Great enthusiasm for Norway’s new Opera House at home and abroad

Last updated: 08/06/2009 // Six months after the opening of the spectacular Opera House, Oslo’s new landmark has won the WAF Award for Culture for 2008.

The Norwegian National Ballet on the roof of the Opera House after a performance of Worlds Beyond. Photo: Erik Berg / The Norwegian Opera & Ballet

2008 Award for Culture
The international jury at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Barcelona decided that this year’s award for the category “Culture” should go to the new Opera House in Oslo. The Opera House was designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, and is the largest cultural project in recent times in Norway.

The Opera House in Oslo is the only opera building in the world where visitors can wander around on the roof. Photo: Erik Berg / The Norwegian Opera & Ballet

800 000 visitors
In addition to its outstanding architectural design, the jury highlighted the popularity of Oslo’s Opera House among the local population. An estimated 800 000 people have walked on the roof of the Opera House since it was opened in April. It has clearly become a meeting place for a far broader group of people than those who are normally interested in opera and ballet. Openness and accessibility are essential themes in the design.

  • Visit the Opera House here

The Opera House is in full swing, and only 2% of pre-Christmas tickets are still available. Photo: Erik Berg / The Norwegian Opera & Ballet

Opera and ballet back in vogue
But it’s not just the building that people come to see. Never before have so many opera and ballet performances been sold out. This time last year, only three out of ten available tickets were being sold, whereas the figure now is seven out of ten. In order to meet the phenomenal demand, the Opera House has started to sell “standing room only” tickets.

The main stage. Norway’s largest chandelier hangs from the ceiling – designed by Snøhetta and produced by the Norwegian glassworks Hadeland Glassverk. Photo: Erik Berg / The Norwegian Opera & Ballet

Well-deserved prize
Snøhetta’s design has shown that architecture can have an immense impact on people’s enthusiasm and involvement. It is precisely this achievement that is recognised by this year’s WAF Culture Award.

This year, the National Ballet celebrates its 50th anniversary. Photo: Erik Berg / The Norwegian Opera & Ballet

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