The celebration of the opening of the long-awaited new national opera house in Norway was attended by many celebrities and important political figures, according to reports by the Associated Press. Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson was among the invited guests present when King Harald V opened the opera house earlier this week.
The USD 840 million construction was opened by the shore of the Oslo Fjord on Saturday, and marks the fulfilment of a dream that has lasted 120 years. Lovers of music and ballet have watched performances in old theatres downtown for years but finally now have a dedicated venue for shows.
“At the innermost part of the Oslo Fjord, the opera house rises as a new and monumental landmark,” King Harald said from the royal box at the opening. “This house for many generations to come will be filled with music, dance and song.”
In 1881, a newspaper in Oslo reported that Norway would build a new opera house, but the report proved overly optimistic. The government discovered problems with funding and with politics, leading to excessive delays which have gone on for over a hundred years.
Also at the gala opening were Queen Sonja of Norway, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Queen Margrethe and Finland’s President Tarja Halonen, along with 1,350 others.
“This is a building that will change the way the world sees us, and the way we see ourselves,” opera director Bjoern Simonsen said.