Norway's new center for ballet and opera opened with a flourish this past weekend. The Norway Post reports:
The building was opened by King Harald [V], who said the new Opera House has become a monumental landmark. . . Among the guests were Denmark's Queen Margrethe, Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and Finland's President Tarja Halonen.
The construction of the new 38,500-square meter (415,000 sqare feet) opera house is the largest single cultural-political initiative in contemporary Norway. It took five years to build and the cost is estimated to 500 million Euros. The result is an extraordinary building in white marble with a slanting roof surface that rises directly from beneath the waters of the Oslo fjord. In addition to a variety of performances in a 1,350-seat auditorium and two smaller auditoriums, this will also be the first opera house in the world where visitors can take a walk on the roof.. . . .
The Oslo Opera House is designed by the acknowledged Norwegian architectural firm Snoehetta.
After the gala opening on Saturday, the first performance in the new opera house is the world premiere of the ballet A Modern Place by renowned Norwegian choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard on Stage 2. This is followed on May 24, when Worlds Beyond by the celebrated Czech choreographer Jirí Kylián will open on the Main stage. Orfeo will be the first opera to be performed in the new opera house, with its Stage 2 premiere on May 29. From April 26 there will also be held Operafest on the Main Stage with selected arias, duets and choruses. The first opera on the Main Stage will be Don Carlo in September 2008, a co-production with The Royal Opera House Covent Garden and The Metropolitan Opera in New York.
The opening season lasts from April 2008 till June 2009 and will be a showcase for Norway and its cultural life, offering top singers, dancers and musicians. Among the guests this first year is Cecilia Bartoli, Bryn Terfel, Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle, René Pape, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim and Neeme Järvi.
The event was commemorated in a new government stamp.
Official Site: Oslo Opera House