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ballet school newcastle Why Opera Houses and Ballet are a Match Made in Heaven blog image

It may seem that hosting ballet performances in an opera house is a tradition but there’s more to it than that. These are buildings specifically designed to accent the amazing talents of the people on stage in a host of clever ways. Here are some of the best examples of opera houses from around the world and why they are a match made in heaven for ballet.


La Scala in Milan is often named as one of the most famous opera houses in the world and the foundation of the concept. It was built in the 1770s and has four tiers with separate loges. This was the place where performances by Rossini, Bellini and Verdi were first performed among many others. One of the clever features of this operate house is the use of a channel under the wooden floor that creates amazing acoustics for the rest of the building.

Naples opera house Teatro di San Carlo was completed in 1737, making it the oldest working theatre in the world. It has an amazing red and gold décor and was the most prestigious theatre in Italy until Milan’s La Scala was completed. It was the location for some of Gioachino Rossini’s most popular operas.


The Paris Opera is one of the most famous opera houses and is a building filled with stunning architecture. The ornate building with its dome was finished in 1875 to be ideal for both opera and ballet. The interiors showcase the luxurious styles of the time while the new frescoes in the centre of the Palais Garnier ceiling were added in the 1960s.

The Opera Royal in Versailles Court Theatre is a clever opera theatre. There are wooden walls made to look like marble while the top two balconies use mirrors to make them seem infinite in size. Created in 1769 to celebrate the marriage of Louis XVI to Austrian Marie Antoinette, it is still in use today.

Around Europe

The Bolshoi in Moscow remains one of the premier opera houses in the world and has one of the best symphony orchestras. It has survived a lot and still has its neoclassical portico with Apollo in his chariot on top. The opera house underwent renovations in the 2000s and is once more to its stunning best.

The current Royal Opera House in London is actually the third and dates from the early 18th century. Here George Handel’s operas saw their first showing and he often wrote pieces specifically for this opera house.

Further afield

Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina was completed in the early 1900s in the style of many of the European opera houses. It has seen many impressive performances and is notable for having its own costume and scenery construction departments in-house.

The Sydney Opera House may be one of the most recognisable opera houses in the world, with its location on the harbour in Sydney, Australia. The opera house was designed to resemble sails and overlapping shells and was opened in 1973 with a performance of Prokofiev’s War and Peace.