Bringing cultural events and music to Appalachia and the Hocking Hills area is a primary goal at Stuart’s Opera House. The opera house has been a monument to the arts and culture in the Hocking Hills area for decades. High profile acts from around the world have performed in the historic brick building in Nelsonville, Ohio.
The tradition began in the late nineteenth century with George Stuart. A showboat owned by Stuart traveled through Ohio with a minstrel group. His boat, the “Arizona” sand along the Erie Canal during a treacherous storm in the year 1869. The showman returned to the Appalachian region during the height of the coal boom. Stuart worked diligently to bring his dream of opening an opera house to life.
Today, after renovations and the Opera House Guild organizes events and shows year around. Guild membership is always open to anyone who chooses to support the opera house. Students from schools around the region have made countless field trips to Stuart’s Opera House. Performance including music, Chinese and Russian cultural performers, magic, and a myriad of musical genres has all been viewed by the rural schoolchildren.
Stuart’s Opera House is widely regarded as the performing arts center in southeastern Ohio. Some performances are held free of charge. One such production, An Da Union will be held at Stuart’s Opera House January 24. The troupe performs music and dance inspired by their homeland of Mongolia.
The Pine Leaf Boys will begin their stint in the Hocking Hills area January 30. 2009. The group will perform Cajun and Creole music, popular in their home state of Louisiana. The quintet has performed around the country to rave reviews. Tickets for the show begin at $15 per person.
A music swap meet presented by the opera house and Aqua bear Legion will be held January 31. All types of music, instruments, music gear, and even old-fashioned 33 records will be available for browsing. There is no charge to attend the event, which begins at noon.
The Canadian band, Cowboy Junkies will rock the house February 6. Tracks from the band’s new album “At the End of Paths Taken” will be performed live on stage at Stuart’s Opera House. The band has a 23-year career, and still features all of the original band members.
The second Annual Winter Jazz and Blues Festival will be held February 7. General admission tickets are $15; with the show, beginning at 7 p.m. World-class talent is expected to delight the large crowd expected for this popular event. Mark Pender is the headliner for the event, as formerly played trumpet on the Conan O’Brien show.
A full slate of Stuart’s Opera House events can be found at www.sturatsoperahouse.org