The Forest Opera (Polish: Opera Leśna, German: Die Waldoper) is an open-air amphitheatre located in Sopot, Poland, with a capacity of 4400 seats, the orchestra pit can hold up to 110 musicians.
Built in 1909, the amphitheatre is used for various entertainment events and shows, including opera performances and song festivals. After World War I and almost until end of World War II it was a place of operatic festivals and Sopot was recognised throughout Europe and frequently labelled as the Bayreuth of the North. Here, mostly Wagnerian operas and musical dramas were performed regularly each year.
The open-air amphitheatre was recently completely redesigned replacing the old roof structure with a more modern and durable one which consists of a 1500 square metre PVC membrane roof and a 4.500 square metre PTFE canopy. The most important function was to protect visitors against rain and wind, keeping them comfortable. The roof has an attractive shape and perfectly interacts with the long-span steel arch. The installation work was especially demanding due to difficult location access, as it was in the middle of a forest and connected with the large arch structure.
The canopy is supported by a large central arch structure. Cables are connected to this arch and to the perimeter steel columns. The columns are stabilised by tie-back cables. Edge cables span between the columns to support the edge of the membrane panels. The membrane cladding is connected to the cables and steel arch. PVC membrane closures are added to provide a weather proof system.
The membrane cladding provides a perfect internal light ambiance and spectacular nighttime images.
Project: Forest Opera
Location: Sopot, Poland
Architects: J. Szczesny, A. Gołebiewski, W. Rosowski, Warsaw, Poland
Technical info: PVC/PTFE membrane roof
Picture credits: Halewicz