Image by Angel DiBilio Shutterstock
An opera house in the middle of nowhere? Yes, thanks to the vision of New York dancer Marta Beckett who fell in love with the 1920s colonnaded adobe building when her car broke down nearby in 1967. For decades she entertained the curious with dance, music and mime shows. Marta sadly passed away on January 30, 2017 but visiting performers continue to keep her legacy alive. Check at the adjacent motel about tours and upcoming shows.
Tours focus on the auditorium whose walls Marta personally adorned with fanciful murals showing an audience she imagined might have attended an opera in the 16th century, including nuns, gypsies and royalty. The structure itself was built by the Pacific Borax Company and once the social hub of Death Valley Junction until falling into disrepair after 1948. It sits right on the spot where Hwys 127, 178 and 190 collide (called Death Valley Junction), about 30 miles east of Furnace Creek.