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Muddy wellies across white canvas

Norway prides itself on its ubiquitous and egalitarian middle class, making of its opera house a celebration of folkstheatre –and it’s no empty boast– Oslo newspapers address eight pages to culture versus one to sport. But I think the architects behind the glacier-slopped Oslo Opera House have struck with typical condescending Nordic sarcasm. Here is an in-edifice to high art on which the people can trod, on every last angle. Even if Scandinavian farmers are not inclined to attend opera performances, they can sight-see from the pretentious exterior. Idealists can assert this art reaches the Hoi Poloi, as it compels visitors to put it all underfoot. It's form over substance, literally. The result presents aimless booted peasants looking like they wouldn’t know art if they stepped on it. I can see the pretension to flatten the Sidney Opera House, crossed with Hong Kong harbor's wreck of the Queen Mary II. The straight lines may have impressed on paper, but crawling over with masses, I see more a sinking white elephant.

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