Sydney Opera House

Monday, 6 March 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© David Iliff/cc-by-sa-3.0

© David Iliff/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney. It is one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973 after a gestation beginning with Utzon’s 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. The government of New South Wales, led by the premier, Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958 with Utzon directing construction. The government’s decision to build Utzon’s design is often overshadowed by circumstances that followed, including cost and scheduling overruns as well as the architect’s ultimate resignation. The building and its surrounds occupy the whole of Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Sydney Opera House was formally opened by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, on 20 October 1973. A large crowd attended. Utzon was not invited to the ceremony, nor was his name mentioned. The opening was televised and included fireworks and a performance of Beethoven‘s Symphony No. 9.

Though its name suggests a single venue, the building comprises multiple performance venues which together are among the busiest performing arts centres – hosting well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people. Performances are presented by numerous performing artists, including four resident companies: Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, more than eight million people visit the site annually, and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year. The building is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, an agency of the New South Wales State Government. On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

during 'Vivid Sydney 2013' © Adam.J.W.C./cc-by-sa-2.5 Sydney Opera House © Chemiker © flickr.com - Pavel/cc-by-2.0 © flickr.com - Rosino/cc-by-sa-2.0 © Adam.J.W.C./cc-by-sa-2.5 Concert Hall and organ © Koika/cc-by-sa-3.0 © David Iliff/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - Kazuhisa Togo/cc-by-2.0
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during 'Vivid Sydney 2013' © Adam.J.W.C./cc-by-sa-2.5
The facility features a modern expressionist design, with a series of large precast concrete “shells“, each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metres (246 ft 8.6 in) radius, forming the roofs of the structure, set on a monumental podium. The building covers 1.8 hectares (4.4 acres) of land and is 183 m (600 ft) long and 120 m (394 ft) wide at its widest point. It is supported on 588 concrete piers sunk as much as 25 m (82 ft) below sea level. Although the roof structures are commonly referred to as “shells” (as in this article), they are precast concrete panels supported by precast concrete ribs, not shells in a strictly structural sense. Though the shells appear uniformly white from a distance, they actually feature a subtle chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colours: glossy white and matte cream. The tiles were manufactured by the Swedish company Höganäs AB which generally produced stoneware tiles for the paper-mill industry. Apart from the tile of the shells and the glass curtain walls of the foyer spaces, the building’s exterior is largely clad with aggregate panels composed of pink granite quarried at Tarana. Significant interior surface treatments also include off-form concrete, Australian white birch plywood supplied from Wauchope in northern New South Wales, and brush box glulam. The Sydney Opera House includes a number of performance venues:

  • Concert Hall: With 2,679 seats, the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and used by a large number of other concert presenters. It contains the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, the largest mechanical tracker action organ in the world, with over 10,000 pipes.
  • Joan Sutherland Theatre: A proscenium theatre with 1,507 seats, the Sydney home of Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet. Until 16 October 2012 it was known as the Opera Theatre.
  • Drama Theatre: A proscenium theatre with 544 seats, used by the Sydney Theatre Company and other dance and theatrical presenters.
  • Playhouse: An end-stage theatre with 398 seats.
  • Studio: A flexible space with 280 permanent seats (some of which can be folded up) and a maximum capacity of 400, depending on configuration.
  • Utzon Room: A small multi-purpose venue for parties, corporate functions and small productions (such as chamber music performances).
  • Recording Studio
  • Outdoor Forecourt: A flexible open-air venue with a wide range of configuration options, including the possibility of utilising the Monumental Steps as audience seating, used for a range of community events and major outdoor performances.

Other areas (for example the northern and western foyers) are also used for performances on an occasional basis. Venues are also used for conferences, ceremonies and social functions. The building also houses a recording studio, cafes, restaurants, bars and retail outlets. Guided tours are available, including a frequent tour of the front-of-house spaces, and a daily backstage tour that takes visitors backstage to see areas normally reserved for performers and crew members.

Read more on Sydney Opera House and Wikipedia Sydney Opera House (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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