Where in the world should you go if you want to watch opera? Here is a list of the 10 best locations around the globe for opera: opera by country. The statistics are for the 2015/2016 season, and the numbers represent the total number of opera performances in that country according to Operabase, the world’s leading data provider for all things opera.
Opera by country
- Germany – 6,795 performances. Waaaaay out in front is Deutschland, home of Wagner, Strauss, Humperdinck, and Gluck, to name a few. The list of beautiful, ornate opera houses in this country goes on and on: Semperoper in Dresden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayreuth Festspielhaus in Bayreuth (the holy land for Wagnerians), the Munich National Theater, and so on. If you’re considering taking a trip in order to see some fantastic opera, no location on Earth can compare with Germany!
- United States – 1,657 performances. Following Germany’s epic status is the U.S. The leading companies in the U.S. include the well-known Metropolitan Opera in New York, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, to name a few. Virtually every major city in the U.S. has an opera company, so it is no stretch to claim that the art form is alive and well there.
- Russia – 1,490 performances. The homeland of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and Stravinsky, Russia has one of the hottest opera scenes in the world. Gorgeous opera houses dot this vast nation: the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Italy – 1,393 performances. The birthplace of opera is next on the list. The list of beautiful opera houses in Italy is seemingly endless: there’s Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in Rome, and Teatro Comunale di Bologna in Bologna. If you ever get the opportunity to go hear Verdi performed in La Scala, do it!
- Austria – 1,163 performances. Germany’s neighbor to the Southeast is right in the middle of our list. Mozart’s homeland has a phenomenal classical music scene all-around. One of the most famous opera houses in the world is in Vienna: the Vienna State Opera. There are two other major houses in the same city, however: Vienna Volksoper and Theater an der Wien. In Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, there is the Großes Festspielhaus, which opened with the premiere of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier in 1960.
- France – 1,020 performances. No list of anything artistic would be complete without some mention of France. The most important opera houses in France are the Palais Garnier, the Opéra Bastille, and the Théâtre du Châtelet, all of which are in Paris.
- United Kingdom – 989 performances. Some of the important opera houses in the UK include the Royal Opera House in London, the Buxton Opera House in Buxton, the Grand Theatre in Leeds, and the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
- Czech Republic – 818 performances. Homeland of the greats Janáček and Dvořák, the Czech Republic is actually 4th on the list of most opera per capita. The big opera houses in the Czech Republic include the Prague National Theatre, the Estates Theatre in Prague, and the National Theatre Brno in Brno.
- Switzerland – 652 performances. The two great opera houses in Switzerland are the Zürich Opera House and the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
- Poland – 638 performances. Bringing up the rear in our list of the top ten is Poland. The Grand Theatre in Warsaw is absolutely breathtaking. Another important house in this country is the Teatr Wielki w Łodzi in Łódź.