About the opera house
The Göteborg Opera was inaugurated in 1994 and is to be found next to Lilla Bommen in the Göteborg harbour. Here opera, dance and musicals are performed under the same roof.
When architect Jan Izikowitz was drawing the opera house he found inspiration in the world of opera. But also in the splendid fairytale landscape surrounding Gothenburg harbour. Silhouettes of ships, hulls, wind-filled sails, bridges and harbour cranes can be seen in the architecture of the building.
The Göteborg Opera is 28 700 m2. Around 500 persons work in the building's 1117 rooms. It is home to metal, carpentry and décor workshops, tailoring and costume studios as well as ballet and rehearsal rooms. The opera has two stages, the Main Stage and the Small Stage. The Main Stage is 500 m2. Behind this stage there are enormous spaces, approximately five times the size of the stage itself. Also worth mentioning is the opera house's sheet music library, where 15 tons of sheet music is stored.
When the Göteborg Opera was inaugurated the stagecraft was the most advanced in the world. And now, after a comprehensive renovation in 2009 the opera house is once again one of the best in the world in this field.
On the Main Stage there are four vertically adjustable platforms. They each weigh 15 tons and at the press of a button they can be lowered down to the cellar, seven metres under the stage. The accuracy of position between the platforms is between +/- 0.3 mm. Sensors in the floor automatically set off an alarm if anything is wrong.
The stage machinery is programmed frequency by frequency. Music and stage technology are synchronised by dividing the performance into a number of elements. If the music has a high tempo there can be up to 500 elements in one performance. A production team consisting of a director, a scenographer, and a choreographer decide together when and how all of the stage technical movement shall take place. Then the stage manager takes over. The stage manager is a sort of technical conductor who sees to it that changes of set, lighting and sound are in tune with the music.
200 TV screens around the building show what is happening on stage at all moments. The soloists can follow the performance from their dressing rooms. When it is their time to go on stage the stage manager calls them down via the monitors.
Bridges, booms, rigs and yards
There are many expressions connected to the stage that have to do with seafaring. In the olden days it was the ship builders that built the stage machinery. And sailors were often recruited to do work high above the stage floor. Nowadays the steering system is naturally totally computerised but many of the names remain. One still speaks of bridges, booms, rigs and yards.
Come and join us behind the scenes and read more about what happens around the stage during the performance.
All for the sake of acoustics
Creation of the best possible acoustics was the absolute starting point when the Main auditorium was built. It holds about 1300 people and has a classic octagonal form, eight-sided with parallel side walls. The width of 26.5 metres is adapted in such a way to allow the side reflectors to swing the sound all the way into the middle of the auditorium. In order to enhance the warm tone many of the reflectors have been made concave instead of convex.
Even the chairs are carefully chosen in order to meet the acoustic demands. One chair corresponds to one person as far as sound absorption is concerned. In this way there is a minimum of difference in acoustics between a full-house on opening night and an empty auditorium during rehearsals.
The Göteborg Opera has 250,000 visitors per year and about 270 performances are given on the different stages. Several international stars have visited the opera house through the years. Nina Stemme, Peter Mattei and Katarina Dalayman are a few of them.
The Opera House
- Area 28 700 m2
- Height 32 m
- Length 160 m
- Breadth < 85 m
- Rooms 1 117
- Volume 187 400 m3
The Main Stage
- Area 500 m2
- Proscenium opening 20x9 m
- Height of ceiling above stage 38 m
- 1100 spotlights
- 250 automatic colour-changers 900 dimmers
- Audience 1276
- Stalls 758
- Balcony 484
- Gallery seating 34