Bessesen Opera House

Albert Lea Historical Downtown Walking Tour

Bessesen Opera House

Albert Lea, Minnesota 56007, United States

Created By: Freeborn County Historical Museum


Bessesen Opera House, 224 South Broadway

The Bessesen Opera House was designed by St. Paul architects Cederberg and Van Kirk. Constructed in 1916, this building was designed as a 740-seat opera palace to showcase the talents of internationally acclaimed opera prima donna Beatrice Gjertsen Bessesen, by her husband by Dr. William Bessesen. There was a studio for voice lessons on the upper level.

After its debut as an opera palace, it became The Rivoli motion picture theater from 1922 to 1975 and the Rivoli Mini-Mall in 1977. Prior to housing the Rivoli, the building was home to B.B. Theater and Conservatory of Music.

Its French Renaissance style with the three-tiered columned facade gives it a uniqueness which fortunately was not disturbed during the remodeling. The interiors of the second and third floor apartments possess both Arts and Crafts style and Art Nouveau elements including terra cotta fireplaces, art glass skylight, and stained glass windows.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Albert Lea Historical Downtown Walking Tour


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