Sightseeing overview: Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House – a place worth visiting Australia for

sydney opera house

Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognizable buildings and a symbol not only of Sydney, but of the whole continent. The unusual architecture of the Opera House attracts tourists and has given the Opera House the title of the most outstanding building of modern times. In 2007, UNESCO added the Sydney Opera House to the list of world cultural heritage. The area of the structure is 22 thousand square meters, its length – 180 meters, and width – 120.

Not all attractions in Australia are popular with the fact that the Queen of Great Britain herself was present at their opening. In 1973, Elizabeth II ceremoniously cut the ribbon. The building was designed and built by the talented architect Jorn Watson. His creation is still treated ambiguously. Some consider the project a stroke of genius, and some don’t understand its bizarre shape. Despite this, both the former and the latter rush to see the outstanding monument of architecture.

Where is the Sydney Opera House

The Opera House in Sydney is located in the harbor at Bennelong Point. There was formerly a fort and a streetcar depot. The location of the attraction is convenient and tourists can easily get to it from anywhere in the city.

You can see a more detailed location on a map of Sydney.

How to get there

The theater in Sydney is located at Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000. It can be reached by ferry, train or bus. The stop is within walking distance of the attraction.

If you take the ferry, you should head in the direction of the pier of Surkular Key Bay. If you walk 1 km from the central park, you can also reach the site.

Driving your own car will be problematic because there is a lot of difficulty with parking near the Opera House, so locals prefer to ride bicycles.

History of Creation

With a history spanning 16 years, the Sydney Opera House has become one of the most famous landmarks in the world, and the cost of its construction has increased tenfold over that time.


To get the chance to build an opera house of their own design, many architects sent their work to a competition. The idea to build a theater in Sydney was introduced by an Englishman, Hussens. He worked as an orchestra conductor and on his arrival in Sydney was very surprised that there was no opera house in the city. Hussens, having gained support among Australia’s influential people, decided to build a building where the public could come to hear music or see performances.

There were more than two hundred applicants for the title of architect of the Sydney Opera House. The commission took a long time to select the right candidate, examining the drawings down to the last detail. The plan was to build a building that would be surrounded on three sides by water. Many ideas were rejected because they could not be realized in such conditions.

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Jørn Watson astonished the commission members with his decision. The originality of the project was off the charts, so it was decided to approve the idea.


Construction of the Sydney Opera House lasted from 1957 to 1973. Initially it was planned to build the theater in 4 years, having spent 7 million dollars. In the end, the building cost the city a tidy sum (over 100 million dollars). It took 16 years to raise the money and finally erect the building. The area of the theater is 22,000 square meters.

Photos of the construction of the Sydney Opera House

Architectural style

The Australian Theater in Sydney was built in the style of impressionism and has a unique and incomparable design. In the picture the theater looks like a structure of the future, like something impossible. It weighs 161,000 tons. The roof of the building resembles several sails or shells. It is covered with many azulejo tiles (a typical Portuguese tile). The color scheme is white, but the colors change when backlighting is used.

Sydney Opera House inside

1st hall

The concert hall and the largest hall. It seats 2,679 people. Most of the seats are located directly in front of the stage. The stage is 11 meters long and the width can vary from 14 to 17 meters by reducing the number of seats in the hall. There is also a huge organ, which is considered the best sounding organ in the world.

Concert hall photo

2nd Hall

The second hall is used for ballet and opera . The capacity is 1,547 people. Part of the audience has a limited view due to the structure of the hall. The stage can accommodate 70 musicians.

3rd hall

Drama Theater, which seats 544 spectators. The view is very good due to the amphitheater-like structure. There are 19 rows.

4th hall

Theater. One of the coziest halls. capacity – 398 people. The stage can also vary in width by reducing the front rows. Theatrical performances, lectures and even movies are held here.

Auditorium 5

Studio. This hall is used for corporate presentations, modern music and theatrical performances. The capacity is 364 seats.

This is interesting. Once a courier, while trying to deliver a package to a recipient, got lost in the theater building and mistakenly walked onto the stage right during a performance.

