Stopera is actually a generic word referring to an 'opera house' and comes from the Dutch word 'stadhuis', meaning city hall, and the word opera. When someone refers to 'the Stopera' in Amsterdam however they are obviously referring to the building complex located in city center between the Waterlooplein and the Zwanenburgwal which houses both the city hall of Amsterdam and the Opera. The Stopera opened in 1986, and built in what was originally the old Jewish quarter. The design by Cees Dam and Wilhelm Holzbauer is striking, and is in fact a draw for many students and fans of architecture. The Stopera is heavily subsidized by the government, but is very popular – tickets often sell out far in advance so if you plan on visiting purchase early!
The history of the Stopera is interesting as well – postponed and moved several times before its final location due to much controversy and land deal problems the opera house bid was run by the Wagner Consortium as a contest. The original winner was a J.F. Staal with a proposal for a structure on the Museumsquare, near the Concertgebouw. The city council turned this proposition down however, and in 1979 the decision was made to combine the city hall and Opera building and Bijvoet was awarded the bid for the opera house portion. This too was ill fated however, since in December of that year Bijvoet died and the bid was awarded to Cees Dam. Finally completed in 1986 it has remained the premier opera house in Amsterdam every since.
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