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Oslo Opera House
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrAs you enter the Oslofjord by ferry, you cannot help but notice the Oslo Opera House overlooking the harbor. With its unique futuristic design, especially the famous marble roof that gives the impression of the whole building rising from the sea, this modern edifice stands out as the newest landmark of Norway, and the largest cultural structure to be built since the 14th century. Covering an area of 38,500 square meters, it contains a total of 1,100 rooms and 1,364 seats for the main auditorium. There are two extra halls for smaller shows with a capacity of 200 and 400 seats respectively. The main stage measures 16 meters in width and 40 meters in depth.
The roof is angled in such a way so it won't block the panorama from the inside, and continues into a slope that serves as a staircase, this being the usual way of going up. This makes the building appealing to skateboarders and teenagers in general. Though white granite dominates the façade, the lobby and its 15 meters tall windows of minimal framing and special glass pose a contrast and also allow a breathtaking view of the harbor and fjord mouth.
The interior is made of oak to keep the inside warm and to counter the cool serenity of the outside visage. The main auditorium is a U-shaped hall overlooked by a huge chandelier of no less than 5,800 handmade crystals.
HistoryBesides hosting the Oslo Opera and Ballet, the Oslo Opera House was intended to be an architectural attraction, and after a long debate the authorities green-lighted the project in 1999. Construction began in 2003 and was finished in 2007, before schedule and $ 50 USD million under the allocated budget. The Opera won a number of prestigious awards, including the International Architecture Award (2010) and de Mies vand der Rohe Prize (2009).
VisitsThe Opera House is open daily between 10 AM and 6 PM. Visiting tours are free of charge, and they last for about an hour. Guided tours can also be booked in advance for a maximum of 25 people, and are available in English, German and French.
Show tickets can be purchased at the box office, by phone or online. Ticket prices vary between 600 NOK to 1,200 NOK, but make sure to book in advance. However, if you follow the offers on the website, sometimes you can find major discounts for as low as 100 NOK.
The roof is of particular interest for tourists and teenagers, as it offers a unique landscape, and sometimes, when weather permits, concerts are held on it. Inside the Opera building you can also have dinner or enjoy a few drinks at the bar.
How to Get ThereThe Opera House is situated in the center of the city, on the fjord's pier. The easiest way to get there is to walk on the Karl Johan Street, and the clusters around it will eventually lead you there. As a point of reference, it is close to the Oslo Central Station, the terminus of the Drammen, Gardermoen, Gjøvik, Hoved, and Østfold lines. Using an Oslo Pass will grant you free transportation in zones 1 and 2, as well as a discount for guided opera tours.
Other FactsNorway is known for being big on alternative energy, and the Oslo Opera House is no exception: most of the building's energy is drawn from solar panels.
A few art projects have been authorized to enhance the Opera House, out of which the most prominent is "She Lies", a sculpture by Monica Bonvicini made of glass and steel. The art piece is very popular because of its installment on a floating concrete platform, which according to tides, changes position and offers a different view every time.
The rafters in the lobby are masked by a holed-wall panel designed by Olafur Eliasson . Due to its hexagonal opening and angled illumination, it imitates melting ice.
The curtain in the auditorium is the creation of Pae White, and it resembles crimped aluminum foil. This has been accomplished by weaving the curtain from wool, after a scanned crumpled piece of foil, combined with polyester and cotton, which gives the curtain its three-dimensional aspect. It measures 23 meters wide and 11 meters tall, and weighs about 500 kilograms.
What Else to VisitIf you find yourself in Oslo you shouldn't miss its other attractions. The city is not a metropolis, and can be traveled rather easily. The Frogner Park is really popular for its avant-garde stone sculptures, along with the Vigeland Museum, both dedicated to exhibits of Manuel Vigeland. The Royal Palace, the Viking Ship Museum and the Arkhesus Fortress offer a lapse into history for the passionate, while the Winter Park and Holmenkollen Ski Jump are great attractions if you are looking for recreation and sports.
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Author: aelumag. Last updated: Apr 05, 2015