Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House
SydneyOperaHouse20182.jpg
Sydney Opera House is located in Sydney
Sydney Opera House
Location in Sydney
Sydney Opera House is located in New South Wales
Sydney Opera House
Location in New South Wales
Sydney Opera House is located in Australia
Sydney Opera House
Location in Australia
General information
StatusComplete
TypePerforming arts centre
Architectural styleExpressionist
LocationBennelong Point, Sydney
CountryAustralia
Coordinates33°51′31″S 151°12′51″E / 33°51′31″S 151°12′51″E / -33.85861; 151.21417
TypeCultural
Criteriai
Designated2007 (31st 166rev
State PartyAustralia
RegionAsia-Pacific
TypeHistoric
Criteriaa, b, e, f, g, h
Designated12 July 2005
Reference no.105738
TypeBuilt
Criteriaa, b, c, d, e, f, g
Designated3 December 2003
Reference no.01685
References
Coordinates[2]

The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre at Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the 20th century's most famous and distinctive buildings.[3]

Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973[4] after a gestation beginning with Utzon's 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. The Government of New South Wales, led by the premier, Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958 with Utzon directing construction. The government's decision to build Utzon's design is often overshadowed by circumstances that followed, including cost and scheduling overruns as well as the architect's ultimate resignation.[5]

The building and its surrounds occupy the whole of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The building comprises multiple performance venues, which together host well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people.[6] Performances are presented by numerous performing artists, including three resident companies: Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, the site is visited by more than eight million people annually, and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year.[7] The building is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, an agency of the New South Wales State Government.

The Sydney Opera House during sunrise

On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site,[8] having been listed on the (now defunct) Register of the National Estate since 1980, the National Trust of Australia register since 1983, the City of Sydney Heritage Inventory since 2000, the New South Wales State Heritage Register since 2003, and the Australian National Heritage List since 2005.[9][10] Furthermore, the Opera House was a finalist in the New7Wonders of the World campaign list.[11][12][13]

Description

The facility features a modern expressionist design, with a series of large precast concrete "shells",[14] each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metres (246 ft 8.6 in) radius,[15] forming the roofs of the structure, set on a monumental podium. The building covers 1.8 hectares (4.4 acres) of land and is 183 m (600 ft) long and 120 m (394 ft) wide at its widest point. It is supported on 588 concrete piers sunk as much as 25 m (82 ft) below sea level. The highest roof point is 67 metres above sea-level which is the same height as that of a 22-storey building. The roof is made of 2,194 pre-cast concrete sections, which weigh up to 15 tonnes each.[16]

Although the roof structures are commonly referred to as "shells" (as in this article), they are precast concrete panels supported by precast concrete ribs, not shells in a strictly structural sense.[17] Though the shells appear uniformly white from a distance, they actually feature a subtle chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colours: glossy white and matte cream. The tiles were manufactured by the Swedish company Höganäs AB which generally produced stoneware tiles for the paper-mill industry.[18]

Apart from the tile of the shells and the glass curtain walls of the foyer spaces, the building's exterior is largely clad with aggregate panels composed of pink granite quarried at Tarana. Significant interior surface treatments also include off-form concrete, Australian white birch plywood supplied from Wauchope in northern New South Wales, and brush box glulam.[19]

Of the two larger spaces, the Concert Hall is in the western group of shells, the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the eastern group. The scale of the shells was chosen to reflect the internal height requirements, with low entrance spaces, rising over the seating areas up to the high stage towers. The smaller venues (the Drama Theatre, the Playhouse and the Studio) are within the podium, beneath the Concert Hall. A smaller group of shells set to the western side of the Monumental Steps houses the Bennelong Restaurant. The podium is surrounded by substantial open public spaces, and the large stone-paved forecourt area with the adjacent monumental steps is regularly used as a performance space.

Performance venues and facilities

The Sydney Opera House includes a number of performance venues:[20]

  • Concert Hall: With 2,679 seats, the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and used by a large number of other concert presenters. It contains the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, the largest mechanical tracker action organ in the world, with over 10,000 pipes.[21]
  • Joan Sutherland Theatre: A proscenium theatre with 1,507 seats,[22] the Sydney home of Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet. Until 17 October 2012 it was known as the Opera Theatre.[23][24]
  • Drama Theatre: A proscenium theatre with 544 seats, used by the Sydney Theatre Company and other dance and theatrical presenters.
  • Playhouse: A non-proscenium end-stage theatre with 398 seats.
  • Studio: A flexible space with 280 permanent seats (some of which can be folded up) and a maximum capacity of 400, depending on configuration.
  • Utzon Room: A small multi-purpose venue for parties, corporate functions and small productions (such as chamber music performances).
  • Recording Studio
  • Outdoor Forecourt: A flexible open-air venue with a wide range of configuration options, including the possibility of utilising the Monumental Steps as audience seating, used for a range of community events and major outdoor performances.

Other areas (for example the northern and western foyers) are also used for performances on an occasional basis. Venues are also used for conferences, ceremonies and social functions.

Other facilities

The building also houses a recording studio, cafes, restaurants, bars and retail outlets. Guided tours are available, including a frequent tour of the front-of-house spaces, and a daily backstage tour that takes visitors backstage to see areas normally reserved for performers and crew members.

Interior of the Concert Hall
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Sydney-opera
aragonés: Opera de Sydney
asturianu: Ópera de Sydney
azərbaycanca: Sidney Opera Teatrı
български: Опера на Сидни
čeština: Opera v Sydney
français: Opéra de Sydney
hrvatski: Sydneyska opera
Bahasa Indonesia: Gedung Opera Sydney
Lëtzebuergesch: Sydney Opera House
македонски: Сиднејска опера
Bahasa Melayu: Panggung Opera Sydney
Nederlands: Sydney Opera House
norsk nynorsk: Operahuset i Sydney
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Sidney opera teatri
português: Ópera de Sydney
Simple English: Sydney Opera House
slovenčina: Sydney Opera House
српски / srpski: Сиднејска опера
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Sydneyska opera
Tiếng Việt: Nhà hát Opera Sydney