10 Beautiful Opera Houses to Visit in a Lifetime | Opera With Pearls

By: Opera with PearlsWed, 05/16/2018

My Bucketlist, Part 1

With summer right around the corner, I lately find myself day-dreaming about the places I could go on vacation. The hard truth about opera is that their seasons usually end around May-June, but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t add some opera to my travels. May opera houses are known for their beautiful architecture, whether they are historic or modern buildings. They can be destinations on their own as many opera companies will offer guided tour during the summer season. It’s a great opportunity to visit backstage and perhaps maybe even take a selfie ON the stage!

Here’s the first part of my bucket list, with some destinations already checked off! Which one would you add to the list?

Teatro alla Scala, Milano, Italy 


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Inaugurated on August 3rd, 1778 with a performance of Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta, Teatro alla Scala’s planks are graced by the best singers in the world.  Some of the greatest works of the operatic repertoire were premiered there, such as operas by Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, and Puccini, to name but a few composers. The theatre gets its name from the church of Santa Maria alla Scala which was located there prior to the theatre’s construction. It was renovated in 1907 into its current 1,987 seat-layout but was severely damaged during World War II. Recent updates to the hall include monitors on the seats to follow the libretto in Italian or English.

Sydney Opera House


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Surely the most recognizable opera house of the world, it is an emblem of Australia at the same level as the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For some of us on the other side of the world, it would be a dream come true to visit! This popular attraction was opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II and welcomes about 8.2 million visitors yearly. It houses Opera Australia in the Joan Sutherland Theatre of 1,507 seats, named in honor of La Stupenda. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, its architecture is recognized for being well beyond its time. The large white sails are often used for projections, such as during the Chinese New Year.

Oslo Opera House, Norway 


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Situated at the head of the Oslofjord, the Oslo Opera House is home to the Norwegian National Ballet & Opera, and recently celebrated it’s the tenth birthday! Recipient of several awards for its architecture, the building is made to look like an iceberg coming out of the water. During the day, the lobby is flooded with sunlight, and pedestrians are welcome to walk up from the ground to the roof to enjoy the beautiful view of the fjord and the city. The Main House, where the opera productions take place, is a horseshoe shape auditorium of 1,369 seats.

Harbin Opera House, China


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Innovative, futuristic, bold, and dynamic, the Harbin Opera House in northern China is breathtaking from every curve, inside and out. Inspired by the surrounding nature and climate, its undulating shape blends in with the wetlands, as if molded snow dunes by the wind. Finished in late 2015, it is the centerpiece of the Cultural Island. The Grand Theatre seats 1,600 patrons and can host Western as well as Chinese opera productions. Visitors can also climb up to the roof to enjoy views of the city skyline and the Songhua River. Unfortunately, finding information on their programmed concerts is virtually impossible, so if you’ve got a tip, please share.

The Metropolitan Opera, New York City


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Because the United-States rarely do anything small, it's no wonder that the largest opera house can be found in the Big Apple. The fan-shaped auditorium has an amazing acoustic and can welcome just over 4,000 operagoers. Part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the opera house opened on September 16, 1966, with the premiere of Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, with Leontyne Price in the leading female role. From the large arched windows, you can see two Chagall paintings on either side of the large stairway adorned by crystal chandeliers resembling constellations.


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This article was originally published on operawithpearls.com. Reproduced with permission from the author.