A night at the opera at one of the world’s most beautiful theaters is just a short drive away if you live in Southern California.
Architectural Digest has just named its 11 “Most Beautiful Theaters” in the world, with one of downtown L.A.’s most recognizable landmarks being honored, as well as another historic venue in Santa Barbara also cracking the list.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles was named to the list. Officially christened in 2003, the venue, designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry, is “a frequently cited example of deconstructivist architecture,” the magazine writes.
Home to the L.A. Philharmonic, the iconic venue, with its sweeping design and stainless steel curves that glow like a literal beacon in the sunlight, is also widely considered one of the “most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world.”
Gehry, 94, is a world-renowned architect who has designed and built buildings across the globe, each thoughtfully unique from one another, while also distinctly crafted in his signature styling.
He also designed the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada — the city in which he was born.
While the Disney Concert Hall is incredible from the outside, the interior is just as striking, with its centerpiece a 6,134-pipe organ that stands in the rear of the stage. The iconic organ’s pipes are often referred to as its, “French fries,” according to the L.A. Phil, and the one-of-a-kind musical instrument is one of the most complex and delicate in the world.
Planning of the 2,265-seat concert hall first began in 1987 with a $50 million gift from Lillian Disney, Walt Disney’s widow. The gift was made as a tribute to Walt’s love and dedication to the arts.
Another Southern California theater made the magazine’s list, although its charm and sophistication comes from its robust history, rather than its state-of-the-art and groundbreaking technology.
The Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara was built more than 150 years ago as an opera house in a refurbished schoolhouse. It was renovated in the 1920s and turned into the jewel of downtown Santa Barbara.
Understated, simple and charming are the calling cards of the Lobero. Like the rest of the city’s main culture hub, it was designed in the Spanish Colonial style with white exterior walls and clay roof tiles.
That same architectural design is emblematic of the city known as the American Riviera.
It was designed by California architect George Washington Smith in collaboration with Lutah Maria Riggs, according to Architectural Digest.
The Lobero hosts hundreds of concerts and other events each year, with acts ranging from high school choir concerts to A-list entertainers.
The website and magazine named its most beautiful theaters last week, with the United States receiving the most honors, the two California theaters and a third theater in Florida.
To see the complete list and learn more about each venue, click here.