SPLENDID SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

 

[Top-left photo shows the nighttime view of the SPLENDID SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE from behind; top-right photo shows the front view of the Opera House; and bottom photo shows the Opera House from the side near the site of the Harbour Bridge.]

From photographs that I have seen and from video clips on TV, my initial perception of the Sydney Opera House was that the seemingly-looking shells that adorn its virtual roof structure were just splashed with white paint. But I was wrong, the white “shells” which also resemble as though petals of an immaculately white flower sprouting up in its entire splendor are plastered with stone ware tiles.  Though the shells appear uniformly white from afar, those tiles were so arranged and juxtaposed featuring thereby subtle chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colors: glossy white and matte cream.

The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts center in Australia. It is considered as one of the 20th century’s most famous and distinctive buildings.

The Sydney Opera House was designed by a relatively unknown 38 year old Danish architect by the name of Jørn Utzon. It was Utzon’s entry, Scheme No. 218, which on January 29, 1957 won in the INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION FOR A NATIONAL OPERA HOUSE IN SYDNEY.  Work in putting up the opera house begun in 1958 and it was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II on  October 20, 1973. Yes, it took 15 long years for the edifice, a true work of art to be finished/completed.

Actually, planning for the construction began in the late 1940s, when Eugene Goossens, the Director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music, lobbied for a suitable venue for large theatrical productions. The normal venue for such productions, the Sydney Town Hall, was not considered large enough. By 1954, Goossens succeeded in gaining the support of NSW Premier Joseph Cahill, who called for designs for a dedicated opera house. It was also Goossens who insisted that Bennelong Point be the site: Cahill had wanted it to be on or near Wynyard Railway Station in the northwest of Sydney’s  Central  Business District.

Indeed, it was the government of New South Wales, led by then premier, Joseph Cahill, which authorized work to begin in 1958 with Architect Utzon directing the 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. Due to a change of government in NSW which eventually questioned Utzon’s costings culminating in the stoppage of payment to him, Utzon resigned in 1966 and never ever returned to Australia to see and behold the completed Sydney Opera House.

The building and its surroundings occupy the whole of Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, an area which is close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Though its name suggests a single venue, the building comprises multiple performance venues which together are among the busiest performing arts centers – hosting well over 1,500 performances annually, usually attended by more than 1.2 million people.

Performances are presented by numerous performing artists, including four resident companies: Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, more than eight million people visit the site annually, and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year.

The building is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, an agency of the New South Wales State Government.

On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The whole building covers 1.8 hectares and is 183 meters long and 120 meters broad at its widest point. It is supported and stands on 588 concrete piers sunk as much as 25 meters below sea level.

The original cost and schedule estimates in 1957 projected a cost of AU$ 7 million and completion date of 26 January 1963 (i.e. Australia Day). However, the project was completed ten years late and at a cost which was 1,457% over the original budget in real terms.

When we went to take an up close and personal viewing of the Sydney Opera House, the venue’s frontage at the foot of the majestic stairs unto the Opera House’s lobby, about a quarter of a hectare large, was rhapsodic, euphoric and jubilant. An Indian yoga master, who seemed to be adept at ZUMBA dancing too, and who was standing atop an improvised pedestal was directing and  demonstrating the steps, the sways and the hand movements of a melodious and rhythmical dancing to the tune of Indian exotic music. And joiners, old and young; tall and wide; black and white; sexy and pulpy; congregated in.

DANCE!DANCE!DANCE!

sydney-dancing-people

[People dancing near the Sydney Opera House!!!]

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