The Sydney Opera House is one of Sydney’s most famous landmarks and the core of the city’s cultural scene. The performing arts facility is most definitely a fascinating building from both a historical and architectural point of view, which made it one of the most visited and photographed buildings in the whole wide world.
History and location
The opera house is located on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbor in Australia and work on the building first started in 1959, when the base was put together. However, construction work per se only began in 1962 when the designs by Danish architect Jorn Utzon were ready. The official opening took place on October 20, 1973, and Queen Elizabeth II herself was present on the floors. The whole project took 14 years to build and cost a whopping $120 million.
The impressive architectural design with ancient and modernist influences challenged all engineering knowledge at that moment and put some limits to its functions, like the fact that it’s impossible to house a grand opera for its opera stage is too small.
It has, however, seven performance venues. These are the Opera Theatre, Drama Theatre, the Concert Hall, a Playhouse, The Studio, the Forecourt and the Utzon Room, along with bars, restaurants, and even a recording studio.
The 2,679-seat Concert Hall is the largest venue and is designed for symphony concerts, choir performances, and other music shows. Meanwhile, the Opera Theatre hosts dance performances and the other smaller theatres are usually used for film screenings, stage plays and smaller musical performances. Outdoor performances take place on the Forecourt.
For those who don’t know, the multipurpose complex is home to Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, as well as The Australian Ballet. The sail-like building is 187 meters long and 115 meters wide and was erected on 5.798 hectares of land. Most impressive, it sits on a pillar that is said to be the biggest free standing column in the world.
Over 8.2 million people come to Sydney to visit the Opera House every year and the performance venues within it host together more than 1,500 performances a year, with more than 1.2 million people in attendance.
The Sydney Opera House is currently managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust and, as of June 28, 2007, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So if you ever happen to visit Sydney, make sure to go see the Opera House. Besides its majestic architecture, it is one of the most sophisticated and complex entertainment venues in the world. Moreover, the Sydney Opera House organizes daily tours of the building for tourists, who can then just take a walk back towards the city center through the Botanic Gardens.