8 of the Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World

With their skillfully crafted design and architecture, these famous opera houses are among the most stunning structures you can visit.

View as Slideshow

Coliseum in London, Great Britain

Coliseum in London, Great Britain© Guillaume de Laubier
With 2,359 seats, the Coliseum is the biggest theater in London. Historically, it was one of the first in London to be lit electrically; and its revolving stage has long made it one of the most technically advanced theaters.

Slotts-Teater in Drottningholm, Sweden

Slotts-Teater in Drottningholm, Sweden© Guillaume de Laubier
This opera house, located on the grounds of Sweden's royal residence (nicknamed the "Swedish Versailles"), has remained in its original state since it was inaugurated in 1766.

La Fenice in Venice, Italy

La Fenice in Venice, Italy© Guillaume de Laubier
Construction was stunningly fast at La Fenice: The theater was built in barely twenty-seven months, and was inaugurated in 1792. Following the Italian tradition, the balconies are divided into boxes. La Fenice can seat an impressive 1,500 spectators, thanks to its soaring height.

Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia

Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia© Guillaume de Laubier
The Bolshoi theater, located a few steps from the Kremlin and Red Square, was a major site for political gatherings in the Communist era. It was here that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was proclaimed in December 1922 and that the congresses of the Communist International were held under Lenin.

Content continues below ad

Aalto Mukiktheater in Essen, Germany

Aalto Mukiktheater in Essen, Germany© Guillaume de Laubier
In 1958, the city of Essen held a competition to construct of a new opera house, and the winner was none other than Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Unfortunately, the designer passed away in 1976, leaving his wife to oversee the completion of the project.

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain© Santiago Calatrava for Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia.
This building's scale is awe-inspiring: It stands 229 feet (about 23 stories tall) and covers a surface area of 398,264 square feet (nearly seven football fields). The glass ceiling was originally intended to serve as a stage curtain that would come down after each performance.

Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium

Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium© Guillaume de Laubier
The theater’s horseshoe-shaped floor plan and open balconies in the French style accommodate 1,100 spectators. With safety demands increasing over the years, the theater underwent an ambitious renovation in 1985 and reopened in November 1986.

The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World

The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World© Guillaume de Laubier
For more information and stunning photos, pick up The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World copyright 2013 Abrams, 2013, available at Amazon and Abrams Books.

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.