The no-expense-spared Opera House in Oslo, sloping like an iceberg into the waves, opened in 2008 to international acclaim, at a cost of 4.4 billion kroners.
The Oslo Opera House is not just a cultural center, but an inviting public space which draw visitors in their thousands. The Opera House is today the cornerstone of a dynamic, increasing new residential, cultural and commercial district, emerging in the old industrial port area of Bjørvika.
The modern structure has pride of place on the waterfront, just a five-minute walk from Oslo S (Central) train station, out of the south entrance and across Dronning Eufemias gate. The award-winning design by Norwegian architects Snøhetta is a truly Nordic concoction, built to resemble snow fields and floating ice, with fabulous acoustics. Norway’s largest venue for opera and ballet has three stages, with seating for 1,364 in the main auditorium.
The Opera House was deliberately planned so that even non-opera-goers could find something to enjoy. The sweeping slopes of Italian Carrara marble flank the main bulk of the building, allowing the public to stroll onto the roof, sunbathe, picnic – in short, to claim the building as their own. There is also a gift shop, bar, brasserie and Argent restaurant for fine dining.
The harborside location and radical design have lent the Opera House two unusual features. Much of the Building is below sea level – orchestra members in the main auditorium actually sit 15 meters (50ft) “underwater”. It’s also the only opera house in the world to have its own underwater sea defences, a barrier to protect it should the Oslo – Copenhagen car ferry ever drift off course.
The Stunning Opera House in Oslo, written by Tor Kjolberg