Minnesota Opera Center
Please Note: Minnesota Opera performs at the Ordway in St. Paul. Only select performances take place at the Opera Center.
The Minnesota Opera Center is located at:
620 North First Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Directions and Parking
From Saint Paul: Take 94 West to the Fifth Street exit for downtown Minneapolis. Prior to the Metrodome take a right hand turn onto Eleventh Avenue. Turn left on Washington Avenue and follow to Hennepin Avenue. Turn right onto Hennepin Avenue and follow to First Street. At that intersection you’ll see the new Federal Reserve Bank on the left. Turn left onto North First Street and follow it approximately .5 miles up into the warehouse district. You’ll pass Ribnick Furs on your right and the Creamette Apartment Building complex on your right and the Riverstation condos on your left. The Minnesota Opera Center is located on the right side of the street between Gaar Scott Lofts and The Lab Theater (former home of The Guthrie Lab).
From South Minneapolis: Take 35W north to the main exit for downtown Minneapolis. This will lead you onto Fifth Avenue. Follow Fifth Avenue all the way down to Washington Avenue. Turn left onto Washington Avenue and continue to Hennepin Avenue. Turn right onto Hennepin Avenue and follow to First Street. At that intersection you’ll see the new Federal Reserve Bank on the left. Turn left onto North First Street and follow it approximately .5 miles up into the warehouse district. You’ll pass Ribnick Furs on your right and the Creamette Apartment Building complex on your right and the Riverstation condos on your left. The Minnesota Opera Center is located on the right side of the street between Gaar Scott Lofts and The Lab Theater (former home of The Guthrie Lab).
From 394-Western Suburbs: Take 394 East to the exit marked for the downtown parking garages. Follow this until you see the sign for Washington Avenue and Third Avenue North. This brings you to the intersections of Washington Avenue and Third Avenue North. Continue through the light and along Third Avenue North to North First Street. At this intersection you’ll see Ribnick Furs. Turn left onto North First Street and go approximately three blocks. The Minnesota Opera Center is located on the right side of the street between Gaar Scott Lofts and The Lab Theater (former home of The Guthrie Lab).
From 94- Northern Suburbs: Take 94 to the West Broadway exit. Turn left at the light and cross over 94. Go to Second Street, which is the second light, and turn right onto North Second Street. You will cross Plymouth Avenue, continuing on North Second Street. On your left you’ll see the side of the Star Tribune Printing Plant. At the front of this building will be your first available left turn. Turn left and follow across the front of the building to North First Street. After one block turn right onto North First Street (there is no other choice). The Minnesota Opera Center is located on the left side of the street between The Lab Theater (former home of The Guthrie Lab) and Gaar Scott Lofts.
Parking is available on the street next to the Minnesota Opera Center. The Minneapolis Parking website has an interactive map to see where these meters are located. There is also a pay lot across the street. Do not park in spots designated for other companies, private citizens, or Minnesota Opera staff; vehicles will be towed.
History of the Opera Center
In 1990, the Minnesota Opera renovated three Minneapolis warehouse buildings in which to consolidate its scenic and costume shops, rehearsal facilities and administrative offices. The Minnesota Opera Center, located at 620 North First Street in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis, is adjacent to the Itasca development and the former home of the Guthrie Lab Theater. The project was developed with the assistance of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency and financed by First Banks, N.A. (now US Bank).
“The consolidation of our operations at the Minnesota Opera Center dramatically enhanced the interaction and capabilities of the Opera,” said President and General Director Ryan Taylor. “This project strengthened us artistically and institutionally by providing a functional, creative work environment and by stabilizing overhead costs.”
The North First Street location was chosen after a two-year search. The three properties, at a total of 50,000 square feet, provide for a clear-span scenic shop, costume shop, a large rehearsal hall the size of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts stage, a smaller rehearsal hall, coaching rooms, administrative offices and extensive storage facilities for scenery and costumes. The large rehearsal room, called the Bemis Rehearsal Hall, occasionally serves as a performance space for small-scale and workshop productions. The expanded scenic and costume shops have enabled the Opera not only to build the majority of its own productions but also to increase the amount of contract work it can do for other arts organizations. In the past, the Opera has built productions for Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Texas Opera Theater, Ohio Ballet, Opera Omaha, Children’s Theatre and Plymouth Music Series. The Opera also frequently builds the operas that it co-produces with other opera organizations, as it did for the 1998 production of Aida.
“The Minnesota Opera Center is one of the finest and most comprehensive opera facilities in the nation,” said Taylor. “Its creation represented a major step in the growth of this company.”
The cost of acquisition and renovation of the Minnesota Opera Center was approximately $3 million. Phillips Klein Companies served as the architect and general contractor for the project. David Phillips, President of Phillips Klein, was the design architect. Phillips Klein also served as the architect and general contractor for the Guthrie Lab.
Charles Leer, project developer for the Minnesota Opera Center, is a real-estate developer specializing in the area of adaptive reuse. His work focuses on conception and execution of projects involving older buildings that have outlived their original purposes and require adaptation to meet current needs. Mr. Leer also conceived of and managed the development of the Guthrie Lab.