Interesting Facts

  • In 1966, the author of the idea to build the structure Utzon left Australia and destroyed all the drawings by which the building was built. This decision was made because of the constant condemnation from the population of the country;
  • Wikipedia reports that in a year the theater in Sydney receives about 1.25 million spectators;
  • John Paul II, Nelson Mandella, Bill Clinton, and many other celebrities have given speeches in this theater;
  • It cost $102 million to build the Opera House;
  • The Sydney Opera House was nominated as one of the wonders of the world;
  • There is no dress code for visiting the halls of the theater. Audience members are allowed to come in any clothes.
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If you decide to visit the Sydney Opera House, wikipedia will tell you many more interesting facts about its construction, architecture, etc.

Opening hours

The attraction welcomes guests Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am, and on Sunday from 10:00 am until late evening, until the performances are over. Note that one day of the year the theater is not open – Good Friday.

This is important. You can only get a tour of the opera house in the afternoon, when there are no performances or performances in the halls.

Ticket prices

Prices for visiting the opera house can vary depending on the purpose of your visit – a tour or a visit to the ballet, theater production, opera, etc. Tourists will have to shell out between $30 and $300. Make sure to buy tickets at least a month in advance, because it is unrealistic to buy them before the performance itself.

What to see nearby

The Opera House has undoubtedly become the biggest attraction in Sydney, but there are other things to see in the city besides it.

    Harbour Bridge – Considered to be the largest and longest bridge in Sydney and one of the largest steel arch bridges in the world. It opened in 1932 and was built to connect the business part of the city and downtown.

If you like to travel, it is definitely worth a visit to Sydney. Study the reviews of tourists who have already been to the country and decide for yourself what other attractions you want to see. Where else do you think you should visit when you come to Sydney?

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House is an outstanding example of 20th century expressionist architecture. The building is a tourist brand of Australia and the cultural center of Sydney.

The Sydney Opera House is an outstanding architectural structure of the 20th century. It was nominated as a new wonder of the world and was among the finalists. Listed by UNESCO, it is a popular tourist attraction.

The Sydney Opera House is located in the local harbor at Bennelong Point. The building was built on 580 concrete piles driven into the bottom. Its length is 183 m, width – 118, and the occupied area – more than 21.5 thousand m 2 . The maximum height of the building is 67 m.

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Interesting facts about the Sydney Opera House refer not only to the history of construction and architectural implementation (we’ll talk about them below). No other theater in the repertoire has a work about it. Opera House’s The Eighth Wonder is the only precedent.

History of the Sydney Opera House

Sydney had no opera house at all until the mid-twentieth century. The guest conductor of the local symphony orchestra, Eugene Goossens, considered this situation unacceptable. The authorities of Sydney agreed with him, but did not have the funds to build. In 1954, they announced a donation drive that lasted two decades. During this period about 10,000,000 AUD were raised. The original reported cost of the structure of 70,000,000 AUD eventually turned out to be 10,000,000 AUD actually spent.

According to the terms of the tender, the theater was to be built in the limited area of Cape Bennelong. The main hall with 3,000 seats in the projected building was reserved for the opera and ballet. A smaller hall with seating for 1200 spectators was to be used for chamber music and theatrical productions. The young Danish architect Jorn Utson was the winner among 233 competitors. His design resembled a multi-sail ship on the water surface surrounding the cape.

Work began in 1959 and lasted 14 years instead of the planned four, extending the date of construction until 1973. Delaying the deadline had both objective and subjective reasons. Among the first were the demands of the authorities to add two more auditoriums. And the original steam roof sheathing designed by Jorn Utson had acoustical deficiencies. It took the architect several years to find an alternative technical solution. The new vault turned out to be too heavy for the foundation made, and a new one had to be made.

The extra costs and delayed construction strained Utson’s relationship with the local authorities, and he left Sydney. In 1966, local architects continued construction. According to many experts, this had a negative effect on the interior of the building. The theater inside is significantly inferior to the stunning facade.

Sydney’s new building actually opened on September 28, 1973 with Sergei Prokofiev’s opera War and Peace. The official ceremony took place on October 20 with the British monarchess Elizabeth II, who is the formal head of Australia.

The architect of the Sydney Opera House was not present at the opening and was not even mentioned. Nor is his name on the authors’ bronze plaque at the entrance. It is true that in the same year the local Institute of Architects awarded a gold medal to Jorn Utson. And in 2003 he received the Pritzker Prize, the highest award for architects, for his project.

