Top 6 Famous Opera Houses In The World

Some of the most fascinating structures in the world were built as the venue for performances of opera. The architects who designed these buildings usually don’t shy away from using exuberant decorations as well.

This means that some of the most famous opera houses in the world are also some of the most iconic landmarks in major cities all around the world.

In this article, you’ll discover some of the most amazing places to enjoy opera and other performing arts all across the globe.

1. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Opera House isn’t just one of the most famous structures and tourist attractions in Sydney, it’s also one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. It’s located in the Sydney harbor and features multiple performance venues. This means that it’s an incredibly busy location, hosting over 1,500 performances every year attended by over 1.2 million visitors. All venues combined offer a seating capacity of 5,738.

Building the structure wasn’t exactly easy because even though construction had started in 1959, the building was only completed in 1973. After all, the architect resigned halfway. The remarkable architecture and the unique location in Sydney make this a must-visit attraction whenever you’re in the city.

Official website: Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House most famous opera houses in the world
The magnificent Sydney Opera House / Pixabay

2. Palais Garnier, Paris, France

From the most iconic to the most exuberant opera house in the world, that’s a great transition going from the venue in Sydney to the Palais Garnier in Paris, France. The building was named after its architect, a man named Charles Garnier. He won an architectural competition in the early 1860s and the structure was eventually built for the Paris Opera between 1861 and 1875.

Garnier referred to the style he used to design the building as the “Napoleon III Style,” a reference to Emperor Napoleon III who commissioned the building. The level of ornamentation on both the exterior and interior of the building is astounding and makes you literally stand in awe. The size of the building makes it all the more remarkable that the astonishing auditorium only has 1,979 seats.

Official website: Palais Garnier Paris

Palais Garnier Paris france
Palais Garnier in Paris, France / Peter Rivera /

3. Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria

The Vienna State Opera is officially known as the “Wiener Staatsoper” and was the first building to be constructed on the Vienna Ring Road that was built in the second half of the 19th century to replace the old city walls. The building was completed around the same time as the Palais Garnier between 1861 and 1869.

The opera house in Vienna is world-famous for being the home of the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the most renowned orchestras in the world. It’s also the home of the Vienna State Ballet and the venue of the popular Vienna Opera Ball. The auditorium of the venue offers 1,709 seated and 567 standing places.

Official website: Wiener Staatsoper

Vienna State Opera Vienna Austria
Vienna State Opera / Dennis Jarvis /

4. La Scala, Milan, Italy

La Scala is the common name of the opera house officially known as “Teatro alla Scala.” It’s located in the second-biggest city in Italy, Milan, and is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. It’s considered to be one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world as the greatest operatic artists and singers have performed at this venue.

The history of this magnificent structure goes back all the way to the year 1778 when it officially opened. It was built because the old theater in the city burned down and was originally known as the “Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala.” Today, t’s one of the leading opera houses and home to various performing arts organizations, including La Scala Theatre Chorus, La Scala Theatre Ballet, La Scala Theatre Orchestra, and the Filarmonica della Scala orchestra.

Official website: Teatro alla Scala

Scala theater milan italy
Scala Theater in Milan / Jakub Halun /

5. Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, Russia

The Bolshoi Theater is another historic landmark in one of the biggest cities in the world, Russia’s capital Moscow. Its Neoclassical façade is considered to be one of the most iconic symbols of Russia and even appears on a 100-ruble banknote. The first version of the building was constructed between 1821 and 1825.

The building is home to some of the oldest ballet and opera companies in the world called the “Bolshoi Ballet” and “Bolshoi Opera.” The building today was seriously renovated in the 2000s, a six-year project that cost a whopping $688 million and that was only completed in 2011. We must say, this has turned this remarkable building into a must-see attraction in Moscow.

Official website: The Bolshoi Theater

Bolshoi Theater moscow russia
Bolshoi Theater in Moscow / Alexey Vikhrov /

6. Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Teatro Colón is the most famous opera house in the immense city of Buenos Aires in Argentina, South America. The current version of the opera house was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and opened its doors in the year 1908, replacing the original version which was the city’s main theater between 1858 and 1888.

Today, the opera house is considered to be one of the top 10 opera houses in the world and one of the top 5 venues in the world when it comes to acoustics. It also underwent a serious renovation between 2005 and 2010, an enormous project that involved 1,500 workers. It’s fair to conclude that this turned one of the most famous opera houses in the world into one of the best places to enjoy opera and other performances.

Official website: Teatro Colón

teatro colon buenos aires Argentina
Teatro Colón / Gobierno de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires /