As I follow the discussion about the final disposition of the historic Garman Opera House in Bellefonte, I am moved to remind everyone about one of the great values of such a theater: its excellent acoustics.
In 1997 the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra was invited to perform an all-Beethoven program to celebrate the reopening of the Garman. Of course The Consecration of the House was on the program along with Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and Susan Boardman sang incidental music from Egmont.
The stage acoustics were aided by a makeshift shell, and I distinctly recall the excellent sound the orchestra was able to achieve. Many in the audience observed this as well.
It is a shame that, once again, we might lose a valuable house with intimate seating, a stage floor that responds when an orchestra tempts it into resonance and a center for music, opera, theater and dance.
Too many of these treasures are disappearing in the United States, and I hope that in this case the majestic old Garman can be brought back to life.
Douglas Meyer, State College
The writer is the music director and conductor of the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra.