There’s a thrilling and magical ambiance associated with the classical European opera houses. In recent years the Broadway productions of New York have been gaining in popularity, but there’s no substitute for the timeless venues spread throughout the continent that birthed the modern theater movement. If you’ve never had the opportunity to catch a show for yourself and see firsthand the artistry of performing in front of a live audience and the commanding presence required of the actors to captivate an entire venue full of people, then you really owe it to yourself to give it a try.
These stunning theatres deserve a place on every cultured gentleman’s travel list:
- The National Theatre, Prague
- The current manifestation of The National Theatre was built in 1883 after the original facilities were lost to a tragic fire, however it should be noted that the reincarnation is as far from disappointing as possible. Affectionately known as “The Golden Chapel” to affluent patrons of the arts that frequent the hall, the facilities are decorated with ornamental statues and has strong Renaissance influences to its style. The National Theatre features both local and international productions of opera, drama, and ballet rotating throughout the year.
- Wiener Staatsoper , Vienna
- This spectacular venue was constructed in 1869 and has been frequented by royalty and heads of state since it’s inception. From the outside, the theatre looks almost like a castle with it’s high-reaching walls and ornamental masonry. The inside is a work of art in and of itself from the spectacular chandeliers to the intricate woodworking. The Wiener Staatsoper is simply an architectural masterpiece and it was nearly lost during World War II. This venue focuses predominately on opera but features other events such as orchestral performances on occasion.
- Juliusz Slowacki Theatre, Krakow
- The Juliusz Slowacki Theatre originally opened in 1893 under a much more forgettable name, but was shortly renamed for the spectacular Polish literary master. The spectacular architecture and the grounds of the facilities feel like stepping into a lost time when Europe was dominated by monarchs and emperors, that is until you realize there’s a parking lot full of modern high-end luxury sedans surrounding the building. Walking through the garden at night after a show couldn’t hurt to curry favor with any date you might bring along to the show. Local poetry and theatrical productions fill the schedule of this venue and it’s certainly worth visiting if you’re in Poland.
- Shakespeare’s Globe, London
- It would be a great disservice to anyone reading this list to not include The Globe. While we can readily admit, the facilities are far from the most visually stunning, the sheer magnitude of the history and the importance of influence on the modern literary world created by the legacy of its namesake can’t be understated. This spectacular open-air venue is quite unlike anything else you’ll find and offers some of the most captivating productions derived from English source materials.