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|August 30th, 2006, 03:50 AM||#1|
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World's Greatest Opera Theatres
Four Seasons Centre, Toronto
Opened: June 14, 2006
Architect: Jack Diamond, Diamond + Schmitt
Style: Kind, gentle modernism
Prime movers: Canadian Opera Company head Richard Bradshaw; former Ontario premier Ernie Eves; hotelier Izzy Sharpe; late lawyer R. Fraser Elliott
Features: Longest unsupported glass staircase ever built; space above the stage for surtitles, an innovation pioneered by the Canadian Opera Company and widely exported; a subterranean storey filled with sound-absorbing pads to stop subway noise from filtering upward.
Opening-night fare: Sadly, no Canadian composers. Performers led by Ben Heppner and Adrianne Pieczonka take a whistle-stop tour of the major opera-producing nations, including Austria (Mozart), France (Délibes), Germany (Wagner), Italy (Rossini, Verdi) and Russia (Tchaikovsky).
Miscellaneous details: Some of the little extras include a backstage machine to dry wigs and individually heated seats. Three glass stairs in the opulent staircase blew up, but otherwise the project was completed in a comparatively short three years and on budget, at a bargain-basement price of $150 million.
In a nutshell: The rectilinear, severe, pinstriped-grey-suit exterior belies a warm, sensuous womb of a concert hall within.
New National Theatre, Tokyo
Architect: Takahiko Yanagisawa
Style: International modernism
Prime movers: A number of corporate donors who formed and funded the Tokyo City Cultural Foundation to plan and manage the site.
Features: A glass mosaic, without Japanese motifs, dominates the foyer; spare, unadorned plywood walls enclose the shoebox-shaped concert hall. The whole complex covers 4.5 hectares, including a retail galleria and a 54-storey skyscraper, which houses the opera company’s administrators.
Opening-night fare: Ikuma Dan’s Takeru
Miscellaneous details: Japan’s prime minister, as well as the country’s Emperor and Empress, attended the gala opening.
In a nutshell: This bland edifice is really an annex to a shopping mall and could have been plopped down anywhere.
Suomen Kansallisooppera, Helsinki, Finland
Architects: Eero Hyvämäki, Jukka Karhunen, Risto Parkkinen
Style: Homage to Bauhaus
Prime movers: The municipality of Helsinki, Finnish architectural lion Alvar Aalto
Features: A glass curtain wall dominates the façade, which may have inspired the similarly sunroom-like front of the Four Seasons Centre; square windows and tiles are a repeating design element throughout.
Opening-night fare: Aulis Sallinen’s Kullervo
Miscellaneous details: Only Finns were eligible to design the house, which took 12 years to build and cost the equivalent of $250 million.
In a nutshell: The water’s edge site adds drama to this otherwise conventional hall.
Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, Sydney, Australia
Architects: Jorn Utzon (1959-1966), replaced by E.H. Farmer, Peter Hall, Lionel Todd and David Littlemore (1966-1973)
Style: Unique in its time, it opened the door for the exuberant likes of Frank Gehry.
Prime mover: New South Wales premier Joe Cahill. Hardly an opera buff, this Labor politician and former railroad worker preferred such populist pieces as The Donkey Serenade.
Features: A world-famous profile that resembles ship sails, a stegosaurus or — as local cynics contend — two turtles mating, this building houses a concert hall that was once rated 98th out of 100 international venues in acoustical quality; as in Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, some audience members sit behind the stage, under the largest tracker organ in the world.
Opening-night fare: Prokofiev’s War and Peace
Miscellaneous details: After seven years on the job, the Danish architect Jorn Utzon was fired for going wildly over budget and past deadline; he was supplanted by less dreamy local architects and refused to attend the building’s grand opening — which occurred almost 15 years after construction began.
In a nutshell: One of modern architecture’s great icons creates maximum drama by the Sydney Harbour, but doesn’t house an adequate performance space.
Metropolitan Opera House, New York City
Architect: Wallace Harrison
Prime mover: John Davison Rockefeller Jr.
