I think I can speak for everyone – all 30 of us – that joined the behind the scenes Opera House tour that we had an incredible time exploring this theatre designed by Henning Larsen. It is huge, at 41,000 sqm, with five of the fourteen stories below ground. We were lucky to have possibly the friendliest guy in Copenhagen, Lars, as our tour guide.
We started in the spaces where people enjoy their time between acts, featuring Sicilian Perlatino marble, and the external wall of the auditorium which is a kind of enormous egg-shape clad in maple wood and adorned with eclectic light sculptures by artist Olafur Eliasson.
Next was the main stage of the Opera House which can seat an audience of 1,400, where we could admire the heart of the theatre with all its details, the pit for the orchestra and the ceiling which is covered with 105,000 sheets of 24 carat gold leaf (equivalent to 1.5 kilos of gold).
Our tour continued through some passages to the second foyer. Here we discovered that a wall with a cavity of circa 10 cm can emit different sound and create nice music. Most of us have been testing it since and creating some nice compositions. Next was the secondary stage which is being used for smaller productions and rehearsals.
After this, we went to the main stage, which hosts the headlining shows. The scene is 16m wide (usually 14m in this type of theatre) with mobile scenes to the side that can be slipped one on top of the other to change sets for other shows.
Last but not least, we went on the terrace to discover the amazing view onto the royal palace, the Amalienborg, and the Marble Church in the city centre, as well as a beautiful sunset.
Our evening went on with a quick dinner at the Papirøen (Paper Island) food market to return to the theatre again for Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. It was a contemporary twist on the 1850 traditional Italian production; the set was very simple, enhanced by a screen projecting paintings, video and drawings to symbolise what was happening on the stage. The music was just perfect and it was a good occasion to really test the acoustics – despite being on the upper gallery, we could hear everything.
This opera and Opera House were both outstanding; I can still hear people in the office whistling ‘La donna è mobile’. I think most of us we will continue to go to productions to discover more theatres.