New Opera House OPens in Norway
King Harald V opened Norway's long awaited national opera house on the shores of the Oslo Fjord on Saturday to a house filled with royalty, national leaders and music lovers.
The stunning, $840 million building of white marble fulfills a more than 120-year dream for Norwegians who are used to watching opera and ballet in old downtown theaters, reported the Pioneer Press.
"At the innermost part of the Oslo Fjord, the opera house rises as a new and monumental landmark," King Harald said at the opening of the oprea house, reported the Star Tribune. "This house for many generations to come will be filled with music, dance and song."
A two-and-a-half hour opening performance featured highlights from various operas and ballets before an audience that included Norway's Queen Sonja, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Queen Margrethe and about 1,350 other invited guests.
An 1881 report in an Oslo newspaper said the capital was to get a new opera house. It wasn't until recently that that statement became a reality as the Norwegian parliament approved construction and funding for the national opera house.
Funding and political debates were among the factors for the long delay.
The opera house is made of a white stone that seems to rise from the water of the fjord. It holds roughly 1,000 rooms, including a 1,350-seat and a 400-seat auditorium. The inside is lined with crafted woodwork, and decorated with art worth about $12 million.
"This is a building that will change the way the world sees us, and the way we see ourselves," opera director Bjoern Simonsen said.