The Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is considered by some a modern wonder of the world. This impressive structure houses a world recognized performing arts center.
In 1947 it was decided that a new opera house for Sydney was needed. A location called Bennelong Point on the eastern headland of Circular Quay was picked and an international design competition was held. On January 29, 1957, a Danish architect named Jern Utzon won the competition with the visionary design that is recognized world-wide today.
Construction began in 1957 and was wrought with long delays, work problems and bitter fights. Mr. Utzon disagreed with the planners from the beginning of construction. He felt the plans needed more concrete outlining before the work was undertaken. Mid way through the planning he was requested to build four theaters instead of the original two. After much disagreement and contention he left the project in 1966.
Despite numerous set backs and increased costs, 102 million dollars, the building was officially opened on October 20, 1973, by Queen Elizabeth II. It is considered to be one of the finest performing art's centers in the world today.
The Sydney Opera House hosts four auditoriums under those infamous sail-like shelled roofs. The Concert Hall is the largest of the theaters, and it will host 2,679 people. This theater is used for larger productions such as symphonies, concerts and conventions. The Opera House is next largest with a seating capacity of 1,547. The performances of ballet, opera and contemporary dance are most often held here. Since operas are performed in their native language, subtitles are available on a screen over the stage. Smaller performances and films are usually done in either The Studio or The Playhouse, the other two theaters that make up the complex.
The Sydney Opera House is home to the Australian Ballet, the Sydney Dance Company, the Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Theater Company, Music Viva, and the Australian Opera. Varied performances are held throughout the year, as well as free concerts on the ‘prow' of the building on Sundays.
Visitors may tour the opera house daily. Guided tours to various areas of the opera house are available and packages may be obtained for a tour, dinner and show. ‘The Bennelong,' located in the complex, is a fine restaurant noted for its Australian cuisine and seafood.
The Opera House by night is a magical sight. By day the shimmering tiles on the famous roofs are visible from many points in the harbor and city.
The Sydney Opera House is an famous example of architecture. A jewel in the breath taking splendor of Sydney Harbour. This is an attraction very much worth seeing.