The Royal Danish Opera

Culture

Operaen
Photo: Jules Gassot
 

This building has been subject to much criticism. But there is no ignoring the fact that inside awaits many grand artistic experiences, both in the foyer and in the auditoriums of the Royal Opera House.

Although more than a decade old, the Opera House is still regarded a controversial building in Copenhagen, both despised and prized. It has been compared to a fly, an alien mothership, a helicopter landing pad. The late renowned architect himself, Henning Larsen, called it his greatest failure, thinking it looked like a toaster.

As part of the demands of its patron, Danish shipping mogul Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, the conspicuous building is situated on the harbourfront of Holmen, thus completing the historical axis running from the Marble Church through Amalienborg Palace.

With a characteristic metal grid, Operaen’s limestone façade is the exterior of one of the city’s largest buildings, with five of its 14 storeys below sea level. Upon entering, it feels as if the performance has already begun. Silhouettes form a shadow play on the building’s marble-covered shell that move across its suspended balconies and staircases. The ceiling of the main auditorium is covered in 24-carat gold.

You walk on marble floors while the works of an impressive array of artists appear: Olafur Eliasson is the mastermind behind three spherical diamondpatterned chandeliers; Tal R decorated the foyer of the small intimate stage; and Per Kirkeby made four bronze reliefs.

Area

City Centre

Architect

Henning Larsen Architects

Client

A.P. Møller Fonden

Engineer

Rambøll
Arup

Contractor

E. Pihl & Søn A/S

Built

2005