The old warehouse guarded its secrets for three-quarters of a century, until a developer came along with plans to turn the space into lofts. In one final burst, a time capsule of opera history was opened to the public.

History >>
How it all started-and ended

Equipment >>
Where (and how) the magic happened

Costumes >>
A little girl’s-and collector’s-utopia

Props >>
All things opera

Photograph: Kate Roth