16 July 2017

A Long Weekend in Oslo: The Oslo Opera House

I always wanted to visit the Oslo Opera House. I've seen pictures of it before, and it looked very interesting from an architectural point of view, so when we visited, I made sure that I could get a tour of the building. So one afternoon, we went, got tickets for the tour, and learned about this building.

This building is located at the water front, but on the opposite side of the glass developments. It is on its own location, facing the water. And if you see it from afar, it looks like a glacier that is slowly drifting to the sea.

The interesting thing about this building is that you can climb it. The roof starts as a floor, and so you can slowly go up the incline and eventually reach the very top. Sometimes kids go running all the way to the top, and then they would attempt to slide down. Even if you are not an opera fan, the view of the harbor from the top of the building is quite interesting and worth checking out.

Of course I checked out the interior too. It is heavy with wood. Our tour guide was a dancer who was a member of the ballet, and she told us of various considerations that were taken into account when this building was made. It was completed in 2007, so it is fairly new. Unlike other venues, the wooden interior makes it very easy to the eye. I remember watching Madama Butterfly in Grieghallen in Bergen, and that was a very different atmosphere, with plenty of bare concrete. The Oslo Opera House is more warm and welcoming, in that respect.

We also visited the inner areas of the building, including the dressing rooms and the backstage. There are so many things that go to a production! I also like the technical aspects of this building. They do not project the dialogue on the stage, because every seat is equipped with a small screen where you can follow along the opera in a few select languages. It would definitely be great if I can get back to Oslo and watch an opera here someday.

Unfortunately when we visited, there was no show going on which we liked, so we had to content ourselves with a tour of the building. But this definitely is a great asset of Oslo, and is something worth checking out.


  1. It's amazing! I love the contrast between the "cold" appearance of the structure from the outside and the warm feeling brought by the wood inside. Good pick!

    1. Zhu,

      Ah yes, I never even noticed that! I suppose the contrast is much more pronounced during winter when the outside can be thick with snow!

  2. I've been on the roof of the Oslo Opera, but never bothered to go inside. I'll definitely do that when I'm in Oslo :)

    1. Charles,

      The next time I am in Oslo I'll definitely try to see an opera; the interior is amazing and very technologically advanced! And yes, the contrast of the interior and exterior is just great!