When Hurricane Katrina flooded the Orpheum Theater in August 2005, rendering it inoperable, no one could have foreseen that it would take 10 years to put the nearly 100-year-old facility back into commerce.

Under a succession of owners who were unable to do the necessary repair work, the building sat vacant, idle and deteriorating while its principal tenant, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, had to stage its concerts at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts and elsewhere.

Finally, under the joint ownership of Roland and Mary von Kurnatowski from the Tipitina’s Foundation and Dr. Eric George, full repairs and restorations were made to the Orpheum. It will reopen Thursday night with an LPO performance of Gustav Mahler’s appropriately nicknamed “Resurrection” Symphony.

Tonight’s Thursday performance is sold out, although last-minute tickets could become available. On Friday evening, the LPO will perform at First Baptist Church in Covington, then return to the Orpheum on Saturday evening for an encore performance of the Mahler symphony. All three concerts start at 7:30 p.m.

LPO Music Director Carlos Miguel Prieto will conduct the 70-member orchestra. Also onstage with them will be the New Orleans Vocal Arts Chorale, the Loyola University Chorale and soloists Susannah Biller (soprano) and Sasha Cook (mezzo-soprano).

According to the orchestra’s CEO, James William Boyd, “Programming Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’ was partly serendipitous in that we had begun discussing the work as the potential opener for our 25th anniversary season prior to receiving news that the Orpheum itself would be ‘resurrected.’ ”

“Now, a new chapter for the orchestra will begin with Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony,” Boyd added.

“This year we celebrate three milestones: the LPO’s 25th anniversary, Carlos Miguel Prieto’s 10th anniversary as the Adelaide Wisdom Benjamin music Ddirector and principal conductor and our triumphant return to the Orpheum Theater.”

Boyd termed the return to the Orpheum as “a dream come true” for the LPO musicians and its patrons.

LPO clarinetist and orchestra President John Reeks compared the return to the Orpheum with the reopening of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome a year after Katrina.

“The Dome came back, better than ever, and I think the Orpheum is going to do a similar thing for the arts,” Reeks said. “It will definitely be Our — with a capital ‘O’ — home, for the orchestra and our patrons.”

A 42-year veteran of the local symphony orchestra scene and one of the prime movers in the founding of the LPO after the collapse of the New Orleans Symphony in the early 1990s, Reeks praised the von Kurnatowskis and George.

“They did this the right way,” Reeks said. “It’s one of those examples of putting your money where your mouth is or, in this case, putting your money where your ears are. Thanks to them, the theater is back. It’s going to look good and sound amazing.”

Built in 1918 in the Beaux-Arts architectural style of its time, the Orpheum is “one of the few remaining vertical hall designs in the U.S.,” according to the theater’s website.

Patrons seated in the rows farthest from the stage still have a relatively close-up view of the performances, and the acoustics within the ornate interior have been favorably compared with those of New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Newly added customizable seating allows the theater to vary its capacity from 1,500 to 1,800. Other improvements to the venue include “state-of-the-art audio and lighting systems ... to complement the Orpheum’s original acoustic layout,” plus improvements to the dressing rooms, the addition of two gallery-level VIP areas, six fully stocked bars, additional restrooms and a restored elevator system.

The Mahler Symphony No. 2, composed between 1888 and 1894, was first performed in Berlin in 1895 with Mahler himself conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. Consisting of five movements, the piece will be performed by the LPO in its 80-minute entirety with no intermission.