Royal Opera House, also known as Opera House in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), is India's only surviving opera house. The name ‘Royal’ got prefixed to ‘opera house’ as its foundation stone was laid during the British Raj in 1909, and King George V inaugurated the building in 1911 while the building was still under construction. But it was completed in 1912. Additions were made to the building up to 1915.
With cinematography getting popular in the early 1930s, the opera house was modified for screening films and holding fashion shows. It was in January 1991 that the last film show was held here. There after the premises has been acquired by the erstwhile princely state of Gondal family on a 999 year lease. In 1993, the last public event: the Kathiawad fashion show was held here. The area around the theatre is also referred to as the Opera House in Mumbai.
The Opera House built in baroque design featuring a blend of European and Indian architectural style was conceived in 1908 by Maurice Bandmann and Jehangir Framji Karaka. It was built with exquisite Italian marble on a leased land close to the Kennedy and Sandhurst bridges.
Although the work was completed in 1912, several additions were made until 1915. The pediment figure at the pinnacle was substituted with three cherubs. A pair of unique crystal chandeliers, called the ‘Sans Souci’, donated by the David Sassoon family, which was earlier located in the Sassoon mansion, was shifted to the foyer of the opera house.
Since its inauguration in 1912, the opera house was the pride of Bombay, as the only opera house in the country. The entertainment extravaganza at this opera house was started by American magician Raymond followed by several premiers of the famous Bollywood movies.
The opera house screened not only premieres of Bollywood movies but also live theatre performances by French production Pathé, Prithviraj Kapoor, and Marathi stalwarts like Bal Gandharva and Dinanath Mangeshkar. Lata Mangeshkar, the renowned play back singer of India gave her first performance at this opera house.