The Göteborg Opera was officially opened in 1994. Twenty years on and the house is going to have a longed-for sibling. In 2014, the first turf will be cut for Gothenburg's new performing arts centre.
When The Göteborg Opera was built, it was one of the best opera houses in the world, technically speaking. Twenty years later, the opera house is still right at the leading edge and is one of the leading opera houses in the Nordic region. But developments are not stopping there. The goal is, in a few years' time, to be one of Northern Europe's leading opera houses and to be able then to measure up to Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm, as well as the opera houses in Berlin, Hamburg and Amsterdam.
Today, The Göteborg Opera is well on the road towards achieving its lofty goals. Together with a new performing arts centre, which is going to be a little more daring, the Göteborg Opera is paving the way for a wider repertoire and a new audience.
A performing arts centre in a unique, easy-access setting with a wider repertoire. Ordinary people, companies, organisations and collaborative partners will all be tempted to come here. The building will become an important, inspirational meeting place, reinforcing the regional vision of "the good life", in which culture, business and the general public together create commitment and growth in Region Västra Götaland.
Inquisitive and plucky
The opera house's new annexe will be located just west of the Göteborg Opera – a performing arts centre that is going to contribute to the development of its surroundings, and which will let the citizens of Gothenburg and visitors get close to the river and the harbour. The building will be free-standing, having its own distinct identity with strong links to the existing opera house. It will be a building of two faces – one a fairly strict, more city-like façade facing the town and the other having a more open, vibrant and colourful character, facing the water. With its rust-coloured metal and stained glass sheets in various bright colours, the new building will provide a contrast with the old.
The new building is to be marked by openness, inquisitiveness and an inclination to experiment. It will be customised more for all the requirements of modern dance. The repertoire will be developed further and it will also be possible to stage other productions for smaller audiences at the Opera's new performing arts centre. The audience will be able to enjoy more performances for children, dance performances, chamber operas and concerts. It is a great response to the mission given to the Göteborg Opera by the Cultural Affairs Board: to take on overall responsibility for administering and developing opera, dance, musicals and concerts in Västra Götaland.
The new performing arts centre is going to free up time for more performances on the Main Stage – a stage which is being used a little too often for rehearsals today. Thanks to this new addition, the Main Stage will be used more for its original purpose – staging performances of the highest quality for a large audience.
Colourful and flexible
The performing arts centre is going to have several functions. An auditorium with seating for around 500 which, because of the flexible solutions available, will be easy to alter, depending on requirements. Apart from our in-house performances, there will be scope for guest performances and the building will also be able to provide congress and conference facilities. Companies can hold conferences framed by the Göta Älv River and the harbour, eat great food at the Göteborg Opera Restaurant, and end the day with a performance.
Right now, the Göteborg Opera receives several enquiries every week from companies and organisations about the possibility of hiring venues – enquiries that almost always have to be turned down since the facilities are being used for opera business. Now that a new building is being built, those wishes about renting out facilities will be taken on-board – right at the drawing board stage.
And, of course, there will be a restaurant in the new building. The intention is to make it easy and straightforward for customers to drop in for a coffee, a tasty bite to eat or something to drink while gaze out over the best view in the city. In summer, the performing arts centre will open its outdoor restaurant and offer people guest performances and concerts of different types.
Grow and challenge
Gothenburg's new performing arts centre will be a building in which delight, openness and curiosity will reign supreme. New meetings will be made possible here, with new ideas taking shape, growing and being challenged.
The building will bring cultural experiences closer to the Gothenburg's citizens and guests, and it will contribute to Region Västra Götaland's vision of the good life - the common starting point for the way the region is going to develop into an attractive region in which to live and work.