Europe’s Best Opera Houses: From Classic to Modern

Going to opera houses to watch live performances may not be something many people do regularly. However, for those who enjoy the music, dance, and drama performed in these halls, it is a great use of their time. Hardly any continent in the world has more opera houses than Europe. The same goes for the attendance of shows traditionally held in these locations. Hence, the region has always had some of the best opera houses from the early times till the present. Here are some of the notable ones.

Royal Opera House

Where else to start but right at the door of royalty? The Royal opera house in London is one of the best in the entire continent. It shares a similar fate with many others who were previously burnt down, only to be rebuilt beautifully. For this opera house, its moment of rebirth was in 1858 and now claims the top attention in Covent Garden, in the heart of London’s West End.

Over the centuries since the theatre was rebuilt, it has hosted many famous performers including Joseph Grimaldi, the clown. Many visit it for the opera and ballet it often hosted but even when there are no performances going on, people visit just to admire the beautiful venue and eye-catching details that bejewel the opera house. When you are done here, take a London to Oxford train to enjoy a different type of scenery.

La Scala

This list, like many similar ones, start with what is arguably the most famous opera house in Europe, Teatro alla Scala. Built in 1778, La Scala was built to replace a previous theatre destroyed by fire. Over the next two years, Austrian Empress Maria Theresa ordered the replacement of the building on the site once occupied by the Church of Santa Maria alla Scala. The result was one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world.

La Scala is known for its remarkably high musical standards, glamour and elegance, thanks to its stunning settings and long list of highly-acclaimed performers. The opera house’s list of performers include some of the Italy’s greatest singers and performers, including Rossini, Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, and Bellini. Some Greece tours can get you so close to Italy that you can take a train to get to this famous opera house.

Zurich Opera House

People visit Switzerland for diverse reasons. As an opera lover, you can prioritise the experience of visiting an award-winning opera house. The Zurich opera house was also built to replace an earlier one lost to fire. It was constructed in a neo-classical style and opened to the public in 1891. Since then, the opera house hosts over 250 performances yearly by well-acclaimed artists and performers.

Zurich opera house hosts a wide range of performances from opera and ballet to classical arts and other events. Since the opera house has an impressive capacity of 1,100 seats, ticket prices may differ for performances, depending on how close to the stage you are seating.

The Vienna State Opera

The state opera in Vienna is hard to miss on a list like this. It is a world-famous theatre with a long history and tradition. Its stunning structure is enough to grab anyone’s attention, but that attention will be sustained even further when you learn about how the theatre operates. Every season, it stages over 300 opera and ballet performances, which locals and tourists have come to look forward to.

In some months, like April, May, June and September, people can watch opera performances under the stars for free. The theatre puts large screens outside and allows guests to have a unique experience many have come to appreciate.

Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier is regarded as one of the best opera houses, not just in Europe but the entire world. It is an imposing building that finds a home in the stunning area of Boulevard des Capucines. Among all the ornate buildings in this area, this opera still manages to draw its fair share of attention, thanks to its magnificent façade and lavish interior.

In addition to be an opera house, the Palais Garnier houses a museum with a permanent art collection and a library. It also has influence in popular culture as it bears a direct connection to Gaston Leroux’s book ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.

The Bolshoi Theatre

Final on our list is the famous Bolshoi Theatre in Russia. This theatre has a global reputation that is highly tied to the outstanding ballet and opera performances it hosts. From the time it was built till now, this theatre has withstood all adversities, including scandals, revolution and even fire, which has claimed many notable opera houses.

The Bolshoi Theatre is one of the oldest in the world and was originally an Imperial theatre. Designed by Italian-Russian neoclassical architect, Joseph Bove, the Bolshoi remains one of the most remarkable buildings in the entire Russian capital. It is an accurate example of Russian Classical architecture, with its gold-covered mouldings and scarlet damask.

Visiting opera houses does not rank high on most tourists’ to-do list, but it is a fantastic way to spend some of your vacation life. You can go there to watch a performance or just tour the opera house itself. Many of them are quite a sight for tourists and draw their fair share of visitors apart from the performances.

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