And yet, something about the confines of the store were perfect for producing the triple-bill of short operas by Jonathan Bailey Holland that graced Room & Board, courtesy of Boston Opera Collaborative, and it led to a very entertaining, and frequently hilarious, night at the opera.
It's not just a historical vaudeville hoot, but it's as different as it could be from the other two on the line-up - the social-media tragedy of Crystal Wood's Grief Circus, and the feminist-Cinderella of If the Shoe Fits.
You likely noticed that most of the stories are anonymous - but that doesn't mean I never got a name. It's a weird mix of feeling entrusted with delicate information, and feeling laden with a secret that's not mine to tell.
"The strength of any given piece is usually revealed fairly early in the process. Even a first run-through can indicate whether something is going to work or not."
"It's fairly extreme in its demands, and Massenet saved some of the hardest writing for the very end - the duet which closes the opera builds to two high Ds! It requires the singer to finesse a pianissimo one minute, and then have a huge fortissimo outburst over full orchestra the next!"
"The show itself is a grandiose spectacle indicative of traditional opera productions, but more importantly the score written by Julien Bilodeau is incredibly rich, beautiful, impressive and clever."
Graham's performance is gut-wrenchingly sincere and she's as vocally resplendent as ever, even when her voice seems on the verge of breaking with emotion.
The performance I saw was a microcosm of Houston at her best, a perfect example of the glorious, if not uncontroversial, results of numerous talented individuals combining their efforts to create something far bigger than the sum of its parts.
"I am quite certain that most people have no idea of what goes into composing. It is generally not accurately portrayed in film, and so much of it is not at all exciting to watch. However, discovering a new idea, a turn of phrase, an unexpected harmony – these are the precious moments a composer lives for!"
A cast of charismatic singing actors with impeccable comic timing to go with their across-the-board excellent Mozartean singing are the whipped cream and cherry on top of this operatic ice cream sundae.