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Oslo Opera House recreational Culture for the People

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):

Oslo Opera House to the People #1

‘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:
Oslo Opera House to the People #3

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:
Oslo Opera House to the People #4 Oslo Opera House to the People #6

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:
Oslo Opera House to the People #10
Here you might spot the swan has gone into the water.

Then there is a wonderful playground for recreation and relaxation:
Oslo Opera House to the People #9
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):
Oslo Opera House to the People #12

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 :lol:

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:

New Oslo Opera House in Norway
A guided tour in Oslo with David Gurteen
Olga at the New Oslo Opera House

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 ;-)

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  1. This is quite a beautiful building and very innovative. I would like to see the performance space. Have you attended a performance there? Are the acoustics good? Sometimes concert halls have to be “tuned” for optimal acoustics. Nice post, thanks.

  2. What an amazing building and so interactive, too. Thanks for that insight into one of the architectural delights of Oslo, Renny.

  3. Very nice photos again from you. I think that the Oslo opera house more than the Sydney one encourages people to take photos of things happening or make studies of people visiting it, not just architectural photos.

  4. Beautiful! I guess I did say this before, but I have to repeat myself: I love your photos and the riting style. I always feel like I have been with you on your events and vacations (and your fabulous dinners of course – the never fail to make me drool all over the place). :-)

    Thank you so much, Renny.
    I will miss the terella and facebook so badly during the next few weeks. We’re moving today and I won’t have internet for ages… but there’s something I can look forward to: Returning as soon as the net will be up and running. :-D

  5. If I ever make it to Oslo, we are so going there! What a terrific building. Can you go back and take pics of it when it’s covered in snow, and when it is covered in snow, do kids sled down it?


    You could of course ski or sled on the building in the winter time, but a bit dangerous to play for kids as its quite staple and the marble stones is rock hard.

  6. Hi Renny, it seems to me there is another landmark in Oslo! Great architecture and landscaping. I’m in the construction industry and personnally I found both architecture and structural design of the new opera building are just marvellous! Can’t imagine how the builder put all imagination into reality.
    By the way, stunning photos taken with just a N82!

  7. it really is a lovely design that is welcoming. so much modern architecture does not feel welcoming but this really does. if i ever get to norway i’ll enjoy a walk on the roof with you and diane. :)

  8. Hey Renny,

    I remember reading your post about the opera House when it opened last year! I remember having loved it – I even spoke of to my family and friends.

    Now, a year later…it still looks gorgeous!
    The view from the roof is splendid! It seems like there are no stairs at all…divine!

    The swans were so cute (I love swans for they are delicate and lovely).

    So, you do not like Carmen, eh? I love that opera, and I have seen it a lot of times. But I also adore Bob Marley!!!! lol ;)


  9. Yes! Sounds I know very well now Oslo Opera since I already read your adventures here with Olga and david G.
    I hope one day I’ll visit it because the feeling inside with the reflect of the light must be marvelous!

  10. Look at these swans!
    Oh, I want try a lazy sunshine sleep at that playground too!
    The only thing I feel regret is I think it looks there are few green plants . :P

  11. That looks like such a fun place to hang out on during a sunny day! Today I noticed the beautiful tulips everywhere making the city so pretty. I need a new camera phone!

    And yes happy mother’s day to Diane! I have a few photos of me from my practice today in my race gear… lol

  12. one amazing architectural work..lots of people gathering there..must be one famous focal point in oslo..even goose hanging out there!

  13. Does culture really make people different, or is it mostly aesthetic? (ie. the food we eat, the music we listen to, the art we enjoy, etc.) When it comes down to things like emotions, thought processes, and intelligence levels, are all people really very similar?

    1. Hi Piter, how nice to see you and thanks for you’re compliment!
      Yes, blogging to me is a hobby – a very important and inspiring one :-)
      PS: You’re English is fine!

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