Archive for the ‘Valencia’ Category


Svelter Shelter

Opera stars are getting svelter, and so are opera houses.

Where is this one? You know who designed it. Santiago Calatrava.
It’s in Valencia, where’s he’s designing a new world. In the old world.

Are we getting tired of buildings that screamingly call attention to themselves? If they’re going to do that they’d better be screamingly beautiful. I don’t know if this one is.

Calatrava already has a Planetarium and IMAX Theater and a Science Museum in Valencia, his native city.

This new opera house, also features Calatrava murals and ceramic bas-relief sculptures. And it looks like his opera house in Tenerife:

That one is screamingly beautiful! Though a bit of a rip-off of the Sydney Opera house.

Which will always be the icon.

From the Valencia opera house press release: In 1991, the government of Valencia commissioned Calatrava to design this vast urban intervention (86 acres!) to bring coherence and life to a previously neglected area, and to provide the city with cultural facilities of national importance.

Enlightened government? Some say the buildings don’t work very well. That they’re form over function.

Santiago Calatrava’s Valencia Opera House is due to open October 25.

If you’re there, you’ll hear Fidelio. Odd choice. Why not also commission new music? A new Spanish opera to go with the new building? Especially as the press release tells us,

“The people of Valencia have traditionally shared a deep love of music,” Santiago Calatrava states. “The region is sometimes known as the Land of 1,000 Bands, since every village and town has its musical association. In fact Llíria, called the City of Music, has two, which are respected throughout the world. The project of creating the Valencia Opera House is therefore highly significant—because of the role that music plays in the life of the region, and because of the civic role that the building will now play in the evolution of the city.”

When it opens, will Calatrava’s other buildings, the ones with wings that move, wave at it?


And, is ‘svelter’ a word? 😉

Calatrava portrait by Suzanne DeChillo/TM cThe New York Times