Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House, or Operahuset, is situated in the Bjørvika neighborhood of central Oslo, at the heart of the Oslofjord. Its construction was financed from the budget, it is managed by the Norwegian government. The Opera House is the largest cultural building constructed in Norway since Nidaros Cathedral was completed circa 1300. 

Oslo Opera House


The idea to build a national opera House in Oslo first appeared in the end of the 19th century. However only in 1999, after the national-level debates, the Norwegian government decided upon the location of the future theater – the Bjørvika peninsula in the center of the capital next to the Central Station and the sea port. A design competition received more than 200 projects by the architects from all over the world. The winner was the Norwegian company Snøhetta that had become famous ten years ago for its project of the New Library in Alexandria. 


The construction took four years – from 2003 until 2007 – and was accompanied by the archeologists' works. As the location of the future theater was previously the sea bottom, it was highly probable to find there parts of sunken vessels. The archeological excavations were carried out by the experts from the Norway Maritime Museum. The budget of the construction estimated around 300 mln. Norwegian crones, equalling one fifteenth of the whole Norwegian year budget. The great opening on April 12th 2008 was attended by King Harald, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and President Tarja Halonen of Finland. 

In 2008, the Opera House won the culture award at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona. The jury noted its outstanding architecture as well as its special popularity among residents of Oslo and tourists. In 2009, the theater was awarded European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture. 


Snøhetta architects' idea was to build an ultramodern theater building harmonizing with the city landscape, rocks of Oslofjord and the busy sea port, linking the historical center to the West of Bjørvika and modern quarters to the East. 

Oslo Opera House

The building stands on the very edge of the Oslofjord's coast, even goes down to the water. Its main feature is undoubtedly the roof. It angles to ground level, creating a large plaza that invites pedestrians to walk up and enjoy the views of Oslo. While much of the building is covered in white granite and La Facciata, a white Italian carrara marble, the stage tower is clad in white aluminum, in a design by Løvaas & Wagle that evokes old weaving patterns. 


The main auditorium of 1364 seats has a classical horseshoe shape providing high acoustic quality. Smoothly curving walls of the auditorium, balconies, and stairs are paneled with oak. Warm oak contrasts with cold marble of the external surfaces. 

Oslo Opera House

The main auditorium is illuminated by an oval chandelier containing 5,800 handmade crystals. With the diameter of 7 meters and the mass of 8.5 tons, the chandelier is the biggest in Norway. Seats include monitors for the electronic libretto system, allowing audiences to follow opera libretti in Norwegian and English in addition to the original language. 

Oslo Opera House

The electricity is partly provided by the solar panels with a total area of 300 square meters situated on the southern (back) façade of the building. 

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