Top Ten Concert Halls

Top Ten Concert Halls

  1. Sydney Opera House, Australia

    The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts center in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, opening in 1973 after a long gestation that had begun with his competition-winning design in 1957. Joseph Cahill’s New South Wales Government gave the go-ahead for work to begin in 1958. It is one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centers in the world. The Sydney Opera House is on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbor  close to the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It sits at the northeastern tip of the Sydney central business district (the CBD), surrounded on three sides by the harbor (Sydney Cove and Farm Cove) and inland by the Royal Botanic Gardens. Contrary to its name, the building houses multiple performance venues. The Sydney Opera House is among the busiest performing arts centers in the world, hosting over 1,500 performances each year attended by some 1.2 million people. It provides a venue for many performing-arts companies, including the four key resident companies Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and presents a wide range of productions on its own account. It is also one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, with more than seven million people visiting the site each year, 300,000 of whom take a guided tour. The Sydney Opera House is administered by the Sydney Opera House Trust, under the New South Wales Ministry of the Arts.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, Top Ten Opera Houses,,
  2. Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    The Teatro Colón is the main opera house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. The present Colón replaced an original theatre which opened in 1857. Towards the end of the century it became clear that a new theatre was needed and, after a 20-year process, the present theatre opened on May 25th, 1908, with Giuseppe Verdi’s Aïda. The Teatro Colón was visited by the foremost singers and opera companies of the time, who would sometimes go on to other cities including Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. After this period of huge international success, the theatre’s decline became clear and plans were made for massive renovations. After an initial start of works to restore the landmark in 2005, the theatre was closed for refurbishment from October 2006 to May 2010. It re-opened on May 24th, 2010, with a program for the 2010 season.
    Links: Top Ten Argentinian Attractions, Top Ten Dome Interiors,,
  3. Margravial Opera House, Germany
    Picture: Façade of the opera housePicture: The stage of the Margravial Opera HousePicture: Section from the ceiling painting showing ApolloPicture: Margravial opera house, with the prince's logePicture: Foyer
           The Margravial Opera House or Margrave’s Opera House is a Baroque opera house in the town of Bayreuth, Germany, built between 1744 and 1748 by Joseph Saint-Pierre. It is one of Europe’s few surviving theaters of the period and has been extensively restored. The interior was designed by Giuseppe Galli Bibiena and his son Carlo of Bologna in the late Baroque style. Princess Wilhelmine of Prussia, wife of the Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, participated here as writer, player, composer, actor and director. Today she features in a sound-and-light presentation for tourists. The stage’s great depth (27 m) attracted Richard Wagner, who later had his Bayreuth Festspielhaus built north of the town. Each September from the year 2000 to 2009, the theater hosted the Bayreuther Baroque festival, with performances of early operatic rarities. The 2009 festival included performances of Andrea Bernasconi’s festa teatrale, L’Huomo, to a libretto by the Margravine Wilhelmine. The theater will close in August of 2012 for extensive refurbishment and redevelopment, a process which is expected to take several years to complete.
    Links: Top Ten German Attractions, Top Ten Operas by Richard Wagner,
  4. Palaise Garnier, Paris, France

    The Paris Opera is the primary opera company of Paris, France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d’Opéra and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and renamed the Académie Royale de Musique. Classical ballet as we know it today arose within the Paris Opera as the Paris Opera Ballet and has remained an integral and important part of the company. Currently called the Opéra National de Paris, it primarily produces operas at its modern theatre Opéra Bastille which opened in 1989, and ballets and smaller scale and classical operas at the older Palais Garnier which opened in 1875.
    Links: Top Ten French AttractionsTop Ten Parisian Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures,,
  5. Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    The Concertgebouw is a concert hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch term “Concertgebouw” literally translates into English as “concert building.” Because of its highly regarded acoustics, the Concertgebouw is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world, along with places such as Boston’s Symphony Hall and the Musikverein in Vienna.
    Links: Top Ten Dutch Attractions,,
  6. Konzerthaus, Berlin, Germany

           The Konzerthaus Berlin is a concert hall situated on the Gendarmenmarkt square in the central Mitte district of Berlin housing the German orchestra Konzerthausorchester Berlin. Built as a theatre from 1818 to 1821 under the name of the Schauspielhaus Berlin, its usage changed to a concert hall after WWII and its name changed to its present one in 1994.
    Links: Top Ten German Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures,,
  7. Vienna State Opera, Austria

           The Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) is an opera house, as well as an opera company, with a history dating back to the mid-19th century. It is located in the center of Vienna, Austria. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera (Wiener Hofoper). In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian Republic, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra.
    Links: Top Ten Austrian Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures,,
  8. Musikverein, Vienna, Austria

           The Wiener Musikverein, commonly shortened to Musikverein, is a concert hall in the Innere Stadt borough of Vienna, Austria. It is the home to the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. The “Great Hall” due to its highly regarded acoustics is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world, along with Berlin’s Konzerthaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. None of these halls was built in the modern era with the application of acoustics science, and, with the partial exception of the horseshoe-shaped Colón, all share a long, tall, and narrow shoebox shape.
    Links: Top Ten Austrian Attractions,,_Vienna,
  9. Verona Arena, Italy

