HUDSON, N.Y. >> When Hudson Hall opens at the Hudson Opera House on Saturday, it will represent the culmination of a 25-year quest to restore the historic 1855 building on Warren Street, which previously served as City Hall, to its former glory.
The 300-seat performance space on the second floor will open with the organization’s annual proprietors ball.
The oldest surviving performance hall in New York State, the opera house once played host to Susan B. Anthony on two occasions, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Teddy Roosevelt.
Perhaps no one will have a bigger smile at the opening gala than Executive Director Gary Schiro, who took the helm of the opera house in 1998.
“I’m coming up on 19 years of my own tenure here, and it’s been gratifying to see the community support that’s helped make this happen and support from so many different sources all over the state,” Schiro said.
A community day on May 21 features free performances and workshops by the Hudson-based Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.
Opening concerts include Classics on Hudson’s first season under the artistic direction of Eugenia Zukerman, concerts by Brooklyn Rider, virtuoso violinist Tim Fain, and NPR’s Christopher O’Riley performing with cellist Matt Maimovitiz.
Programming will be a mix of older chamber and folk music with contemporary music and touring artists from all over the world, performances, dance companies and lectures, Schiro said.
“This is exactly what the opera house did in its heyday, and it will help serve a wide range of audiences at a time some have expressed concerns that audiences at cultural organizations are becoming less active,” Schiro said.
On a recent afternoon, Schiro offered a tour of the building. Walking through a hallway on the ground floor that houses a large art gallery, sunlight shined down on a wooden staircase in the back that leads upstairs to the…