The NY Times has a fascinating article about the new Opera House (Operaen) in Copenhagen. Tommasini really brings out some of the qualities that, to me, make watching ballet (or Opera) in Copenhagen so delightful.
People cross the streets only at designated crosswalks, waiting patiently on the curb for the pedestrian signal to turn green even when there is no traffic in either direction.
I believe it is actually illegal to cross against the lights in Denmark. Not that there are policemen (or women) on every corner waiting to pounce - but trying to dodge both the cars and bikes is a massive challenege. Better to wait for the green pedestrian signal than risk a collision with a bicycle.
Patrons tend to arrive early and check their coats (almost all patrons check their coats!)
At the Royal Theatre, you can either check your coat, or leave it hanging on a peg in one of the many non-manned coat areas. And if you don't, the ushers will normally politely ask you to please go and check your coat. (This also seemed to be the situation at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm) With heavy coats the norm during the cold Danish winters, it prevents people from tripping over coats draped on seats and leaves more room for each person to sit.
To me, a very wise idea, as bulky winter coats tend to leave you with very little room to sit or ooze over from your neighbor's seat squeezing you out of your seat. Plus, in theatres like the Royal Theatre or the NYS Theatre, with no centre aisle, it's very easy to trip over things on the floor.
Yet, I don't know if it would work elsewhere - I've never heard of a coat getting lost or being stolen from the un-manned areas, but I would be wary of leaving anything unprotected in NY.
I will get to see the new opera house close up in May - I've seen it from across the harbor - and look forward to it!!
The Protocols of Going to the Danish Opera (and Going Home)More
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
Published: March 26, 2005
For a New Yorker accustomed to watching the madcap dash to the exits that typically ensues as soon as a performance ends at the Metropolitan Opera, the relaxed pace and genteel protocols of opera-going in Copenhagen were a balm.
Of course, maybe my recent experience was not typical. The citizens are still abuzz about the new $441 million home of the Royal Danish Opera, which opened in January. Arguments continue about the architectural quality of the imposing structure. But over all the city could not be more excited about its new house.