Vienna State Opera House, Vienna, Austria
Vienna is arguably the concert hall and opera capital of the world, with numerous world-class venues dotted around the city. There’s the Musikverein, the Konzerthaus, the Volksoper, Theater an der Wien, and most famous of all, the Vienna State Opera House. Dating back to the late 1800s, the State Opera House is situated in the heart of the city, and is home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, widely considered amongst the best in the world. If you’re travelling with children, the venue hosts many performances that the kids will love, including Mozart’s Magic Flute. The Vienna State Opera House building is itself a spectacle, with a strong Italian Renaissance influence visible in the columns and archways.
Carnegie Hall, New York City, United States
New York is another city fortunate enough to be almost overrun with top-quality concert halls, but the pick of the bunch has to be the great Carnegie Hall. The venue is named after its creator, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and there are in fact several other ‘Carnegie Halls’ – in Pittsburgh, Lewisburg, and Dunfermline. Carnegie Hall in New York City is one of the world’s premium halls to catch a concert of any kind, whether it’s the sounds of a full symphony orchestra, jazz, opera, or a rock gig. Since opening in 1891, the stage of Carnegie Hall has been graced by endless illustrious names in the music world, including Peter Tchaikovsky, George Gershwin, Bob Dylan, Judy Garland, Johnny Cash and Luciano Pavarotti to name just a few.
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
The Sydney Opera House is easily the most recognisable and iconic opera house building in the world. Designed by Swedish architect Jorn Utzon and finished in 1973, the following decades have seen the distinctive white-sail design of the opera house become a national symbol of Australia. 2007, the Sydney Opera House was recognised by UNESCO, with a place on the World Heritage List. Amongst music and opera fans, the House is beloved for the amazing acoustics throughout the venue – it’s just as impressive on the inside as out. The Opera house hosts thousands of performing arts events each year throughout several spaces within the complex, including plays, concerts, operas, comedy and much more. A variety of tours are also available in several languages, including a special discovery tour just for kids.
Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), Mexico City, Mexico
The Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, is the primary cultural and performance centre for both Mexico, and much of the surrounding region. The Palace is just that – an opulent, grand marble construction, with spectacular surrounds that is a true sight to behold in and of itself. There’s the artistic domed roof, with the orange and yellow hues of the stained glass, and the beautiful, carefully manicured gardens and centre square – a great place to sit outside, sip a coffee, and watch the world go by, or enjoy some relaxation before or after a show. The Palace is a multi-performance cultural hub, and a fascinating insight into the arts from this part of the world. The complex contains a theatre, historical arts museum, dance halls, as well as several galleries, displaying world-famous works of arts, and hosting special exhibitions throughout the year.
Royal Albert Hall, London, United Kingdom
Like many other world-famous concert halls, the Royal Albert Hall in central London first opened in the late 1800s, the apparent golden era for venues of this kind. The Hall’s patron and namesake, Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, envisaged the venue to foster an appreciation and accessibility of the arts to the general public. The Hall’s Royal roots lend this venue a certain regal atmosphere, but the programming itself retains a mix many different forms, with something for everybody. Upcoming events include a Christmas benefit concert for the Salvation Army, Cirque du Soleil and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Royal Albert Hall is also perhaps the only premium concert hall to also double as a sporting venue, with the Statoil Masters Tennis event taking place in December. A unique viewing experience, catch legends of the game such as John McEnroe, Pat Cash and Boris Becker, as well as current world number one Novak Djokovic, go head-to-head in the magnificent art-deco surroundings of the Hall.
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