The Sydney Opera House is no doubt one of the most famous landmarks on the planet. It is to Sydney what the Pyramids are to the people of Giza and to Australians, what the Great Wall is to the Chinese.
Not so long ago, a union was forged between ancient and mordern ideology to give birth to one of the most amazing marvels in history. Lying on the sacred ground of the Gadigal people, the baby born of this union, according to US Architect Frank Gehry “changed the image of an entire country.”
Believe me, whether tourist or passerby, hater or lover of Sydney, whether or not you have a lukewarm attitude towards the arts; there is something (at least) about this architectural brilliance that awakens the hidden tourist and disinters the burried historian in all of us.
Here are five reasons to support my claim:
#1. A Fierce Competition Birthed A Miraculous Design.
The New South Wales Government in 1956 organized a design competition calling on various architects both local and international (yes, it was to be a gift to the world so all the best minds were summoned) to get their geniuses on and come up with the best design for what would be, basically, two performance halls; one for symphony concerts and the other for opera. This was the basic requirement so it was left solely to the designer to spice up his work his own way as there were no cost limits nor rigid design parameters to be adhered to – at least at that time.
And so, the games began. They worked; Great ideas were submitted, discarded; Dreams were drowned, passions were hurt, sentiment put aside. Then, in 1957, out of a pile of discarded submisssions, Jorn Utzon, a seemingly inexperienced designer from Denmark shocked the world and emerged the winner. Despite skepticism as to his lack of experience as well as the feasibility of his designs puzzling many at that time, the New South Wales government decided to commission Jorn Utzon as the sole architect of what would go on to become one of the most distinctive landmarks in Sydney, Australia and the world.
Photo of Jorn Utzon(centre) with two of the judges who picked his design Leslie Martin (left) and Eero Saarinen (right).
#2.The Controversial Fight For The Right To Stay.
Like all great beings have to fight silent battles to remain amongst us, so the Danish man and his miracle baby fought for the chance to prove themselves.It came as an unwelcome surprise for many in 1966 when Jorn Utzon resigned as a result of a change in government and as it seemed, cost overrun as well as the questionable feasibility of his designs.Yes, he left Sydney before the project was completed; The generality did the best they could as street demonstrations were paid no mind.
Photo showing the University of Architecture students protest
In his absence, Peter Hall supported by Lionel Todd and David Littlemore worked with the government architect, Ted Farmer to complete the erection of the glass walls as well as make additions such as three new venues underneath the concert hall.
PETER HALL & HIS COLLEAGUES
#3.The Touch Of Royalty.
Royalty begets royalty hence it should come as no surprise that the structure which would be fit to house Kings and Queens was declared open by a queen; It is only fitting.On the 20th day of October 1973, Queen Elizabeth II declared the Sydney Opera House officially open in grand style. In her company, was Prince Phillip.
#4.The Whole Idea.
The Sydney Opera house is situated in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. In all its glory and multiple venues, it occupies the Bennelong point on the Sydney harbour just adjacent to the Royal Batanic Gardens and the Sydney central business district with the Sydney Harbour Bridge just close by.With its multiple performance venues, this building took about 14 years to erect and hosts about 2500 performances and events attended by over 1.2 million people per year. Over 8 million visitors come around every year with about 350,000 taking a guided tour.
Photo of the Joan Sutherland Theatre.
Photo of the Playhouse Theatre – A flexible Studio capable of catering for up to 600 people (sitting and standing) depending on the configuration.
Before 1998 there was the concert hall, drama hall, restaurants and bars as well as the open theatre. However, in 1998, a fifth theatre was included which increased the popularity of the Sydney Opera House, attracting nearly 1.5 million patrons that year alone.
THE RECORDING STUDIO
Managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, performances are championed by the Sydney Theatre Company, The Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Opera Australia amongst other performers.
At present, the various performing venues include The Joan Sutherland Theatre: formerly known as the opera theatre and having 1507 seats.
With the Sydney Opera House hosting over 40 shows per week that cut across music, dance, comedy, opera, talks, tours and so on; a story is told of just how much brilliance was invested therein. Event planners with their well-polished tastes cannot seem to get enough of this magnificent structure with their continuous patronage earning the Sydney Opera House the title of “One of the world’s most creative and busiest art centres.” The whole idea of this 20th cum 21st century wonder is worthy of all the praises it has received.
#5. The View.
Whether you are simply gazing from the bridge or harbour, or you are sipping a cocktail at the opera bar; whether you are enjoying a show in any of the venues or taking part in a behind-the-scenes tour, you would agree with me that the view is simply amazing photo showing the Sydney opera House and Tourists enjoying the view the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Night View from the rocks
Three different groups of interlocking vaulted shells are set on a terraced platform and surrounded by terrace areas that serve as concourses for pedestrians. The shape of the shells envisaged by Utzon alongside Ove Arup and partners was derived from the surface of a single imagined sphere.
That apart, the sail design envisioned by Utzon, though radical in the eyes of many was astonishing in the eyes of architects and engineers all over the world at that time and remains a marvel even now.
Sydney’s accomodation provision even makes the view of the Sydney Opera House an added benefit to their services especially in hotels such as The Four Seasons, Quay Grand Suites, Park Hyatt and Shangri-la located on the edge of the Sydney Harbour.
Need more convincing? I hope not. You really should go visiting sometime.