Wilmington’s Grand Opera House – known to its devotees as The Grand – is a pivotal part of life on downtown’s busy Market Street. Built in 1871, this majestic performance hall has welcomed audiences for over 140 years. With its four resident companies and singular performances, the beautiful 1100-seat venue brings 120,000 people downtown to over 300 events a year. But it’s especially exciting when The Grand hosts a performance of the genre it was built for – opera.

OperaDelaware, one of the The Grand’s resident companies, is a thriving regional opera company that offers two major staged productions (usually spring and fall), along with other performances throughout the year. The company is headquartered in a repurposed warehouse on Wilmington’s Riverfront – a short walk from the city’s Amtrak train station – that also houses an elegant loft-style performance space.

Experience Two
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Grand Opera House

  • 818 N. Market St.

Built in 1871, this magnificent concert hall in Downtown Wilmington entertains and engages its communities through exceptional, diverse live performances and educational…


  • 4 South Poplar St.

OperaDelaware is a professional non-profit opera company with a reputation for excellence in both opera and arts education. OD presents both grand opera productions and…

There, the company presents their popular series of intimate song recitals. And they also have a purpose-built mobile stage that takes their lively Pop-Up Opera series into communities throughout the region.

But twice each season, OperaDelaware moves a few blocks north to its home on Market Street and takes up residence at The Grand, where they present fully staged productions of … grand opera! And this spring it’s Puccini’s Turandot.

Presented on May 17 and 19, Turandot is set in ancient Beijing and tells of the icy Princess Turandot, who vows that she will only marry a suitor who can answer her three riddles. If they fail, they'll have a date with the executioner's blade. The Prince of Persia tries, fails, and is executed. But watching these events is an unknown prince who – enchanted by Turandot’s beauty – decides to win her over.

This being grand opera, there are plots and subplots and love stories – requited and unrequited – and exceptionally beautiful music. Composer of some of opera’s most beloved masterpieces, Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) died before he could finish Turandot, leaving its final two scenes unwritten. Based on the composer’s musical sketches, the opera was completed in 1926 by Italian composer Franco Alfono.

Alfano’s ending has become standard practice, but opera is a living artform, and the opportunity to collaborate on the creation of a new ending was irresistible for OperaDelaware General Director Brendan Cooke. He commissioned Derrick Wang – the acclaimed composer of Scalia/Ginsberg (which OperaDelaware has produced) – to write a new ending that will be unveiled here. And for a deeper look into the work, the company offers online pre-performance talks (on May 2 and 9) that are also archived on the company’s website.

Turandot will be conducted by Anthony Barrese (the company’s Music Director since 2017) and staged by director Xinxin Tang, who comes from Singapore (for her company debut) to explore the fantasy world that Puccini was inspired to create. This opera is filled with filled with the composer’s sumptuous music, including the beautiful aria "Nessun dorma.” It’s a riveting tale, composed by Puccini at the height of his powers, a great story packed with great music. And in May, The Grand will shimmer with a grand opera.