9 of the World’s Most Impressive Opera Houses

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic in the world, but there are also others around the globe that are truly impressive, both inside and out!

1. Teatro alla Scala, Italy

Perhaps one of the most well-known opera houses in the world, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala was inaugurated in 1778 and today remains a hot spot for both opera and ballet. Composers like Salieri, Rossini, Verdi and Puccini have all graced its doors.

Key performances here in 2016 include Swan Lake and The Marriage of Figaro.

2. Palais Garnier, France

Built in 1875, this glorious opera house is a popular sight for Paris visitors. It’s spectacular from the outside with an incredibly detailed façade and gorgeous figures. And on the inside, the marbled grand staircase and chandelier-adorned foyer are breathtaking. If here, keep your eye out for the resident phantom of the opera too!

3. Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman

An incredible example of architecture in Oman, the Royal Opera House in Muscat, has been standing since 2011 and has become a central focus of the cultural and performing arts scene in Oman. It’s a dazzling place to visit at night, but if you’re around during the day make sure you take a tour through the surrounding gardens.

4. Copenhagen Opera House, Denmark

It’s modern, it cost over US$500 million to build and it sits on its very own island! Situated just across from the Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen, this architectural beauty is a must-visit – if not for the opera, then for the auditorium ceiling that’s covered with over 100,000 sheets of 24-karat gold.

5. Vienna State Opera, Austria

Wow, wow and wow! Glorious and inspiring, the Vienna State Opera is a wonder made from stone and marble, and was completed in 1869. The famous composer, Gustav Mahler, was also once a resident conductor here. Today, it is open and showing performances for around 300 days a year, and out of hours it’s possible to take a tour of the building – in English!

6. Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, Spain

Another modern gem, this ‘palace of the arts’ or opera house in Valencia first opened in 2005. And with 17 stories (including 3 underground), it’s the tallest opera house on earth. It’s part of Valencia’s famed complex, City of Arts and Sciences, and contains four performance halls.

7. Metropolitan Opera House, US

In the midst of Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York’s Lincoln Center is one of a kind. It’s been standing since 1966 (though the Met Opera was in operation at a different venue from 1883. Composers, conductors and musicians like Seidl, Mahler and Toscanini have all had stints here.

8. Mariinsky Theatre, Russia

This neoclassical monument is an important one on the opera and ballet scenes in Russia and St. Petersburg. It opened in 1860 (though had many predecessors) and back in the day, you would’ve seen everyone here from composers Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov to famed ballet dancers like Baryshnikov and Nureyev.

9. Teatro Colón, Argentina

There’s much to do in Buenos Aires and visiting the Teatro Colón is just one! Around since 1908 (rebuilt from the former theatre on Plaza de Mayo), the Colón is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, with first-class acoustics and gorgeous red and gold interiors.

In 2016, you can catch operas like Tosca and ballets like Swan Lake.

Places: USA, Italy, France, Spain