The new opera house in Oslo is taking shape

The new opera house in Bjørvika in Oslo is slowly but surely starting to take shape in the capital's harbour area. Recently the first visitors were able to walk through the growing construction - and, for a while, the sound of building work was replaced by singing.

A selected few guests recently completed the first walk-through of the new opera house in Bjørvika. In a building dominated by construction and dust, opera soloists sang the first tunes that will eventually fill the building from 12  April 2008.

"It's wonderful to come here and see how far the building process has come. A dream has come true. We are really looking forward to moving in here," said soloist Ingebjørg Kosmo to the newspaper Aftenposten.

Little has been left to chance for the performers who will move into the opera house. In addition to the first tunes by performers from the Norwegian Opera at the walk-through, dancers from the National Ballet were at the building in March testing the floors to ensure that they are optimal for their pirouettes and jumps. 

Renowned architecture firm Snøhetta has designed the building after winning an international contest in 2000. The building area is 38,500 square meters and consists of more than 100 rooms. In the main hall, a 1,370- strong audience will be able to enjoy a performance and the great acoustics which have been the main focus throughout the building process.

The interior design in the opera will be carried out in a minimalist style, and a separate artistic embellishment committee will oversee the decorative aspects of the building. Among the most impressive elements is the chandelier in the main concert hall, which the company Hadeland Glassverk is responsible for. The chandelier will comprise 17,000 glass units and hang approximately 16 metres above the floor. It will also function as an acoustic reflector. The main hall and the rest of the building will contain several other impressive features. Theatre chairs worth a total of NOK 10,4 million (EUR 1,4 million) are on their way from Italy, and workers from the company Naturstein are currently mounting 36,000 marble plates on the building.

To follow the developments yourself, visit the web cameras on the directorate of public construction and property, Statsbygg's website: Web camera 1. Web camera 2.

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When the opera house is ready for the grand opening in April 2008, it will look like this. Photo: Snøhetta

Slowly but surely the building is coming to life.Photo: Norwegian Embassy, Tokyo

The Ballet room features a magnificent view of Oslo.Photo: Norwegian Embassy, Tokyo

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