Top 10 classical music venues in the world
Royal Albert Hall, London
Since Queen Victoria laid the first stone in 1867, this circular hall has entertained music fans with maestros and more. Annual highlight is the summer BBC Henry Wood Proms, the world’s biggest classical music festival where you can promenade in the central arena or around the gallery, or take a seat in a box of crimson velvet.
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Sydney Opera House, Sydney
This UNESCO-listed architectural masterpiece hugs Sydney Harbour in pale interlocking sails and contains several venues. Pride of place is the Concert Hall, home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Keep the buzz of the performance with a backstage tour.
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Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Italy’s best-loved opera house champions Verdi’s high drama, among others, and is a fitting landmark in fashionable Milan. Book a Milan hotel and a ticket for the opera, and sink into red velvet seats in the recently restored La Scala.
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Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
The new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic opened in 2003, its dazzling exterior dominated by Frank Gehry’s bold undulating stainless steel. But don’t let that detract you from the superb acoustics in its main hardwood-panelled auditorium.
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Favoured by the world’s top musicians, this concert hall built in Viennese Classicist style is loved for its acoustics, especially in the Grote Zaal (Grand Hall). In addition to regular orchestral extravaganzas, July and August’s Robeco Summer Concerts host smaller, themed events.
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Santa Fe Opera Festival, Santa Fe
Picnic by the New Mexico mountains before taking in an opera in the open-sided 2,100-seater Crosby Theater. This popular summer festival hosts rarely performed contemporary productions and popular classics, with many US premieres. Try to catch the pre-performance talks and tours.
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Metropolitan Opera, New York
Opera divas have graced the Met’s stage since 1883. Sashay through the crimson lobby and up the curving staircase to the 3,800-seater auditorium where Viennese crystal chandeliers hang delicately overhead. Translations on the back of every seat mean you’ll always follow the plot.
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Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Shanghai
In cultured Shanghai, the ceiling of this bottle-green butterfly-shaped arts complex has inlaid lighting, changing color as the melody progresses. When not watching visiting luminaries like the Berliner Philharmoniker and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, visitors can sample Chinese traditional opera in all its exotic opulence.
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Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
The opulent azure-and-gold interior and three-tiered chandelier add nobility to this theatre, hosting world-class ballet and opera in Russia’s cultural capital for over 150 years. Relive the glory of the Tsars, where Tchaikovsky and Mussorsky’s works premiered.
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Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires
With its long-awaited reopening in May 2010, this famous jewel of South America is a classical music, ballet and opera lover’s dream. Rich scarlet and gold decor dominates the horseshoe-shaped interior, with Venetian mosaic floors and marble columns.
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