10 of the World’s Most Beautiful Live Music Venues
Catching your favourite band or singer live is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime, with the experience easily elevated further into greatness if you are lucky enough to watch them at a particularly atmospheric or impressive concert venue. Think grand music halls, open-air amphitheatres and stately opera houses. So what are you waiting for? Treat your eyes and your ears to a concert at one of the world’s most beautiful live music venues.
Carnegie Hall, New York City, USA
Carnegie Hall has stood on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan since 1891. Seating over 3,000 across its three auditoriums, Carnegie Hall has seen many legendary performers grace its stages, including Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey, as well as The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones. It might not be the grandest music venue in New York, but the acoustics here take some beating.
Madison Square Garden, New York City, USA
Part concert venue, part sports arena, Madison Square Garden sees everything from the New York Knicks and New York Rangers games to dog shows and boxing matches, with a number of pop superstar performances slotted in too – think Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Madonna, Elton John and U2. Named after James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, Madison Square Garden is the fourth biggest selling music arena in the world, after the UK’s O2 Arena, Manchester Arena and SSE Hydro.
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most distinctive buildings. It’s also Australia’s most recognised landmark, a World Heritage site and a much-photographed sight in Sydney Harbour. It opened in 1973, and despite its name and reputation for world-class opera, ballet and classical music recitals, the famous white sails of the Sydney Opera House also play host to a number of contemporary musicians, with the likes of Mary J Blige and Nick Cave having played here. On special occasions, the Opera House Forecourt, the large space outside the building, is used as a stage, where acts such as Florence + The Machine and Bjork have played.
Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, USA
If you’re a country music fan, rejoice! It doesn’t get better than the Grand Ole Opry. Founded in 1925, this weekly stage concert began life as a radio broadcast, but today is an extravaganza of country music, with many of the greats playing live right here, every week. Country musicians truly know they’ve made it when they are inducted as a member of the Opry – current members include Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, while past members included Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and the Everly Brothers.
Arena di Verona, Verona, Italy
If you’re going to see an opera, you might as well see it in style, and this amphitheatre, the eighth largest in the Roman Empire, is the perfect place to do so. Showing operas, ballets and classical music concerts in its 30,000-capacity arena, built in 30AD, the arena is at its best during the warm summer evenings when the annual opera festival takes place, although you can take a look around at any time of year. Not an opera fan? Fear not – many pop music acts have performed here including Duran Duran, The Who, Rod Stewart, Spandau Ballet and, more recently, One Direction and Adele.
Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman
Otherwise known as the ROHM, the Royal Opera House Muscat was built on the orders of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, a huge fan of classical music, in 2001, although it was 10 years later, in 2011, that it officially opened with a production of Turandot. Seating 1,100, the complex includes landscaped gardens, a market, and various restaurants as well as a theatre and an auditorium. Opera stars such as Plácido Domingo and Andrea Bocelli have performed here, and there are regular performances of contemporary Arab music too.
Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, USA
Carved into the hillside (known as the ‘bowl’) with the Hollywood Hills and the Hollywood Sign in the background, Hollywood Bowl has one of the most spectacular settings of all the world’s stages. Everyone who is anyone in the entertainment world has performed here, from Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald to Bruno Mars and Kylie Minogue. Come during the summer season for orchestral and jazz performances under the stars.
Jones Beach Theater, New York, USA
Located in Wantagh, New York, this beachside theatre opened in 1952 showing mainly musicals. After it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, it underwent a major renovation, reopening in 2013 with a more classic rock, country and pop music focus. Recent acts to have played the venue include Aerosmith and Rod Stewart, while 2018 saw performances from the Foo Fighters and Niall Horan. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and camp out under the stars.
National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing, China
Beijing’s flagship theatre, found just to the west of Tiananmen Square, is also known as The Giant Egg due to its distinctive oval shape. Constructed from titanium and glass and surrounded by water, which you can walk underneath, the centre seats 5,452 people in three halls, including an opera house, a music hall and a theatre. It stands out as being particularly modern in a city of traditional Chinese architecture, but it’s a popular place for tourists and locals alike to watch Chinese opera, ballet, classical concerts and folk singing.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver, USA
An open-air amphitheatre in Colorado, Red Rocks is surrounded by huge sandstone rocks, creating an excellent acoustic environment, leading many bands, including U2 and Coldplay, to record live albums on stage here. The theatre seats 9,525 and draws big names such as The Beatles, who played here in 1964, Depeche Mode, Fleetwood Mack and Mumford & Sons. The amphitheatre is especially impressive if the sun sets while you’re here, as the rocks glow bright orange. And when you’re not catching your favourite band, you can always enjoy the walking trails in the 600-acre Red Rocks Park.
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