As far as classical music goes, opera is great, but you don’t really have to like opera in order to appreciate the beauty of an opera house. Like the musical oeuvres performed in opera houses, the buildings themselves are all about elegance, attention to detail, harmony and drama. The architecture and decor of an opera house plays just as important a part in the delight of the audience as the operas. So whether you’re one of those who has “the red-and-gold” disease that can be cured only by attending a performance, or if you simply like good architecture, here is a list of the most impressive opera houses in the world.
1. Paris Opera, Paris, France
Built in 1875, the Paris Opera is a masterpiece of Belle Epoque baroque style, but it is not the first construction that housed the main opera company of France. The current location is actually called Palais Garnier, although many call it simply l’Opera. The Paris opera company has been in existence since the 17the century. Palais Garnier is the typical opera building, with opulent decorations and impressive size, but not everyone likes it – Claude Debussy, the famous French composer, said that it looked like a train station on the outside and a Turkish bath on the inside.
2. Sydney Opera, Sydney, Australia
There are many opinions about the Sydney Opera, but mostly, you can distinguish two sides: those who hate it, and those who love it. Some people say that the Sydney Opera is one of the ugliest buildings in the world (and it has made a couple of lists too), while others are still swooning about the ingenious design of the building. Love it or hate it, fact is that the Sydney Opera is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.
3. La Scala, Milan, Italy
La Scala is one of the most famous operas in the world, and in its over 200 years of existence, it welcomed some of the most famous artists in the world. The season starts on December 7, St. Ambrose’s Day, so if you want to be there for the grand opening this year, you can start planning already. The opera’s rule is that all performances must end before midnight. The Museo Teatrale alla Scala, which can be accessed from the main opera building, has an impressive collection of costumes and artifacts related to the opera’s history.
4. Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, Russia
The Bolshoi is the grandest, most impressive opera building in Russia, and its ballet and opera companies are also considered to be some of the best in the world. The auditorium is really something to see, covered in ruby fabric and furnished with the most comfortable plush armchairs in the world.
5. Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria
Vienna State Opera is probably one of the most lavish buildings in the world, with its red and gold decorations, statues paintings and frescoes. The auditorium seems like a cross between a gallery and a ballroom, but when the building was inaugurated in the 19th century, the public was quite disappointed with it. However, even after it was rebuilt in the 50′s, it still looks amazing.