From the gilded balconies of La Fenice in Venice to the glowing African rosewood auditorium of the Met in New York City, opera houses are supreme works of art that take architecture to a majestic level of grandeur.

With the growing popularity of massive arenas, it is often difficult to think back to a time when going out for a night of music was synonymous with elegance. But a new book has rediscovered the high art of these exquisite theater spaces.

The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World (Abrams) contains hundreds of photographs showing the exteriors and auditoriums of these cultural treasures--and is a reminder why these archetecutral wonders are worth a visit. With a foreword by Met music director James Levine, the volume offers a rare look into the dressing rooms, scenery workshops and rehearsal halls accompanied by a unique historical perspective on the importance of these houses to theater.

Cities visited include Milan, Oslo, Tokyo, and New York, depicting a vast array of architectural styles and materials from around the globe. The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World features photographs by Guillaume de Laubier and text by Antoine Pecqueur.

Here's a look at some of these architectural wonders.