Norway’s stylish, innovative new arts center opened in 2008 at Bjørvika, with views stretching out over Oslo Fjord. It is home to the national ballet, opera and orchestral companies but audiences probably come as much for the sublime waterside setting of this gleaming white auditorium as they do for the performances. Designed by Norwegian architect Tarald Lundevall, who also built the National September 11 Memorial Museum & Pavilion in New York, the opera house is constructed of marble, granite and glass and won the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award for Contemporary Architecture in 2009. Inside there are three main stages, combined able to seat audiences of up to 2,000; all this is supported by a staff of 620 led by artistic director Tom Remlov in a labyrinth of more than 1,000 studios and workshops.
Acoustics are second to none and the repertoire includes modern dance and classical ballet, jazz, chamber and Baroque concerts, plus light-hearted operettas and serious opera. Open-air concerts are held on the opera house’s sloping roof in summer and there are sometimes small recitals in the foyer. The Argent restaurant is currently the place to lunch in Oslo.