A Vast Change in the Appearance of the Hyperion — An Opera House Second to None — One of the Best and Largest in the Country.
“A grand change has taken place in the appearance of the Hyperion theater since the last season came to a close, and as the old theater people have been so used to seeing it it can hardly be recognizable now.
On Saturday night last Dr. A. E. Winchell, the owner of the opera house, and G. B. Bunnell, who, together with his already arduous duties as manager of the Grand Opera House, has taken upon his shoulders the managership of the Hyperion, invited a few of their friends to view the improvements. Probably no two happier men could have been found Saturday night than Dr. Winchell and Mr. Bunnell.
The opera house was lighted up for the first time this season. One of the first improvements that will be noticed is the change in location of the box office into the outside entrance, just before going into the lobby. The two places which used to be used for ticket offices have been entirely done away with, as they proved a great hindrance to the people by projecting into the parquet circle and taking up much room. Then another thing, whenever a solemn passage was being said on the stage, the telephone bell would generally ring. Every word could be heard by the audience that was said through the telephone. Very frequently one would hear a spirited dispute going on over who should have the most of the box receipts. These annoyances will be no longer.
The lobby is decorated very handsomely. The electric light has been taken out, and gas put in its stead, giving thereby a better tone to the decorations. They are not gaudy, but are artistic.
A vast revelation has taken place in the interior. Everything now carries with it a most home-like appearance, which cannot fail to be appreciated. Things seem to have been done which will prove inviting to the amusement-loving public. New carpets have been put down and more room is given at the rear of the parquet circle. The ceiling under the dress circle and beneath the gallery also is frescoed with a trestle work in brown shades and the rest is left with a simple background of brown. The private boxes have been finished off in gold leaf, which gives them a quiet, subdued look. The proscenium arch is a feast for the eye. Over the parquet close to the ceiling hangs a large glass drop cluster surrounded by eight satellites of same appearance. The whole glass work is backed by a groundwork made in representation of the sun or emblematic of the word ‘Hyperion.’ When the lights are on the effect produced by this arrangement is dazzling and beautiful. It will prove an attraction for the gallery. The decorating was done with a view to harmony by Wm. Healy & Co. and they have been most successful. The new drop curtain will be here this evening. It was painted by Voegtlin, the noted New York scene artist, who will be at the Hyperion during the coming season.
The Hyperion is now one of the finest theaters in the country. The new name was suggested by Mrs. A. E. Winchell. It will be opened on Thursday evening, when everyone will have a chance of seeing for themselves the many changes which have taken place. Manager Bunnell and Dr. Winchell are justly proud of their new (as it were) theater.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Monday, September 19, 1887. (top) “Mrs. Catherine S. Winchell, founder and first president of the St. Ambrose Music Club, New Haven, Conn.” Image courtesy of Google Books, The Musical Monitor, Volume 11, “Facts and Folks in Musical Clubdom, The St. Ambrose Music Club,” Mrs. David Allen Campbell, publisher, 1921