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Who doesn’t know Sydney Opera House—one of the greatest works of art in human history that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Plus, it’s one of the top 10 opera houses in the world; hence, it’s so popular. It is, for most, regarded as the face of Sydney. Keep reading to uncover the untold stories behind this magnificent art performance center.
History of Sydney Opera House
There’s always something magnificent about the Sydney Opera House history, one of the 20th-century architecture masterpieces. The opera house was built on 2 March 1959 and officially opened on 20 October 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II after 14 years of challenging construction.
The magic happens when one steps inside the Sydney Opera House to learn about the building’s history, dating back to 1954. At that time, NSW Premier Joseph Cahill announced his aspiration of a more enlightened community by providing adequate facilities that could host talented artists and performances for hundreds of years.
Sydney Opera House history continued in 1955 with the announcement of Bennelong Point as the construction site for the new opera house. A year later, on 15 February, Joseph Cahill announced an international competition to select the best theater’s construction. More than 223 architects from 28 countries answered the call, and one of them was the winning architect.
The Architecture of Sydney Opera House
The 38-year-old Danish architect Jørn Utzon was selected to be the winning architect of the Sydney Opera House in January 1957. His entry was at first rejected because, despite being visually artistic, Utzon’s design lacked practical engineering knowledge. He was also unable to estimate the expenditures.
There’s no precise information on how Utzon was chosen. A popular story told that Finnish designer Eero Saarinen was appointed as one of the four judges, but he missed the first ten days of the judging. He then pulled Utzon’s entry and exclaimed that his design was easily the winner because of its originality.
Two years later, on 2 March, London-based structural engineers Arup Group were brought on board to construct the Opera House per Utzon’s design. The construction of the Sydney Opera House architecture was not without problems: the first significant problem related to the building of Stage One, and the second one associated with the roof.
Utzon’s requirements for the design of Sydney Opera House began to raise questions for Arup Group. However, the architect insisted on complete control and the funds required to finish his blueprints. Utzon decided to resign in 1966 under the weight of increasing pressure.
At that time, the Sydney Opera House architecture for the exterior structure had been completed. However, most of the interior designs had not yet been determined. A group of designers eventually completed the construction under Peter Hall’s direction.
In 1999, Utzon was brought back by the parent organization to solve problems regarding interior space. Utzon then began the renovations to bring the Opera House’s interior design to his initial vision, which remains to this day.
Fascinating Facts About the Sydney Opera House
As one of the world’s most well-known venues for performing arts, Sydney Opera House has a list of interesting facts everyone should know. Let’s check out below!
1. There are over 10.9 million people who visit Australia’s iconic landmark every year. The majority of them often come for live music concerts.
2. The building of the Opera House was expected to cost around $7 million. The State Lottery played a big part in financing the $102 total cost of the project.
3. In 1956, 233 entries were submitted for the competition to design the Opera House. A Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, won a ₤5000 prize for his original design.
4. One of the mind-blogging Sydney Opera House facts is that it took ten years longer than its 4-year expected completion. Around 10,000 workers were employed when the construction began in 1959.
5. In 2007, UNESCO included the Opera House on its list of World Heritage Sites.
6. Around 1.62 hectares (4 acres) of the roof building are covered with more than one million tiles exported from Sweden.
7. On 20 October 1973, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Opera House. Since then, she has come four times, the most recent being in 2006.
8. In 1980, former blockbuster actor and governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger won his bodybuilding title ‘Mr. Olympia’ in the Concert Hall.
9. One of the following intriguing facts about Sydney Opera House is that it’s cooled with seawater pumped straight from the Sydney Harbour.
10. Last, the Opera House celebrates Lunar New Year with red-lit sails, Mandarin tours, and lunar lanterns. In 2019, about 25,000 individuals joined the celebration.
The Sydney Opera House Tour
The magic of the Opera House can be unveiled with a Sydney Opera House guided tour. Tours conduct every day except Easter’s Good Friday, and Christmas from 9 am to 5 pm. It’s best to book the tickets in advance to uncover this world-class venue’s history, anecdotes, and untold stories while enjoying some performances.
How much are the tickets to Sydney Opera House? Sydney Opera House tickets for adults start from $42 per person. Tickets for children 5-15 years old start from $22, while children under the age of 5 are free. There are three tour packages to choose from: Tour Only, Tour and Dine, and Tour and Tasting Plate.
How to get there? The Opera House is only a 6-minute walk from Circular Quay, a public transport stop. If you’re driving, you can park your vehicle in Wilson’s Car Park, accessed through the 2A Macquarie St. Sydney. The car park is prepaid and opens 24/7.
Sydney Opera House Opening Hours: Tour bookings are available from 8:45 AM to 9:00 PM, and box office bookings are accepted from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The best time to visit the Sydney Opera House is during the non-peak months of September and October when the crowds are relatively less.
Where to eat nearby? Enhance your palate at one of the many food establishments at the Opera House. The restaurants offer various selections, from quick bites to award-winning gourmet dining. You can book a Tour and Dine package to enjoy delicacies prepared by skilled chefs.
Can I watch shows at the Opera House? To enjoy live performances, from modern music concerts to classic operas, you have to book the tickets for the show itself. Performance watch isn’t included in the tour package, but visitors of a guided tour can still access the venues when they aren’t used to staging live shows.
Sydney Opera House is a world-class performing arts center and Australia’s iconic landmark. While the Opera House is the most recognizable attraction in Sydney, there are still many to explore. Don’t miss the unforgettable thrill of climbing atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge or taking a dip in the blue waters of Bondi Beach.
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