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Operas are an interesting mixture of theatre (due to the play on the stage) and concert (due to the orchestra). Inevitably, one will find features of both theatres and concert halls; no less inevitably, there will be compromises to settle.
Opera facilities are meant to provide the audience with a good view of the stage and a good hearing of the singers on stage and of the musicians; in addition, they must enable the musicians and singers to hear each other.
An opera house is, of course, a building where the opera hall and its stage are housed. But there are quite a lot of other spaces (e.g., rehearsal rooms, plant rooms, technical rooms, etc.) that have their own requirements.
As with any project, there usually exists a program: What does the end user (and the payer too!) actually want? This means the various requirements must be identified and the relevant acoustic objectives stated. In today’s spirit of sustainable development, one must be conscious that a team effort (i.e., architects, structural engineers, HVAC, and acoustics, just to name a few) occurs and make sure that the various solutions that are considered at the design stage are compatible with each other. Acoustics is often part of a global problem that can only be solved by a complete design team fed the relevant data by the end user. This is especially true in the opera projects, as many features will turn out to be the result of compromises between the architect, the acoustician, and the stage engineer, just to name a few. In addition, due to the cost of such a project, the city or region paying for it will certainly have some requirements regarding the outward appearance of the building, as well as some internal features.
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