There’s nothing like enjoying a night at the opera in the very place where it was born. From Teatro alla Scala in Milan to London’s Covent Garden, Europe is home to many of the world’s finest opera houses. Don’t miss the chance to take your European vacation to new heights of action, drama and romance – all within the span of a few hours – with a trip to one of Europe’s famed opera houses.
Opera has been an essential European entertainment for hundreds of years. Take the Manoel Theatre in Malta, for instance. Opera has been ringing throughout its halls since 1732. The thrilling combination of theatre, music and dance with stunning costumes and sets has the power to inspire audiences of all ages and backgrounds. An important part of European culture, it’s hard to find a major city on the continent without its own opera house, orchestra and company of talented singers.
Start at the top by visiting one of the largest and most prestigious opera houses in Italy, Teatro alla Scala in Milan. “La Scala” features an impressive neoclassical design and infamously critical – and vocal – audiences. Setting the gold standard for all other European opera venues since 1778, there are presentations of opera, ballet and recitals year-round. If you can’t make it to a performance, tour the workshops and backstage spaces to see how the elaborate productions come together, or visit the on-site museum for an enlightening look into the theater’s history.
When in Monaco, be sure to take a visit to the Monte-Carlo Casino and Opera House. For more than a century, the Monte-Carlo has been a hotspot for opera, ballet, and concerts. Enjoy a show and end the night with a trip to one of the casino’s many “gaming rooms”, complete with stained glass windows, ornate décor, and allegorical paintings.
To the northeast of Italy, Austria sings with opportunities to enjoy opera. Visit the world-class Wiener Staatsoper for an unforgettable performance, and embark on a guided tour of the theater’s stately architecture. Combine your tour with a visit to their museum for the full educational experience. If you are lucky enough to be around Austria in July or August, attending the world-renowned Salzburg Festival is a must. And all true opera buffs must visit Mozart’s birthplace in Salzburg, one of the most frequently visited museums in the world.
But not all operas and opera houses are centuries old. There’s also the contemporary architecture of the Copenhagen Opera in Denmark, the Gothenburg Opera in Sweden and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Their exteriors may feature modern design, but the performances inside remain a timeless reflection of the beauty of opera.