Perhaps there is no structure more iconic in Australia than the Sydney Opera House. Indeed, this mammoth of a building is not just a marvel to Australians, but to the rest of the world who see this place as a true work of art.
Planning for the Sydney Opera House – History
The plan to construct a venue large enough for big production numbers first started in the 1940s by the Director of NSW State Conservatorium of Music, Eugene Goossens. As you can imagine, there had to be a lot of lobbying that had to be done but in he finally succeeded in getting the support of then NSW Premier Joseph Cahill in 1954. A worldwide design competition was launched and among the 233 entries that were submitted, a winner was finally selected- a Danish architect by the name of Jorn Utzon.
This is definitely the defining work of Uzton’s considerable career. However, it was not without some problems. In the end, Uzton resigned and removed himself from the project, and another notable architect, Peter Hall took over in completing the building.
The project was estimated to be completed in four years, but ultimately took many, many more years to complete. It exceeded the budget that was slated for it, from $7 million to $102 million. However, when the Sydney Opera House was finally inaugurated by none other than Queen Elizabeth II herself on October 1973, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that this was truly a magnificent landmark that will be celebrated in the decades to come.
Sydney Opera House – Location
What is it that gives this particular structure international renown? Certainly there are several technical factors that were groundbreaking in its day, but perhaps one of the most remarkable things about it is its unique characteristic of harmoniously fitting in to its Bennelong’s Point backdrop, whilst standing out as a majestic structure amidst its peaceful setting. American architect Louis Kahn said of the precise beauty of the Opera House’s masterfully designed surface technique, “The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building.”
The entire site where the Opera sits on covers 5.798 hectares of land, housing seven performance venues namely the Concert Hall, the Opera Theatre, Playhouse, Drama Theatre, The Studio, the Forecourt and the Uzton Room.
Interior of the Sydney Opera House
The interiors of the venues are of world class standard. The Concert Hall seating 2,679 people and it’s Grand Organ taking a whole decade to create. To date, this celebrated performing arts center holds about 2500 performances yearly, and receives 4 million visitors from around the world every year.
Performances at the Sydney Opera House
Since its opening in 1973, the Sydney Opera House has staged several prominent artists and performances. Some of them include Romola Constantino, Charles Mackerras, Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Kiri Te Kanawa, June Bronhill, Joan Carden, Luciano Pavarotti, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Bob Hope, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Mikhail Barishnikov, Twyla Tharp, Ella Fitzgerald, Nana Mouskouri, Harry Secombe and Crowded House. The Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007 and continues to attract internationally renowned performers and visitors and is likely to continue to do so for many, many years into the future.