In 1999, Jorn Utson designed the reconstruction of the Reception Hall, which was later renamed in his honor. Jörn’s son, the architect Jan Utson, supervised the work. And Jorn himself did not return to Sydney after 1966. He died in 2008 before he saw his famous creation. The floodlights illuminating the Sydney Opera House were turned off for an hour in memory of the great architect.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House its architect and architect

Opera houses are usually built in a classical style. In contrast, the Sydney Opera House is a shining example of expressionist architecture. The unique roof is realized in the form of sails of different sizes. Surrounded by water on three sides the building from a distance looks like a big multi-sail ship moored in the Sydney harbor. That’s how the architect saw the future theater. He said he wanted to take the audience away from the usual routine into a fantasy world of actors and musicians.

The area available for construction was limited. The projects rejected by the jury had the common disadvantage of being unwieldy. Jörn Utson solved this problem by shifting the attention to the architectural dominant feature – the roof. Its total diameter is 150 metres. The roof frame consists of two thousand concrete sections and weighs 30 tonnes. The two largest sails crown the two main halls, which were originally designed. Under the smallest sail is the Bennelong restaurant. The entire structure is attached by metal cables, with a total length of 350 km.

The uneven height of the roof originally caused problems with the acoustics. They were eliminated by a sound-reflecting ceiling with special gutters. The latter, in addition to their practical function, also performed an aesthetic one, emphasizing the arches of the stage.

The top of the roof-sails were covered with white polished and cream matte azulejo tiles (Portuguese tiles). It was specially made for the theater. The edges are dominated by matte tiles and the center by shiny tiles, which created an iridescent effect. More than a million pieces of tile were required for the 1.62 hectares of tiling. The mechanical method of laying made it possible to achieve a perfect evenness that was unattainable with manual tiling.

Although the sails of the roof appear white from a distance, they change color depending on the light. As the architect said, the sun and clouds will make the roof come alive and you never get tired of looking at it. He was right.

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Sydney Opera House inside

The functional purpose of the main halls has changed. The main hall, initially intended for opera and ballet performances, was decided to be converted into a concert hall. The second hall in terms of size was turned into an opera hall. Currently the complex has six main rooms.

  • Concert Hall for 2679 spectators. One of the largest organs in the world is installed in it with 10 thousand pipes. The stage is 17*11 m and can be expanded with 85 front seats.
  • The Opera Theatre has a seating capacity of 1,547 spectators. Its tapestry curtain, called the “Solar”, is the largest on the planet.
  • The Drama Theatre with 544 seats is used for theater and dance performances. Its dark tapestry curtain is called the “Moonlight.
  • The 398-seat Playhouse is used for chamber theater productions, lectures, and film screenings. The auditorium’s stage can be expanded in two stages, sacrificing 46 audience seats.
  • The Studio Hall, opened in 1999, can accommodate 364 lovers of avant-garde plays, contemporary music or corporate events.
  • Jorn Utson’s small auditorium is adorned by a wool tapestry in bright colors, woven from his sketch.

The theater complex includes about a thousand different rooms. In addition to the halls, the building has rehearsal rooms, theater stages, a recording studio, stores, cafes, restaurants, and other numerous facilities. A person who does not know the plan of the theater, it is not difficult to get lost in it.

There is an anecdotal case of a novice courier delivering a parcel. He got lost in the rooms and ended up on stage during a performance. Fortunately, one of the actors was not confused and uttered: “The package was finally delivered!” The audience thought his line was part of the story.

Another comical incident occurred during a performance of Musorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov. Its scenery included real chickens. One of them flew from the stage onto the musician’s head. After that, a net was placed over the orchestra pit.

The Sydney Opera House at Bennelong point, Sydney NSW 2000, hosts about three thousand cultural events each year, with millions of spectators. Find out about the repertoire and book tickets on the official website.

300 thousand tourists annually visit the theater as part of organized excursions. They are held from 9 to 17 hours every day except Christmas and Good Friday, and last about an hour.

The cost of a typical tour – 35 AUD. Evening tours are also practiced, combined with a show, as well as dinner in a restaurant or cafe. For example, the tour and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, well complemented by dinner at the Mozart Bistro.

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