    The Verona Arena (Arena di Verona) is a Roman amphitheater in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy, which is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures, Top Ten Arenas,
  10. Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia, Spain

           Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia is an opera house and cultural center in Valencia, Spain. It opened on 8 October 2005; its first opera staging was of Beethoven’s Fidelio on 25 October 2006.
    Links: Top Ten Spanish Attractions,,
  11. Semperoper, Dresden, Germany

    The Semperoper is the opera house of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden (Saxon State Opera, Dresden) and the concert hall of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden (Saxon State Orchestra, Dresden). It is located near the Elbe River in the historic center of Dresden, Germany. The opera house was originally built by the architect Gottfried Semper in 1841. After a devastating fire in 1869, the opera house was rebuilt, partly again by Semper, and completed in 1878. The opera house has a long history of premieres, including major works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
    Links: Top Ten German Attractions, Top Ten Opera Houses, Top Ten Compositions by Richard Wagner, Top Ten Compositions by Richard Strauss,,
  12. Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman
    The Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) is Oman’s premier venue for musical arts and culture. It was officially opened on October 12, 2011, with a production of the opera Turandot, conducted by Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo. The opera house is located in Shati Al-Qurm district of Muscat, Oman. Built on the royal orders of Sultan Qaboos of Oman, the Royal Opera House reflects contemporary Omani architecture, and has a capacity to accommodate maximum of 1,100 people. This opera house is first in the world equipped with Radio Marconi’s multimedia interactive display seatback system, Mode23. The opera house complex consists of a concert theater  auditorium, formal landscaped gardens, cultural market with retail, luxury restaurants and an art center for musical, theatrical and operatic productions.
    Links: Top Ten Omani Attractions,,
  13. Gothenburg Opera, Sweden

           The Gothenburg Opera is an opera house in Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Links: Top Ten Swedish Attractions,,
  14. La Scala, Milan, Italy

           La Scala is a world renowned opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on August 3rd, 1778 and was originally known as the New Royal-Ducal Theatre at La Scala. The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta. Most of Italy’s greatest operatic artists, and many of the finest singers from around the world, have appeared at La Scala during the past 200 years. Today, the theater is still recognized as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world and is home to the La Scala Theatre Chorus, La Scala Theatre Ballet and La Scala Theatre Orchestra. The theatre also has an associate school, known as the La Scala Theatre Academy, which offers professional training in music, dance, stage craft and stage management.
    Links: Top Ten Italian AttractionsTop Ten Italian OperasTop Ten Friezes,,
  15. Boston Symphony Hall, Massachusetts, USA

           Symphony Hall is a concert hall located at 301 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. Designed by McKim, Mead and White, it was built in 1900 for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which continues to make the hall its home. The hall was designated a US National Historic Landmark in 1999. It was then noted that “Symphony Hall remains, acoustically, among the top three concert halls in the world and is considered the finest in the US.” Symphony Hall, located one block from the New England Conservatory, also serves as home to the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Handel and Haydn Society.
    Links: Top Ten US Attractions,,_Boston,
  16. Tenerife Opera House by Santiago Calatrava, Canary Islands

           The Auditorio de Tenerife “Adán Martín,” was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava Valls. It is located on the Avenue of the Constitution in the Canarian capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), and next to the Atlantic Ocean in the southern part of Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Construction began in 1997 and was completed in 2003. The auditorium was inaugurated on 26 September of that year with the presence of Felipe de Borbón, Prince of Asturias, and was later visited by former US President Bill Clinton. The building is framed within the tenets of late-modern architecture of the late 20th century. The majestic profile of the auditorium has become an architectural symbol of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the island of Tenerife and the Canary Islands. It is also regarded as the finest modern building in the Canary Islands and one of the most emblematic buildings of Spanish architecture. In March 2008, it was included by the post office in a set of six stamps (Correos) depicting the most emblematic works of Spanish architecture. It is one of the major attractions of Tenerife and home to the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife (Tenerife Symphony Orchestra).
    Links: Top Ten Canary Island Attractions, Top Ten Architectural Works by Santiago Calatrava,
  17. Zenith Concert Hall, Strasbourg, France

    Zénith de Strasbourg is an indoor sporting arena and concert hall that is located in the city of Eckbolsheim, Bas-Rhin, in eastern France.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions,
  18. Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall, Astana, Kazakhstan

           The Central Concert Hall is a center for performing arts in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan. It was designed by Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti and was inaugurated by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev on the nation’s Independence Day – the 15th of December – in 2009. The building’s shape evokes the dynamism of a flower’s petals as a metaphor for the dynamism of music itself. The building’s external structure comprises a series of curved inclined walls made of concrete with a blue back painted glass panels cladding. Those structures protect the building’s interior functions from Astana’s harsh weather conditions. The building features a 30 m high foyer which extends over 3.000 square m, which is intended to create an urban-scale internal public square that could welcome the citizens of Astana throughout the entire year. The building contains three different music halls, as well as restaurants, shops and bars. The main Concert hall for 3,500 seats is one of the biggest of its kind and is capable of hosting a multitude of different events, from classical to pop music, ballet and conferences thanks to its acoustic flexibility. This flexibility is produced by a system of acoustic curtains and a special false ceiling design called a black-hole, which absorbs most of the acoustic reflections of the hall. The two smaller halls, of 400 and 200 seats respectively, have been designed to be flexible enough to host chamber music as well as cinema and conferences.
    Links: Top Ten Kazakhstani Attractions,,
  19. Berlin Philharmonie Concert Hall by Hans Scharoun, Germany

