As the warehouse nears its final days, antiquated tools, machines, and containers sit covered in dust, awaiting their fate. A giant motorized washing and dyeing machine occupies a windowless room on the fourth floor. Down the stairs to the second story, the paint room breathes color into the drab darkness of the warehouse. The barrels that held the powdered paints, once used to create the cityscapes and tropical paradises of favorite operas, are forever stained in vivid purples, blues, and yellows. One barrel oozes a shocking pumpkin-orange. The room is a colorful reminder of how untouched the building remained for so long. An ancient carbon arc spotlight was once hand controlled by the lighting team. The heat produced from the lighting board was so great that the electricians would run the machine dressed only in their underwear.
How it all started—and ended
A little girl's—and collector's—utopia
All things opera
Photograph: Kate Roth