Architectural Digest recently featured new buildings around the world and I was particularly taken with this newly built structure- the Guangzhou Opera House in China. It struck up memories of other famous Opera Houses around the world. Which led me to thinking- what is it about opera houses that makes them so memorable? I can’t remember ever going to the Opera- but a remarkable number of these buildings stand out in my mind.
So what makes them so memorable and similar? The obvious defining similarities are usage and size, but there is more to the picture. Each building is designed in a style very representative of the era in which it was built- a tribute the the architectural style of that time and an architectural relic for future generations to study. Each holds a large crowd and the interiors were required to be built very grand, with no obstructions of view to the audience, thus requiring a very adept structural engineer and modern building technologies. Not to mention the acoustic planning and design…This all of course leads to the fact that each must have been very expensive to build. They obviously were built in times of peace and prosperity. The larger and grander the building, the wealthier the patrons and of course- the owner. They also were constructed during times when people had wide-scale cultural appreciation for the arts. Their presence and importance is similar to that of churches in our cultural fabric.
I hope that we continue to build opera houses as monuments to the arts- even if I never attend an Opera, the importance of these buildings in making a mark on history, defining our cities and preserving architectural styles and a unique art form is important beyond belief in making the human existence more beautiful.