Style: A modernist take on the arcaded Greek temple
Features: Marc Chagall murals bedeck the lobby while in the auditorium massive crystal chandeliers — gifts from the Austrian government — are raised out of sight before every performance.
Opening-night fare: Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra starring Leontyne Price
Miscellaneous details: In Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck, the Met provides the backdrop for Nicolas Cage’s romance with Cher; it’s also where Cher’s on-screen father canoodles with his mistress.
In a nutshell: Featuring a stage and hall that are almost twice as big as those in the Four Seasons Centre, this behemoth is situated on a fountain-focused piazza and lights up like a lantern at night — two of the many reasons the Met lends a greater sense of occasion to an evening than any other modern hall.
War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco
Architects: Arthur Brown, G. Albert Lansburgh, Willis Polk
Prime movers: Impresario Gaetano Merolo, the City of San Francisco and well-to-do WWI veterans
Features: Doric columns adorn an otherwise plain exterior; inside, a gold brocade stage curtain (that weighs a tonne) picks up on the copious gilding throughout the hall; red velvet seats enhance the luxurious feel, as do bodacious sculptures of amazons above the proscenium.
Opening-night fare: Puccini’s Tosca
Miscellaneous details: Both the United Nations Charter and the International Declaration of Human Rights were signed on the premises; in the movie Pretty Woman, Richard Gere flies Julia Roberts from Los Angeles to San Francisco on his private jet so she can take in an opera; a $50 million retrofit was required to make the building safe after the 1989 earthquake.
In a nutshell: A radical departure from the pre-war European aesthetic, which views excessive ornamentation as vulgar.
Palais Garnier, Paris
Architect: Charles Garnier
Style: Every which way — baroque, rococo, neoclassical, second empire — and loose
Prime movers: Napoleon III, Empress Eugenie, Baron Haussmann
Features: Ten types of marble and six varieties of limestone were quarried from Europe and Africa for the exterior; more than a dozen artists collaborated on the sumptuous murals; gilded putti and nymphs abound in the scarlet-upholstered concert hall
Opening-night fare: Jacques Halevy’s La Juive, Jakob Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots
Miscellaneous details: Construction took 15 years, and was delayed by a flood and an insurrection, during which the rebel Communards used the nearly completed structure as a prison; it was this opera house that the phantom haunted in Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel of that name; Marthe Chenal sang La Marseillaise on the steps of the Palais to celebrate her nation’s survival of the First World War.
In a nutshell: As frou-frou as a wedding cake, it reflects Italian and French opera’s more-more-more aesthetic.
Architect: Eduard van der Nüll, August Siccard von Siccardsburg
Prime mover: Emperor Franz Joseph
Features: A suave and streamlined red-velvet-and-gilt interior; according to the world’s leading acoustics expert, its sound is “not very live”
Opening-night fare: Mozart’s Don Giovanni
Miscellaneous details: The architects were so displeased with alterations to their plans that one refused to attend the opening-night performance and the other committed suicide; Allied bombs greatly damaged the hall in the Second World War, requiring extensive rebuilding.
In a nutshell: A classic — and classy — reflection of the premium the Austro-Germanic operatic tradition placed on civility, intellect and control.
Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London
Architect: E.M. Barry
Prime movers: Duke of Bedford, merchant Frederick Gye
Features: A Corinthian portico and iron-and-glass bar appear up front (a look that’s mimicked and modernized by the Four Seasons Centre’s glass-facaded City Room); a Wedgwood-style medallion of a young Queen Victoria presides over the concert hall, which although gilded, is as restrained as the Palais Garnier is ebullient.
Opening-night fare: Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots
Miscellaneous details: Served as a dancehall during WWII; a renovation costing the equivalent of $400 million was completed in 1999; Tony Blair’s Labour Government once demanded the company lower ticket prices to enable the hoi polloi to attend — the company refused.
In a nutshell: As refined — and somehow prissy — as the queen during whose reign it was built.
