The new opera house opened
“This frame of glass, stone and wood will provide us with a setting for wonderful theatrical and musical experiences. Here we will be able to see, listen to and experience – our own lives as well as the world in which we live.”
With these words, His Majesty The King opened the new opera house in Oslo.
Their Majesties The King and Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess were all in attendance when the Norwegian Opera and Ballet for the first time welcomed the audience into the new opera house in Oslo. Her Majesty Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of Finland, Tarja Halonen and President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, were also among the many prominent guests.
The opening gala programme featured a combination of ballet, opera highlights and humorous musical sketches, performed by the ensemble of the Norwegian Opera and Ballet as well as guest artists from the opera scenes of the world, including sopranos Maria Guleghina, Anja Harteros, Solveig Kringlebotn and Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz, as well as bass singer René Pape.
The National Ballet performed five ballets, two of which were world premieres. The remaining three were performed in Norway for the first time. The ballets were choreographed by Jirí Kylián, Lightfoot/León, William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon and Kristian Støvind.
In addition to the professional musicians, the audience was treated to a very special version of the Slave Chorus from Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Nebucco, which was performed by a 450-strong choir comprising representatives of Norway’s municipalities and of all those who helped to build the opera house.
Video greetings from opera houses around the world La Scala in Milano, the Cape Town Opera, the Metropolitan in New York, Sydney Opera House and the Royal Opera House in London arrived throughout the evening.
Condolences from His Majesty King Harald to His Holiness Pope Francis.
Congratulations from His Majesty King Harald to the new President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, His Excellency Mr Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.