Thursday, 10 May 2007

Copenhagen Opera House - Henning Larsen

The new Copenhagen Opera House. I confess, I know very little about it beyond a wee picture in the Wagner Society newsletter [pdf, page 4, and excerpted below] and a review of Wagner's 'Ring' cycle which was presented to launch the new opera house.

By all accounts both 'Ring' and house were superb! Oh, by the way, it's a privately funded opera house, paid for by Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, the founder of the Mærsk shipping company.
Mollers’s brief to the architect Henning Larsen was four-fold:
• to site the building exactly across the harbour from the Royal Palace of Amalienborg and the Marble Church
• to achieve the most ideal acoustics possible
• to create perfect sight lines
• to use state of the art quality materials and finishes.

The opera house sits on its own island, is clad in a polished, light silvery coloured limestone with a huge over-hanging roof, and with a floor-to-ceiling ribbed glass foyer facing west, with grand stand views, at several levels of the harbour, the city and the palace. The foyer is flooded with natural light, which is interrupted only by two elegant cross bridges at each level, linking the 3 balconies with the terraces which follow round the huge glass wall, and in the long twilights of the Danish summer, the foyer and the opera-goers are bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun. It is magical....

Inside the auditorium, with its wooden walls and floors, is like stepping inside the sound box of a huge stringed instrument... For Kaspar Bech Holten, head of Danish Royal Opera, the opening of the new opera house was a chance to show the world what his company could do. What better than Wagner’s 'Ring' Cycle! The precedent had been set in Bayreuth in 1876.


  1. Wow! Goose bump stuff. Thanks! I'm putting this as a must-do on my itinerary.

  2. Having seen this piece in person I can attest that it is even more impressive in the flesh.

    You look accross the water at it and just go: "wow".

    The inside isn't as great.


  3. ...and it wasn't even finished!


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