin and Bruno Baker work on the props for the stage. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Melanie Becaling, Julie Lagevin and Bruno Baker work on the props for the stage. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Joseph Gurkan, left, and Taylor Hansen work on a chandelier a week and a half before opening night. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Joseph Gurkan, left, and Taylor Hansen work on a chandelier a week and a half before opening night. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A rendering of the set for the BLO's production of "Trouble in Tahiti." (Courtesy BLO)
A rendering of the set for the BLO's production of "Trouble in Tahiti." (Courtesy BLO)

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Andrea Shea Twitter Senior Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.

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