Thanks to a grant from the Swedish Council of America, the Swedish American Museum in Chicago is opening a working exhibit for the famous performers of the Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera.
The concept of presenting classical operas on a small stage with Lilliputian singers was invented in the early 1930s. The public was introduced to this unique form of entertainment by Victor Recording Studios during the 1939 New York World’s Fair and a midwest tour that concluded in Chicago in 1940.
Restaurant entrepreneur Fredrick Chramer was inspired by the production and opened a Swedish restaurant and entertainment venue, the Kungsholm, in Chicago in 1941. Fire destroyed the popular establishment in 1947, but it was rebuilt and performances were presented in a new 208-seat theater for patrons who also enjoyed fine Swedish foods.
After Kungsholm closed in 1971, some artifacts of the Miniature Grand Opera were stored at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Relics of the restaurant – dinner plates, silverware, souvenir programs and a miniature Viking ship – were donated over time to the Swedish American Museum, which opened in 1976.
Now the puppets of Chicago’s Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera are back on stage in a special exhibit where visitors can learn about the history of the theater and restaurant, hear the stories of Kungsholm puppeteers and audience members, see dozens of puppets, elaborate set pieces, meticulously detailed props and a smörgåsbord of Kungsholm-related ephemera.
ENCORE! ENCORE! opened September 28 and 
is on display at the Swedish American Museum until November 25, 2018. For more info, contact 773.728.8111 /