Must-see Theaters & Operas Around the World

If you are looking to add a little culture to your trip we have just the fix. We have compiled a list of some of the most historic, ornate and downright beautiful theaters and opera halls from around the world just for you.

Admirably, the basis for building this colossal theater was to be an inspiration during the turmoil of the Great Depression. It was a palace for the people, a theater characterized by both grandeur and affordability for those seeking consolation from the hard times.

Today it is one of the most iconic symbols of New York, as well as a prime tourist spot, and is especially known for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes.

Located in the swanky Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego, this vaudeville theater elegantly stands as a historical figure. Originally built in 1924, it served as state-of-the-art movie palace, a Latin cinema, and a US Navy office space. It eventually fell to disrepair and was almost demolished but it was saved and majorly restored in 2002. It now hosts performances 115 days a year and has received numerous special awards.

The Brolyn Academy of Music has been home to an assortment of artistic outlets for over 150 years. Audiences can enjoy theater, dance, music, opera, film, and much . The BAM Harvey Theater was commissioned by dancer Harvey Lichtenstein in 1942 to turn back into it’s original usage in 1904- a venue for Shakespeare plays. The theater was again restored in 1987, though it retained it’s Greco-Roman appearance.

Even before the show starts, you’ll be blown away by the theater’s interior design – the Elgin sports dancing cherubs and an elaborate leafy ceiling design, while the Winter Garden, seven stories above, has hand-painted walls. It’s history spans nearly 100 years, includes several makeovers, and it is now one of Canada’s finest theatrical stage complexes.

Called the “Wonder Theatre of the World” when it first opened in 1921, this venue is still grand enough to thoroughly impress visitors. The sign for the theater is one of the most iconic symbols of Chicago and has appeared on postcards, photographs and works of art, helping it become a landmark for the city of Chicago.

Originally built in 1599 on the seedy side of the Thames, this theatre has had quite the troublesome history. Constructed during the tail end of Queen Elizabeth I’s rule, it burned down in 1613, was rebuilt on the same sight in 1614, and then closed during the rule of Oliver Cromwell in 1642. The rounded theater was finally replicated in 1997 only 230 meters away from the original sight, designed in almost exactly the same fashion, except for a few modern updates, including a fire resistant thatch roof. Playgoers can still stand in front of the stage where the peasants stood, though they aren’t made to stand among straw like in the past. The true thespian would never be able to miss attending a Shakespeare play as it was truly meant to be seen.

Rowena Cade is the determined woman responsible for this gorgeous outdoor theatre abutting the cliffs of Cornwall. What started out as performances in her garden in 1932 developed into a gorgeous Roman loing amphitheater made of stone that Rowena herself hauled from the beach and carved. Today there are all types of performances between June and September, but most are Shakespearean. Only simple stage scenery is necessary because of the gorgeous view and sound of the crashing ocean. This is the place to go for a unique outdoor experience.

If you truly want a long-lasting theater experience, this is your place. Actors use two types of performance art called Noh (meaning ‘skill’ or ‘talent) and Kyogen, which UNESCO has deemed Intangible Cultural Property. It is a traditional Japanese musical drama that can potentially last all day long. Founded in 1966, it became the National Noh Theater in 1983. The stage is made of wood: 400 year old bishu-hini cypress tress and a backdrop decorated with pine. Another cool feature is the personal subtitling system for each seat.

Juxtaposed against the breathtaking backdrop of the Sydney Harbor, the opera house is a marvel of modern architecture. The design, which was originally scrapped but miraculously rescued, signifies interlocking ‘shells’ and has become one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. There are two main performance venues, one for opera and one for symphony concerts, allowing you to have options on your choice of show.

This historical theater first began its life back in 1747. Later, King Wilhlem II of Prussia gave the theater to the city as a gift in 1818 after the defeat of Napoleon. The bombings during World War II damaged it beyond repair, but it was rebuilt and redesigned by architect Bernhard Pfau who used undulating s to represent theater curtains.

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5 thoughts on “Must-see Theaters & Operas Around the World

  1. I just hope you go one day to the UK and someone tells you, it is IN Europe…

  2. Sophie Kraeva

    The Bolshoi theater has just undergone major renovation and now features state of the art acoustics and lighting with pre-Soviet ambience

  3. Whats about the Vienna “Staatsoper” or the “Musikverein” (new year concert)? 🙁

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