'Operaen' now top tourist attraction, as music festivals also draw crowds

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Norway’s new Opera House in Oslo has emerged as the capital’s top tourist attraction, beating out both the Vigeland (Frogner) Park and the Viking Ships. Even though performances are suspended during July, the Opera House offers daily events, while other music festivals are drawing crowds all over the country.

An estimated 1.3 million people have visited the Opera House, which opened in April 2008. The waterfront complex continues to be a magnet for Norwegians and tourists alike.
“We’re here because we’re interested in both architecture and music,” Yvonne Schmucki, a visitor from Switzerland, told newspaper Dagsavisen . She and her husband Lukas took time to wander around the Opera’s roof, and take photos this week.

Tor Sannerud, head of Oslo’s tourist office, said he thinks Holmenkollen will regain its spot as the top tourist attraction when construction of itsnew ski jumpsis completed next year.

The Opera House is offering impromptu concerts during the summer, guided tours every day and its café and restaurant have been drawing crowds, especially the outdoor café on the water.

There are plenty of other musical events on offer all over the country, asNorway’s summer festival seasonmoves into high gear. Newspaper Aftenposten reports that no other country in the world has as many music festivals per capita as Norway does. A survey conducted by research firm InFact for Sony Ericsson indicates that a fourth of the country’s population plans to attend one or more music festivals this summer. The number is even higher among those aged 18 to 24.

The season started with the annual Festspillene in Bergen in May and Norwegian Wood festival in Oslo in June, which attracted Neil Young and 30,000 spectators this year. Last week’s Hove Festival on the southern coast attracted around 12,500 during its four-day run and this week the sometimes controversial Quart Festival started in Kristiansand, headlined by former Guns ‘N Roses guitarist Slash.

Fans of jazz, chamber music, blues, folk music and dance bands also have plenty to choose from. Other festivals are taking place in Oslo, Kongsberg, Vinstra, Melbu and Tromsø this week, to name a few.