The Sydney Opera House, A building that changed a country!

One of the first things that come in everybody’s minds whenever they hear about Australia, the Sydney Opera House. Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in Australia, and also one of the most recognizable ones in the World! It was inaugurated in the year 1973, became the focal point of the Sydney Harbor and has been attracting millions of visitors each year since then.

It can be described as a center of performing arts with multiple venues to host the shows. Despite its prominent name, only about 15% of the shows that get hosted there are opera. The rest of the 75% of the shows include concerts, theater, ballet, orchestras, as well as art and culture lectures amongst many others. Here are some interesting facts about one of the most prominent buildings of the 20th century which highlighted Sydney as well the whole of Australia on the World Map.

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1.The government announced an international competition for the construction of the Sydney Opera House in January 1956. It attracted 233 entries from a total number of 32 countries. The project was awarded to the Pritzker Award winner Danish Architect, Jorn Utzon. He indented to develop a sculptural form that would relate to the harbor naturally.

2. The construction of this beautiful building took over 16 years to complete, a lot more than the estimated 4 years with the involvement of over 10,000 workers.

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3. The Opera House also attracted inspiration from the Mayan culture and has 100 meter wide steps that lead to the main building.

4. The shell structure of the building has been laid with a million ceramic tiles. They were manufactured by one of the best ceramic manufacturers of the world, Hoganas, in Sweden.

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5. The initial estimated cost of this iconic structure was $7 million, however, cost more than $102 million due to many complications that took place during its construction.

6. Due to some dispute between Utzon, and the new Australian government, Utzon resigned in 1966. Only the building’s podium was in place till then, with the roof structure incomplete. New architects were appointed by the government which invited a lot of issues.

7. The first person to perform at the Sydney Opera House was the famous American singer Paul Roberson. He performed while the building was still under construction. He sang Ol’ Man River for the construction workers while they had their lunch, climbing up the construction scaffoldings!

8. It was inaugurated on October 20th, 1973, by Queen Elizabeth II. Since its inauguration, more than 10.9 million people from around the world visit this monumental structure each year.

9. It is really interesting to know that whenever the Sydney Symphony Orchestra is in the Concert hall to perform, the temperature needs to be exactly 22.5 degrees to keep the instruments perfectly in tune. The cooling in the Opera House is powered directly by the seawater from the harbor. The ventilation system feature 35 kilometers of piping to circulate cold water from the harbor.

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10. Thirty year post the inauguration of the Sydney Opera House, Utzon’s Design Principles booklet was handed over to the Opera House Trust to ensure proper advancements as visualized by the master architect. The modifications were completed in 2006 by Utzon’s son along with an Australian Architect, Richard Johnson.

11. The Sydney Opera House looks the most beautiful on Lunar New Year each year. It is celebrated with all the sails lit in red, Mandarin tours, and Lunar Lanterns. An approximate of 20 to 25 thousand people around the world witnesses this one mesmerizing experience each year. 

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The Sydney Opera house hosts tours for the public to get an insight into this iconic building. The tour even features the behind the scenes of performance in the halls. The cherry on the top, it also features food from the Opera Kitchen itself. It is a must-visit landmark for every art lover around the world at least once in their lifetime. The Opera House concert halls have witnessed some of the greatest performances in the history of mankind and would continue to do so for the ages to come!