Teatro Alla Scala, Milan
Architect: Giuseppe Piermarini
Prime mover: Austrian Empress Maria-Theresa
Features: Gold-lined royal box glitters in the centre of the theatre; leading conductors have rated the acoustics the second-best in the world (after Argentina’s Teatro Colon).
Opening-night fare: Salieri’s L’Europa Riconosciuta
Miscellaneous details: After attending a performance here, the French writer Stendhal once wrote: “I’m forever condemned to be disgusted with our [French] theatres;” an $80-million renovation was completed in 2004.
In a nutshell: Like its most famous diva, Maria Callas, La Scala is little on the outside — at least compared to the Met or the Palais Garnier — but packs an aesthetic and acoustic punch.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” - John F Kennedy
|August 30th, 2006, 03:53 AM||#2|
I Love You... Soraia
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: PORTO Metro Area
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PORTO MUSIC HALL - the house with the better quality of sound on the planet.
Designed by Rem Koolhaas
Last edited by Daniel_Portugal; August 30th, 2006 at 04:05 AM.
|August 30th, 2006, 04:29 AM||#4|
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Berlin / Melbourne / Sydney
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What about the STAATSOPER BERLIN (in Germany)?..... what's this list based on?... number of seats? date of completion? Quality of Opera performances? or what?
Best Places to live
In Europe: Berlin, in Australia: Melbourne, in Sydney: Northern Beaches
|August 30th, 2006, 04:36 AM||#5|
I Love You... Soraia
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: PORTO Metro Area
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this list is based on MILIUX will. so probably lacks of some of the greatest music halls / opera threaters like Casa da Musica in Porto and that one that you're refering to. (probably as others around the world)
|August 30th, 2006, 07:53 AM||#6|
Sent from down-below. :P
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Ottawa, Alabama, China
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Barcelona has the 2nd largest in Europe, I forget what it's called though.
|October 8th, 2007, 02:53 AM||#8|
Join Date: Feb 2007
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I had the priviledge of going to the new Four Seasons Centre in Toronto to watch Dave Brubeck and his quartet
It was great, the theatre seemed excellent and at the time it was spanking new! The sound was good too in the theatre, better than what you get at Roy Thomson hall (since RTH is circular )
|October 8th, 2007, 06:43 AM||#12|
Join Date: Jul 2007
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The operahouse of Budapest
"The building of the Hungarian State Opera House (Hungarian: Magyar Állami Operaház) is a splendid example of neo-Renaissance architecture. It is located in central Pest, (a part of Budapest), in the 6th District (Terézváros) at Andrássy út 22.
Designed by Miklós Ybl, a major figure of 19th century Hungarian architecture, the construction lasted from 1875 to 1884 and was funded by the city of Budapest and by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. The Hungarian Royal Opera House (as it was known then) opened to the public on the September 27, 1884."
The palace of arts(not exclusively for operas)
"The Palace of Arts (Művészetek Palotája in Hungarian) is a building in Ferencváros, Budapest, Hungary, officially opened in March 2005. It is located near Lágymányosi Bridge, accessible from the southern end of Grand Boulevard with a ten-minute walk or by HÉV. The National Theatre, which opened in 2002, is located next to it.
The imposing structure of the Palace of Arts covers a ground area of 10,000 m˛ and the total floor space of the building is 70,000 m˛, meaning that if all the areas were occupied simultaneously, it would house about 4,500 people - the population of a medium-sized village."
"Performing arts and other facilties
* Bartók National Concert Hall is 25 m high, 25 m wide and 52 m long, providing a total capacity for 1,699 people. The organ of the concert hall, inaugurated in 2006, has 92 stops and 5 manuals as well as 470 wooden pipes, 5028 tin pipes and 1214 reed pipes. It is one of the largest organs in Europe.
