Putting the Ellie Caulkins Opera House inside the historic Quigg Newton Auditorium was like building a ship inside a bottle. The auditorium -- a 1908 buff-colored brick building designed in a neoclassical style by Robert O. Willison -- had become run down over the years and had long since lost its historic interior. And that history was an illustrious one: Then known as the Municipal Auditorium, it hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1908 and later became the city's premier opera house. The inside was restored in 2002 with a gorgeous, neo-modern interior that’s all rich woods and shining glass and metal, and the 2,225-seat theater still hosts opera -- and comedians, ballet performances, songsters representing a variety of genres, and high-school graduation ceremonies.

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