Looking across the Oslo Fjord I could distinctly see it. It looked like an iceberg floating in the water in Oslo city center. The Oslo Opera House, also known as Operahuset Oslo and Oslo Operahus, is home to The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. I was going to be there three times during my trip to Oslo, Norway. I was getting a tour of the building as well as attending a ballet performance and Opera show.
About The Opera House In Oslo Norway
The main concept behind the Grand Opera House was the roof, which is always open. The architectural firm wanted to create a metropolitan opera house design with space that all Norwegians could use, inside and out, day and night, summer and winter. You will always see people enjoying the exterior of the building. Year-round people walk up the angled exterior surfaces of the building to the roof. From there you will see stunning views of Oslo and the artwork you walked across to get there. The exterior is covered with white granite and marble made in Carrara, Italy. Each block was then numbered and shipped to Oslo, where all 36,000 stones were put into place like a puzzle.
The Norway Opera House cost 500 million Euros to build. It contains 1,100 rooms and offices totaling approximately 414,000 ft2 making it the largest cultural building constructed in Norway since Nidarosdomen was completed circa 1300. There are two performance spaces in the building other than the main auditorium. One can seat 200 people and the other 400 people.
The Main Auditorium
The main auditorium allows about 1,400 people to be seated in a horseshoe shape with three balconies. The purpose is to have the audience seated close to the stage. There is a small display built into the seats that offer a touch screen for guests watching the opera to have a text coming up like subtitles so it can be translated to English.
The moveable Opera House stage is 52 ft2 wide and 130 ft2 deep. The theatre is illuminated by 5,800 handmade crystals in an oval chandelier.
If you are looking for a hotel near the Oslo Opera House check out the Clarion - The Hub Hotel.
There is no amplified sound during Opera performances, so the design team had to work together with the company of acoustics to be able to design the room. The room shape and the materials in the theater are specifically chosen and placed to each other to make the required amplified sound for the volume required of the performances. The design and materials are all about how the sound is absorbed, reflected, and distributed within the auditorium. The main auditorium in the Oslo Opera House is rated as one of the 10 best acoustic rooms for opera in Europe.
The outdoor space had 8,000 people to enjoy the show Carmen at Opera House. It was displayed on a big screen while it was being performed inside in front of an additional 1,400 people.
Events At The Opera House
The Oslo Opera House is home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Various performances of the Oslo Ballet at the Opera House are on throughout the year. The Oslo Opera House events also include performances of the Orchestra.
Costume, Hair, and Make-up
On the guided tour we were taken backstage and through the costume areas. They made a small exhibition to show you what costumes they had designed and made in the past. Currently, there are about 40 people who work in the costume design workshop every day. They are there to make all the custom clothes for the dancer and it’s based on ideas and drawings from the costume designer. Each costume is tailor-made for each dancer.
The designers are freelance designers. They travel and work in different opera houses around the world, so they’re only here for a short time. When they are there, they collaborate with craftspeople to translate the ideas into colors, materials, and shapes, so all the clothes and all the costumes are tailor-made for the specific show and scene.
The Dying Workshop
The Norway Opera House also has a dying workshop on-site, near the seamstress workshop. Here 3 people work only to color fabrics for the costumes or note the code for the fabric. They can also print whatever kind of patterns the designer desires for the costumes.
Hair And Makeup
All types of wigs and facial hairpieces for the costumes are also made onsite. It can take approximately 40 hours, or more in some cases, to make a single hairpiece/wig for a performer. Some shows require up to 200 costumes.
Makeup artists also work with the performers and designers to make sure that the makeup for the performers is exactly the same for each show.
After the shows for the season are complete, all the costumes and props are shipped to a storage facility.
The New Opera House History
The city opera house building was complete in 2007 ahead of schedule and about 50 million under budget. The building and architects have won awards in both 2008 and 2009 for the design of the famous opera house. The firm beat 350 entries to win what would be the second building they designed. There are numerous jobs at the Opera House Oslo for its 620 full-time employees including 300 performers.
Oslo Opera House Tours – Get a full tour inside the Opera House. See what the area looked liked prior to the commencement of building the Opera house. Additionally, you can go behind the scenes and see where the costumes are made and rehearsals take place.
Get your Oslo Opera tickets for the Norwegian Opera and Ballet here.
The Oslo Opera House schedule can be found here.