The Sydney Opera House took more than 16 years to
complete. It is supposed to look like a giant sailing ship, and
from some angles it does look exactly that. This giant structure has well over two
thousand glass panes specifically made for it in France. Unless one gets too close to the
building one does not realise that what covers the sails so to speak is in fact
rectangular ceramic tiles. Much like the tiles in the bathroom, except that there are well
over one million of them made for the Opera House in Sweden.
It also lies close to the other famous Sydney landmark, the "Harbour Bridge"
which joins Central Sydney to the North Shores.
|History and Construction:|
In the early 1950s a group of citizens began pressing the State Government of New
South Wales to build a performing arts centre in Sydney. An international competition was
organised for the design of a performing arts complex, and although this was well know,
the misnomer "Opera House" caught on. The winner of the competition, announced
in January 1957, was the Danish architect Jorn Utzon.
Construction of the building commenced in March 1959 and proceeded in slow stages over the
next fourteen years. The original design was so boldly conceived that it proved
structurally impossible to build. After four years of research Utzon altered his design
and gave the roof vaults a defined spherical geometry. This enabled the roofs to be
constructed in a pre-cast fashion, greatly reducing both time and cost.
Utzon resigned from the project in February 1966 as Stage II was nearing completion. A
team of Australian architects took over and after an extensive review of the proposed
functions of the building, proceeded with its completion.
There are nearly 1000 rooms in the Opera House including the four main auditoria. There is
also a Reception Hall, five rehearsal studios, four restaurants, six theatre bars,
extensive foyer and lounge areas, sixty dressing rooms and suites, library, an artists'
lounge and canteen known as the "Green Room", administrative offices and
extensive plant and machinery areas.
The first performance in the complex, in the Opera Theatre on 28 September 1973, was The
Australian Opera's production of War and Peace by Prokofiev. The Sydney Opera House was
officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973.
The Sydney Opera House is the busiest performing arts centre in the world. Since
its opening in 1973, it has brought countless hours of entertainment to millions of people
and has continued to attract the best in world class talent year after year. In an average
year, the Sydney Opera House presents theatre, musicals, opera, contemporary dance,
ballet, every form of music from symphony concerts to jazz as well as exhibitions and
films. It averages around 3,000 events each year with audiences totalling up to two
million. In addition, approximately 200,000 people take a guided tour of the complex each
year. The Opera House operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year except Christmas Day
and Good Friday.