The construction of the new opera house – designed by the acknowledged Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta – is the largest single cultural-political initiative in contemporary Norway. It took five years to build and the cost was about 500 million Euros. The result is an extraordinary building that rises directly from beneath the fjord. The white marble clad roofs cape forms a large public space in the landscape of the city and the fjord (click all pics to bigify and enjoy):
‘The design takes from the city and gives back to the city; It directs, but is nevertheless subservient and puts people and the magic and power of the House at the centre of the place. It creates an unexpected dynamic both externally and internally to the benefit of lovers of opera and ballet, the city of Oslo and the international community.’ That’s was the jury’s characterisation when Snøhetta won the design competition after Norway’s National Assembly (Stortinget) in 1999 approved the building. Groundwork began in 2003 and the opening was on April 12 2008.
Up to 50,000 persons visit the new monumental building at the Oslo waterfront each week. Some of them to experience the music or/and watch the ballet of course, but actually most of them for a recreational adventure. This really shatters the myth about a cultural building like the opera being dull and difficult and only an indoor adventure and shows that the opera is more than entertainment for the bourgeoisie. I was there for that reason a week ago and gladly take you along to give you the proof of the pudding – bon appétit:
I take it you see the geese in the water, but if you look right off from the shore in the middle of the picture, you’ll see swans too:
If you walk on the roof – well, yes: Oslo Opera House is the worlds only where you’re not just able to, but are meant to go on the roof! At first there is magnificent scenery:
Here you might spot the swan has gone into the water.
Then there is a wonderful playground for recreation and relaxation:
The day after a Russ party 🙂
Another example of putting aesthetic experience for the people: The huge glass walls give interesting reflection for those (not only professionals!) who wants to experiment with their camera (mind you; I only used my Nokia N82, so bear with me the quality):
I walked around on the Opera House for hours that Saturday and to me it was a quality time experience even though my music taste is closer to Reggie and Bob Marley than Carmen, the French opera comique by Georges Bizet 😆
Others than Norwegians seam to like this special construction too: For 2008: Mies van der Rohe Award went to Snøhetta’s Oslo Opera House!
If you like to experience more of Oslo Opera, you may read my other posts so far:
If you like a unique way to experience culture for real people, you’re always welcome to visit me in Oslo – I’ll gladly walk with you on the white marble roofs of our Opera House 😉