CHQ Attractions Drone Tour: 1891 Fredonia Opera House

There are countless reasons to enjoy living in Chautauqua County, including the many attractions found within our various communities! 

This week we are sharing a drone tour of the historic 1891 Fredonia Opera House in Fredonia, NY – with footage courtesy of our partners at the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center – a nonprofit 501c3 – is Northern Chautauqua County’s premier performing arts center with a year round schedule of live events, concerts, and films.

Since its opening in 1891, the Opera House featured many of the best late 19th and early 20th century entertainers. The stage was graced by such well known personalities as Clara Morris, James O’Neill and Pat Rooney. With a blend of professional and local talent, there were variety shows, light opera and dramatic offerings including Hamlet, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, Ten Nights in a Barroom and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. There were musical recitals and political oratory, graduations and religious services, and demonstrations of wrestling and cooking. Elderly Fredonians recall participating in talent shows featuring tap dancing and singing. From the first decade of the 20th century on, however, there was an increasing presence of motion pictures and, after 1926, while live performances continued periodically, movies dominated until the Opera House closed in 1981.

The Opera House was saved from destruction in the mid 1980s when the Fredonia Preservation Society (which came into existence in response to the threatened demolition) and a corps of committed volunteers undertook what was to become a nine-year restoration of the theater. At a cost of more than $1 million and with more than 30,000 volunteer hours, the Opera House was returned to its earlier splendor and has operated year-round continually since its grand reopening in November 1994.

Today, there are various events at the Opera House, and guided tours are available. The Opera House is also northern Chautauqua County’s only venue for live high definition satellite broadcasts of opera from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, theatre from the National Theatre in London, ballet from Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet, and art and architecture exhibitions from all over the world. Each year in June, the Opera House presents the three-day Bach & Beyond Baroque Music Festival.

In keeping with its mission “to present the performing arts for the benefit of our community and region, while preserving one of our region’s historically significant landmarks,” the Opera House works to keep ticket prices low, and to present a wide variety of nationally and internationally recognized artists.

It can be rented for events. With a 1918 Steinway baby grand piano on site, it’s a perfect venue for recitals and highly desirable for wedding ceremonies with a dramatic flair. The technical staff and multimedia equipment can accommodate the needs for meetings, workshops and conferences. They offer motor coach group tours as well.

More information at the Opera House website –!