All hurdles for the restoration of the Royal Opera House have been cleared and work has finally begun.
The structure whose foundation was laid 101 years ago is a dilapidated condition and needs urgent repairs.
Two years after the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) gave its nod for the restoration, the civic body gave the commencement certificate in April.
The restoration of the grade II heritage structure, which was in need of dire repair, couldn’t begin for two years as the civic body had not issued the commencement certificate because of issues regarding transfer papers of the property.
“There was a problem with the transfer documents as they were not in order as the property was in the name of the deceased Maharaja of Gondal. But the necessary paperwork was completed and then the commencement certificate was given to initiate the repairs,” said a civic official.
“We began the restoration immediately after we got the commencement certificate from the BMC in April,” said Abha Narain Lambah, conservationist and architect of the project.
The country’s only surviving opera house on Queens’ Road in south Mumbai has been shut from 1991. “We will first undertake structural repairs to strengthen the crumbling structure,” said structural engineer Satish Dhupelia, who is also working in the project.
The construction work was completed in 1912, but several additions were made until 1915 at a cost of Rs 7.5 lakh. The figure atop the pediment was replaced by three cherubs.
A pair of crystal chandeliers from the Sassoon mansion were hung in the auditorium. “After the structure is stabilised, the second phase will look at restoring the interiors,” said Lambah.
The dome is divided into eight parts as a tribute to poets, dramatists, novelists, literati and people from art and culture. All these will also be restored.