Have a read of my guide to attending the opera in the iconic Oslo Opera House
As you may be aware, Oslo is home to a famous Opera House. It’s design has been applauded world wide as an exemplary piece of contemporary architecture. It was designed to resemble a glacier and an iceberg. It’s made of white marble and granite. The interior is predominantly oak which gives it a wonderfully warm and intimate feeling.
The auditorium looks remarkably like that of the National Opera House in Wexford, Ireland. A building, with which, I am very familiar as I have been performing there since it opened in late 2008.
The best part? The roof slopes to ground level and it is possible to walk on the roof at any time! What’s more, the people of Oslo and the staff of the Opera House openly request people to do so. This is to allow everyone to enjoy this wonderful space, regardless of means. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of Oslo from the highest accessible point!
Before the Opera
There are two restaurants in the Opera House, The Argent Restaurant and the Sanguine Brasserie. Like many restaurants in Norway, they can be expensive. I ate in the Sanguine Brasserie for two reasons. Firstly, it had a much nicer view (out into the Oslo Fjord), and secondly, it was marginally less expensive.
The food was nothing short of amazing! Every forkful was melt in the mouth! It was clear that this was totally normal because every table in the place was occupied with diners. My only advice would be that if you intend to get dinner here before attending a performance is to reserve a table ahead of time and allow plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and savour the food.
Fancy a Souvenir?
The Opera Shop can have unusual opening hours. They can vary hugely depending on what day you want to visit. For the latest times, visit the website, or click here. Rest assured, the shop is usually open during performances too, so you may be able to grab that souvenir before the show or during the interval. This place is great if you’re after something for the music or ballet enthusiast in your life.
Is There a Dress Code?
Nope! Well, not really. The Norwegians generally dress quite casually so most things will go. If you want to get dressed up, feel free. Equally, if you have been doing some top notch touristing all day and don’t get time to get back to where you’re staying to change, that should be ok too! You could feel a little out of place if you’re in a cosy tracksuit though.
As you can see from most of the other people in the photos, the overall dress code is relatively casual/smart casual. If you have a bit of shopping or a big coat to combat the sometimes quite cold temperatures outside, there’s loads of cloakroom space to leave them during the performance.
The Magic Flute at the Oslo Opera House
When I visited I decided to go and see Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”. I have to say, when I saw the way they were interpreting it, I had my doubts, but it was actually brilliant! They interpreted it through a satirical space journey viewpoint. It was sung in Norwegian with English subtitles on individual screens on the back of the seat in front of you. I’m pretty sure there was some ad-libbing during some of the dialogue as there were no subtitles to translate, plus, the audience were cracking up with laughter on more than one occasion!
The Magic Flute is often referred to as a gateway opera, and having seen it, I can totally see why. The story moved with a decent pace, it was also relatively easy to follow. I have found this challenging with other operas in the past due to the language barrier and the repetition for which some opera lyrics are renowned. Even if you can’t make it to this wonderful piece with it’s unusual but ingenious interpretation, I thoroughly recommend The Magic Flute, especially if you are thinking about seeing opera for the first time.
If you’re someone who is always looking for a good spot to get a photo for Instagram, then the Oslo Opera House is the gift that keeps on giving! Everywhere from the foyer to the roof and even across the water from it, you will be able to allow your creative Instagram juices to flow. The light values are exceptional whether it is light or dark outside.
This is one of the examples of the type of photo you can get. For more, keep an eye on my Instagram account @notionsontour if you’re looking for some inspiration!
Opera Houses for the Win!
I love visiting major theatres all over the world. This isn’t simply because I’m into the drama/theatre stuff, although to be fair, it helps! These buildings are often at the cutting edge of architectural design, like this one in Oslo or the most famous one in the world, Sydney. To hear all about a backstage tour of the Sydney Opera House, click here. They can also be a wonderful place to embrace your inner notions and feel a little bit posh, like the famously opulent Vienna State Opera House (read about it here).
These buildings becoming tourist attractions in their own right is testament to how we have embraced the dramatic/performing arts into the centre of our united cultural identity. I for one, hope it will remain there and continue to unite people all over the world and help others to distract from their often busy, hectic and stressful lives, even if it is only for a few short hours. Long live the Arts!
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