           The Berliner Philharmonie is a concert hall in Berlin, Germany. Home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the building is acclaimed for both its acoustics and its architecture. The Philharmonie lies on the south edge of the city’s Tiergarten and just west of the former Berlin Wall, an area that for decades suffered from isolation and drabness but that today offers ideal centrality, greenness and accessibility. Its cross street and postal address is Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, named for the orchestra’s longest-serving principal conductor. The neighborhood, often dubbed the Kulturforum, can be reached on foot from the Potsdamer Platz station. Actually a two-venue facility with connecting lobby, the Philharmonie comprises a Großer Saal of 2,440 seats for orchestral concerts and a chamber-music hall, the Kammermusiksaal, of 1,180 seats. Though conceived together, the smaller venue was added only in the 1980’s.
    Links: Top Ten German Attractions, Top Ten Architectural Works by Hans Scharoun,
  20. Lyons Opera House by Jean Nouvel, France
           The Opéra Nouvel (Nouvel Opera House) in Lyon, France is the home of the Opéra National de Lyon. The original opera house was re-designed by the distinguished French architect, Jean Nouvel between 1985 and 1993 and is named after him. In 1756, one of the first opera houses created inside an existing freestanding building was opened in Lyon. It was designed by Jacques-Germain Soufflot, the architect of the Panthéon in Paris. By early in the following century it was found to be too small, and Antoine-Marie Chenavard and Jean-Marie Pollet erected the new Lyon theatre which opened on July 1, 1831. It was considered rather undistinguished, but served its purpose. It was not until 1985 that the City decided to once again re-build the opera house, but this time it was to be within the shell of the existing 1831 building. One of France’s most distinguished architects was commissioned to create the house. The style of the house is essentially Italian with a horseshoe-shaped auditorium and tiers of boxes. Leaving only the existing foyer and the exterior façade, Nouvel tripled the space within the house by excavating below ground to create rehearsal space and, most strikingly, by doubling the height of the building by creating a steel and glass barrel vault which hid the fly tower as well as providing space for the ballet company. It has been noted that this achievement was “an architectural tour de force, in which the past has been successfully wedded to the future..”, albeit with the limited backstage space of the 19th Century theatre still remaining. Its capacity is about 1,100 seats.
    Links: Top Ten French AttractionsTop Ten Architectural Works by Jean Nouvel,
  21. Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

           The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall in Barcelona, which was designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth) (Benton 1986, 56; Fahr-Becker 2004, 199). The project was financed primarily by the society, but important financial contributions also were made by Barcelona’s wealthy industrialists and bourgeoisie. The Palau won the architect an award from the Barcelona City Council in 1909, given to the best building built during the previous year. Between 1982 and 1989, the building underwent extensive restoration, remodeling, and extension under the direction of architects Oscar Tusquets and Carles Díaz (Carandell et al. 2006, 138). Today, more than half a million people a year attend musical performances in the Palau that range from symphonic and chamber music to jazz and Cançó (Catalan song).
    Links: Top Ten Spanish Attractions, Top Ten Barcelona Attractions, Top Ten Stained Glass Windows,,
  22. Municipal House, Prague, Czech Republic

           The Municipal House is a major civic landmark and concert hall in Prague, and an important building in architectural and political history in the Czech Republic. It stands on Náměstí Republiky. Around 1900, the building was commissioned by the city on an odd-shaped lot and the subject of one architectural competition, then another, both unsatisfactory. The job was then simply given to architects Osvald Polívka and Antonín Balšánek, who served as much as artistic coordinators as designers. Construction started in 1905 and it opened in 1912. The Art Nouveau structure is an artifact of the Czech nationalism of the time and carries a wealth of ornament by some of the leading Czech artists of its day. The main facade features a large ceramic half-dome mosaic above the entry, Homage to Prague, by Karel Špillar. On either side are allegorical sculpture groups representing The Degradation of the People and The Resurrection of the People by Ladislav Šaloun, while the remainder of the rich decoration was done by Josef Mařatka, František Úprka and others, with light stands designed by Karel Novák. Inside there are murals by the famous Alfons Mucha, Jan Preisler and Max Švabinský and others, all of this on nationalist themes. The main space within the Municipal House is the concert space, Smetana Hall, named in honor of Bedřich Smetana. On October 28, 1918, Smetana Hall was the scene of the proclamation of the independent state of Czechoslovakia.
    Links: Top Ten Czech Republic Attractions, Top Ten Stained Glass Windows,,
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