The Sydney Opera House, situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour in Australia, has to be one of the world’s most easily recognizable buildings. This would be due to its totally unique design – a masterpiece of 20th Century architecture. Not only is it a multi-venue performance hall, but it is a site to which visitors to Sydney are immediately drawn. The effect of viewing the Opera House is both dramatic and unforgettable. There are guided tours available 363 days of the year.
About the Design
The design of the building is termed Modern Expressionist. The design of the roof, which is so well known, is a series of large shell-shaped sails. 1 million tiles were used in constructing the roof. The length of the Sydney Opera House is 185 metres/600 feet and the width, 120 metres/400 feet. The height is the equivalent of a 22-storey building.
A Little History
The building was designed by Danish architect, Jorn Utzon. His design was selected from a total of 232 competitive entries. It actually took 16 years to build, and was eventually opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2007, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the organization described it as “a great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape at the tip of a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour.”
Interesting Facts about the Sydney Opera House
- There are 7 performance venues plus cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops
- It is home to Opera Sydney, the Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
- There are over 2500 performances held each year
- The largest venue is the Concert Hall which seats 2679 people
- There are a total of 1000 rooms in the building
- The Opera House contains one of the world’s largest organs and has 10,000 pipes
Who has performed at the Sydney Opera House?
Performers include Joan Sutherland, Kiri Te Kanawa, Luciano Pavarotti, the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Bob Hope, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp, Ella Fitzgerald, Nana Mouskouri, and Harry Secombe, to name just a few. Since 1973 over 45 million people have attended over 100,000 performances.
So, while in Sydney on your Australia vacation, a visit to the Opera House will surely be a must.