By the edhat staff
Santa Barbara’s historic Lobero Theater has been named the 11th “Most Beautiful Theater in the World” by Architectural Digest.
The list of eleven spanned across the globe from Australia to China and Italy. The number one slot went to another Southern California destination, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
The remainder of the list from second to tenth place is: Palau de la Música Catalana (Barcelona, Spain), Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City, Mexico), Opéra Garnier (Paris, France), Harbin Grand Theater (Harbin, China), Raj Mandir (Jaipur, India), Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia), Teatro di San Carlo (Naples, Italy), The Vienna State Opera (Vienna, Austria), and Steinmetz Hall (Orlando, Florida).
The Lobero Theater is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary and recently unveiled its historic gold eagle in the foyer.
“Spanning styles and purpose, these stunning buildings prove it’s not just the performances hosted within that can be considered art,” wrote Katherine McLaughlin. “The theaters on this list are opera houses, concert halls, and even movie theaters. Nonetheless, they shine through for their unique designs, creative innovations, and stunning appearances.”
The Lobero is the oldest continuously operating theater in California, and the fourth oldest performing arts theater in the country.
Photo: Patrick Price
Originally founded as José Lobero’s Opera House in 1873, it was later rebuilt in 1924 in a Spanish Colonial Revival style designed by architects George Washington Smith and Lutah Maria Riggs – and even withstood the 1925 monumental earthquake, which destroyed the historic center of the city. Registered as a state and city historical landmark, the Lobero is recognized as one of Santa Barbara’s architectural jewels.
Today, the theater is managed by the Lobero Theatre Foundation, who works to maintain, improve, and operate this notable treasure as a performing arts theater and cultural asset to the community. The Lobero is also Santa Barbara County’s first certified Green Theater and the first historic building to earn this designation.
Whether hosting events of great societal importance, launching the careers of Hollywood legends, serving as an influential jazz venue, or providing a stage for some of the world’s finest performers, the Lobero inspires diverse audiences of all ages. With its relatively small seat count, it affords audiences the chance to see top talent in a more personal, intimate venue.
To commemorate their 150th historic milestone, the theater has mounted a public celebration and awareness campaign to pay tribute to this remarkable landmark, and position the Lobero Theatre to be a prominent, integral, and essential stage for the performing arts in Santa Barbara well into the future.