Top Ten Opera Houses

Top Ten Opera Houses

Picture: Margravial opera house, with the prince's loge

  1. Sydney Opera House
    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 100 Buildings,
  2. 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 AttractionsTop Ten Operas by Richard Wagner,
  3. 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 Attractions, Top Ten Parisian Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures,,
  4. 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,,
  5. 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,,
  6. Valencia Opera House 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,,
  7. 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,,
  8. 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 theatre, auditorium, formal landscaped gardens, cultural market with retail, luxury restaurants and an art centre for musical, theatrical and operatic productions.
    Links: Top Ten Omani Attractions,,
  9. Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Italy

    Teatro La Fenice (“The Phoenix”) is an opera house in Venice, Italy. It is one of the most famous theaters in Europe, the site of many famous operatic premieres. Its name reflects its role in permitting an opera company to “rise from the ashes” despite losing the use of two theatres (to fire and legal problems respectively). Since opening and being named La Fenice, it has burned and been rebuilt twice more.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions,,
  10. Gothenburg Opera, Sweden

    The Gothenburg Opera is an opera house in Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Links: Top Ten Swedish Attractions,,
  11. 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 theatre 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 Attractions, Top Ten Italian Operas, Top Ten Friezes,
  12. Tenerife Opera House by Santiago Calatrava

    Description: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,
  13. Lyons Opera House, 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,
  14. Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, Spain

    The Gran Teatre del Liceu or simply Liceu in Catalan and Liceo in Spanish, is an opera house on La Rambla in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The Liceu opened on April 4, 1847.
    Links: Top Ten Spanish Attractions, Top Ten Barcelona Attractions,,
  15. Opera Nova, Bydgoszcz, Poland

    Links: Top Ten Polish Attractions,
  16. Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo, Italy

    The Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele, dedicated to king Victor Emmanuel II, is an opera house and opera company located on the Piazza Verdi in Palermo, Sicily. It is the biggest in Italy, and one of the largest of Europe (the 3rd after the Opéra National de Paris and the K. K. Hof-Opernhaus in Vienna), renowned for its perfect acoustics.
  17. Links: Architecture, Top Ten Concert Halls,

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