* Ludwig Museum
* Festival Theater"
|October 8th, 2007, 06:33 PM||#13|
chek ur hed
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: astoria, qns, nyc
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Geez how interesting, a Canadian survey listing the banal Four Seasons Centre in Toronto and ignoring the much more acclaimed Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
|October 8th, 2007, 08:55 PM||#14|
Join Date: Oct 2003
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You do realize the accoustics in the Four Seasons Centre are considered one of the best in the world?
|October 9th, 2007, 12:25 AM||#15|
Join Date: Sep 2005
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p.s. America is not the best at everything and the whole world knows that..there the worst
|October 9th, 2007, 04:12 AM||#17|
Join Date: Jun 2004
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More on the construction of the Four Season's Centre
It's great to look back at the hilarious comments from Toronto forumers:
"WOW! All that for twenty bucks?!?! WOW!"
TAKE NOTE -- this is a CHEAP -ASS opera house! It's built of pocket lint, glue, and tongue depressors! An outstanding, flat out outstanding, cheap -ass opera house! It is going to have the world's 3rd best acoustics.
Sure, it's not a post -card worthy building. It's a boring brick box with some boring glass boxes stuck to it-- it could just as easily sit on any university campus. Dull. Boring. Uninspiring. Modest --- very, very modest. Exceedingly modest.
And, Toronto's opera house blends in with the slabs around it.
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Last edited by Skybean; October 9th, 2007 at 04:18 AM.
|October 9th, 2007, 04:50 AM||#18|
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Angelo, TX
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Palacio de Bellas Artes ("Palace of Fine Arts") is the premier opera house of Mexico City. It was designed by the Italian architect Adamo Boari in 1901 but construction was not completed until 1934, in a spectacular art deco interiors, and for the majestic art nouveau exterior. The weight of the building is so massive that it has been sinking a few centimeters yearly since the completion of its construction.
The construction site was chosen by President Porfirio Díaz because it was located in downtown (by then, Mexico City's financial and hosting district), on an elegant park promenade, and face to face with the tallest buildings in the city from the early 1920s to the late 1930s.
The building is famous for both its extravagant art nouveau exterior in imported Italian white marble as well as its murals by Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco.
Rivera's Man at the Crossroads mural was originally painted for the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Rivera had finished ⅔ of the mural when the Rockefellers objected to an image of Vladimir Lenin in the mural. When Rivera refused to remove Stalin, his commission was cancelled and the mural was destroyed. Rivera repainted it a smaller scale at the Palacio in 1934 and renamed it Man, Controller of the Universe.
The theatre is used for classical music, opera and dance, notably the Baile Folklórico. A distinctive feature of the theatre is its stained glass curtain depicting a volcano and the valley of Mexico.
Maria Callas sang in several productions at the Palacio early in her career, and recordings exist of several of her performances here. Palacio de Bellas Artes has been used as the site of wakes for artists of Mexican national importance such as Frida Kahlo in 1954 and María Félix in 2002. The Palacio hosted the North American premiere of the film Frida.
The Palacio has two museums: the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Museo de la Arquitectura. Metro Bellas Artes is located alongside.
Building overview, as seen from Torre Latinoamericana During the late 19th century and going into the first years of the 20th century, during Porfirio Díaz's 30-year rule of Mexico, there was a marked tendency to imitate European art, styles and customs. Following this tendency, a plan for a new Teatro Nacional (National Theater) was laid out and construction of a new building began on October 1, 1904. The plans were drawn up by Adamo Boari, using state-of-the-art technology as was common in European theatres.
Construction was originally scheduled to be finished by 1908; however, it was delayed by problems with Mexico City's soil, notoriously muddy in composition and which led to the gradual subsidence of the building; matters were further complicated by the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910.
Boari left Mexico in 1916 and construction was virtually stopped until 1932, when works were resumed under Mexican architect Federico Mariscal; completion took place in 1934. The square with gardens and pegasus statues, devised by Boari himself, was not completed until 1994.
|October 9th, 2007, 07:07 AM||#19|
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Hmm, it is Canadian source, and just incidentally Toronto theatre is in the first place... while Bolshoj Theatre in Moscow or Maryyinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg are not even mentioned in the list of ten... yeah, call this objective
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