Overview

  • Features: Performing arts centre, modern architecture
  • Opening Times: 9:00am to 5:00pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: Any time
  • Duration: 1 to 3 hours
  • Travelled By: Car
  • Cost: $23 for Opera House tour
  • Address: Bennelong Point, Circular Quay East, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • Type: Building

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Summary

The Sydney Opera House is the Sydney’s most popular tourist attraction, as well as one of the world’s busiest performing art centres. Popularly known as the ‘Opera House’, this building breaks ranks on many different levels.

10 Interesting Facts About Sydney Opera House

 

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The sun did not know how beautiful its light was until it was reflected off this building.

– Famous American architect Louis Kahn on seeing the Sydney Opera House for the first time

 

The Sydney Opera House is the Sydney’s most popular tourist attraction, as well as one of the world’s busiest performing art centres. Popularly known as the ‘Opera House’, this building breaks ranks on many different levels. No other building on earth looks like the Sydney Opera House. Moreover, only a handful of buildings around the world are as architecturally and culturally significant as the Sydney Opera House.

Below are the answers to some popular questions about the Sydney Opera House as well as all the information you need to know to plan your visit to this unique and spectacular attraction.

 

Who designed the Sydney Opera House?

The Sydney Opera House architect was Danish architect, Jørn Utzon. In 1956, he won an international competition to design it.

 

When was the Sydney Opera House built?

The construction of the Sydney Opera House began in 1959. Despite the architect’s resignation in 1966 and after a tumultuous tirade of ego clashes, technical difficulties and delays it was opened in 1973.

 

Where is the Sydney Opera House?

The Sydney Opera House is located at Bennelong Point on Circular Quay East in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

 

10 Interesting Sydney Opera House Facts for Kids

  • The Sydney Opera House is not just an opera house but a full-scale performing-arts complex with five major performing spaces
  • The biggest and grandest hall is the 2,690-seat Concert Hall, which has the best acoustics of any building of its type in the world
  • The architecture of the Sydney Opera House is based on 20th-century Modern Expressionism
  • It is believed that the arched roof design of the Opera House came to the architect, Jørn Utzon while he was peeling an orange
  • The architect is believed to have drawn inspiration from orange segments, snails, palm fronds and Mayan temples
  • Jørn Utzon resigned in 1966 before the completion of the Opera House in 1973
  • The Opera House was built at a cost of A$102 million
    • An appeal fund was set up, eventually raising A$900,000, while the Opera House Lottery raised the balance
  • The best view of the Sydney Opera House is from the ferry approaching Circular Quay
  • The star features of the Opera House are the Concert Hall, Opera Theatre and the Roofs
  • Guillaume at Bennelong, one of the finest restaurants in Sydney, is located at the Sydney Opera House

 

Sydney Opera House History

The history of the building is as intriguing as the design. The New South Wales Government raised the construction money with a lottery. Danish architect Jørn Utzon won an international competition to design it. From the start, the project was controversial, with many Sydneysiders believing it was a monstrosity. Following a disagreement, Utzon returned home without ever seeing his finished project. The interior fell victim to a compromise in design, which, among other things, left too little space to perform full-scale operas. And the cost? Initially the project was budgeted at a cool A$7 million, but by the time it was finished in 1973 it had cost a staggering A$102 million, most raised through a series of lotteries. Since then, continual refurbishment and the major task of replacing the asbestos-laden grouting between the hundreds of thousands of white tiles that make up its shell has cost many millions more.

A long-overdue reconstruction is being completed, aimed at putting into practice what Jørn Utzon had long visualized. The tatty old reception hall has already been transformed into an impressive welcome room. Its centerpiece is Utzon’s first foray into visual art: a glorious floor-to-ceiling tapestry inspired by Bach’s Hamburg Symphonies and Raphael’s painting Procession to Calvary.

Also finished is work on the Western Loggia, or colonnade, which opens up the foyers of the Playhouse, the Drama Theatre, and the Studio to harbor views and creates spaces for cafes and functions. Investigations are also going ahead into refurbishing the Opera Theatre and improving the acoustics in the Concert Hall. Utzon died in 2008. He never returned to Australia after leaving Sydney in 1966, nearly 7 years before the building was finished.

 

Sydney Opera House Architecture

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The architecture of the Sydney Opera House is based on 20th-century Modern Expressionism. It is believed that architect, Jørn Utzon, drew inspiration from orange segments, snails, palm fronds and Mayan temples. The Opera House has also been poetically likened to a ‘nun’s scrum’ and the sexual congress of turtles.

The 67m- (221 ft) high roof features 27,230 tonnes of Swedish tiles (1,056,000 of them).

 

Sydney Opera House Events, Shows & Concerts

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The Sydney Opera House has four main auditoriums for dance, concerts, opera and theatre events, plus the left-of-centre Studio for emerging artists.

The biggest and grandest auditorium is the 2,690-seat Concert Hall, which has the best acoustics of any building of its type in the world. Come here to experience opera, chamber, music, symphonies, dance, choral performances and even rock n’ roll. The Opera Theatre is smaller, seating 1,547, and books operas, ballets, and dance. The Drama Theatre, seating 544, and the Playhouse, seating 398, specialise in plays and small-scale performances. The Boardwalk, seating 300, is used for dance and experimental music.

There’s also an Exhibition Hall and an artsy-crafty Sunday Market on the concourse. The bimonthly Events Diary details forthcoming performances and is available free inside. The Kids at The House program features kids’ music, dance and drama including the Babies’ Proms Orchestra (orchestral nursery rhyme and picture-book accompaniment) and introductory ballet with Australian ballet dancers.

Click here for more information on Sydney Opera House events, shows and concerts.

 

Sydney Opera House Tickets

Most events sell out quickly, but ‘partial view’ Sydney Opera House tickets are often available on short notice. To get the best seats, purchase tickets as soon as they are released to the public.

Click here for more information on how to purchase Sydney Opera House tickets.

 

Sydney Opera House Seating

To view the Sydney Opera House seating at the Concert Hall, click here.

 

Sydney Opera House Tours

Sydney Opera House tours are a fantastic way to see the front and the back stage of this masterpiece. The tour will take you from ‘front of house’ to backstage. Due to rehearsals, not every tour can visit every theatre, but you’re more likely to see everything if you arrive early.

Click here for more details on Sydney Opera House tours.

 

Sydney Opera House Parking

Public transport to Circular Quay is the best way to get here, but if you’re driving there’s a car park under the building. Entry is via Macquarie Street and opening hours are from 6:30am to 1:00am daily.

 

Sydney Opera House Map

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Sydney Opera House Address

Bennelong Point

Circular Quay East

Sydney NSW

Australia

www.sydneyoperahouse.com