SPB Sydney Opera House

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

 

A few days before we left on our trip I happened to notice a tweet that the Sunday we’d be in Sydney was the one day of the year that the famed Opera House held its (free) open house. On my previous visit to Sydney I’d paid to take a tour and hoped to convince my friends that it was worth it but this was even better, even if we did have to line up early on a Sunday morning.

The iconic Sydney Opera House as viewed from the point in front of the Park Hyatt

The iconic Sydney Opera House as viewed from the point in front of the Park Hyatt

In the 1950s when Sydney decided an iconic building was needed, a world-wide competition was held. The winner was Jørn Utzon from Denmark. Construction began in 1959 with the podium being finished in 1963, the outer shells in 1967 and the interior work was completed in 1973 – only 10 years overdue and 1457% over budget! Due to conflicts with government officials, Utzon resigned from the project in the mid-1960s and his name was not even mentioned in the building’s grand opening ceremony. However he and his son were asked to help with some remodeling efforts that opened in 2004, completing the reconciliation process between the two parties.

On my previous tour, we were not allowed to take photos of the concert halls – though that was in 2006, before widespread use of camera phones. On this tour, photos were allowed everywhere and we saw far more than I ever did on the paid tour.

My favorite spot was perhaps the most obvious: the Concert Hall. I love the beautiful blonde wood in this hall and the massive organ sitting above the stage. Perhaps someday I’ll get to attend a performance here. We were even able to go down on the stage and get a performers-eye view of things. The lights kept changing colors from natural wood to blue to purple, red, and so on.

The main concert hall

The main concert hall

The massive organ inside the conference hall

The massive organ inside the conference hall

Seating in the Concert Hall

Seating in the Concert Hall as viewed from the stage

The blonde wood theme continues around the interior as well.

All the beautiful blonde wood extends to the lobby

All the beautiful blonde wood extends to the lobby

The famous shells that make up the roof were actually pre-cast on the ground and lifted into place. Here’s what they look like from the under-side.

The underside of the concrete shells that make up the roof

The underside of the concrete shells that make up the roof

There are several other theaters in the building, including the Joan Sutherland Theatre, which is the Sydney home of Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet. It is here that I saw my first (and only) opera back in 2006. Wish I could remember which one it was!

This is the Drama Theatre

The Drama Theatre

The Drama Theatre

And this is the Studio, set up for a cabaret-style offering

The Studio set up in cabaret mode

The Studio set up in cabaret mode

We also got to go in the “belly of the beast”, down in the green rooms and rehearsal halls. Several costumes from productions were on display. The attention to detail on these was amazing!

Some of the costumes on display

Some of the costumes on display

Then of course there’s the exterior. From a distance those shells look like smooth white concrete. Up close you can see they’re nothing of the sort but are a mixture of cream and yellowish tiles.

Tiles on the roof

Tiles on the roof

From the side view, I think the shells look more like sails.

Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007

Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007

And from the main entrance side that faces the botanic gardens, they remind me of conquistador helmets!

The main entrance as viewed from the botanic gardens

The main entrance as viewed from the botanic gardens

Later that day as we took the ferry to Manly, we could see the view from the water.

The rear lobbies overlook the water

The rear lobbies overlook the water

It’s a beautiful building by day or by night and I must have taken dozens of photos. I was thrilled to be able to see it in person once again!

The Opera House in profile at night

The Opera House in profile at night

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