The Most Stunning Theaters in the World
For some, a night at the theater sounds about as fun as sticking your hand in a ceiling fan. But even Andrew Lloyd Webber haters would willingly spend a few hours in these beautiful venues. Whether it's the neobaroque state theater in Wiesbaden or the ultra-modern Guangzhou Opera House, these theaters are incredible examples of both art and architecture. Put on your finest opera glasses, which we know you have lying around, and get going.
Teatro la Fenice, Venice, Italy
On top of being drop-dead gorgeous, Venice's famed opera house (above) has some serious history going for it. The theater has hosted world premieres for composers like Verdi, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and Stravinsky (look 'em up, they're legit) since it first opened in 1792. It's also suffered a number of catastrophes—including a fire as recent as 1996—but it's still going strong in its 223rd season.
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Seebühne, Bregenz, Austria
"Seebühne" means "sea stage" in German, and it's a fitting title, since this theater is floating on the GD water. The Bregenz Festival first began staging productions on Lake Constance in 1946, and eventually built a stage in 1950. The Seebühne now hosts everything from The Magic Flute to West Side Story, but no matter the show, you can count on some insane sets. (This one's from the 2011 production of André Chénier.)
The Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto, Canada
This Canadian gem (below) is part of a double-decker theater and while the Elgin (the other half) is great, it's the Winter Garden Theatre that gets all the attention. Rightfully so, seeing as the walls are hand-painted to resemble a garden and there are actual beech boughs hanging from the ceiling. It began as a bustling vaudeville theater, but closed in 1928 when everyone got enamored with the talkies instead. The Winter Garden Theatre sat there for decades, until the Ontario Heritage Trust launched a multi-million dollar restoration in 1987. They had to clean the whole place with raw bread dough to avoid damaging the original artwork on the walls, but clearly, it was worth the wasted yeast.
Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, Spain
Walk into the concert auditorium of this landmark (below) and you'll be confronted with beautiful stained glass, tiled mosaics, and marble sculptures at every turn. It's considered a masterpiece of the Catalan Art Nouveau scene, and is the only concert venue in that style to earn coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Suck it, Lluís Domènech i Montaner wannabes.