Sydney Opera House
I wonder why the country, where there are eucalyptus trees and kangaroos, which has never been famous for outstanding singers and composers, has the odd-shaped building of the Sydney Opera House. Why do Australians become interested in classical music? The explanation is simple – an exotic continent has long yearned for the best examples of traditional European culture.
Since the late 50-ies of the XX century, European musicians and singers who came on tour to Australia noted that there was an interest in classical music and singing in Sydney, but there was no real concert hall.
In 1954, a competition was announced. More than 200 architects from 30 countries worldwide took part in it. There were a lot of projects of the opera house, mainly tall buildings with columns. But Australians wanted something unusual, they needed the original design. Everyone liked the project of an unknown Dane named Jorn Utzon. He had never been to Australia and had seen Sydney only in photos, but inspired by a picture of a sailboat in the sea, he suggested a certain structure, resembling regatta. The project was approved and Jorn Utzon won the competition.
But the design on paper – is one thing. The heated disputes about the money lasted for a long time. Finally 7 million dollars were collected and they began building. But there were technical difficulties. High and “inflated” sails needed support. Again the columns? It was necessary to recalculate the project. Construction was delayed for ten years. Unfortunately, Utzon was unable to bring the opera house to the end. In February 1966 he went home and the work was completed by the Australian team of architects. Sails were built with the help of three cranes, made especially for this in France. The Sydney Opera House was one of the first Australian buildings constructed with the help of cranes.
In 1973, everything was ready. Queen Elizabeth II visited the opening ceremony of the Sydney Opera House on 20 October 1973. The first performance was Prokofiev’s War and Peace.
The building cost $ 100 million.
Sydney Opera House has become one of the largest and most significant buildings of the XX century. Today, it is a huge complex which includes approximately 1,000 rooms. Opera House covers an area of 1.8 hectares. The entire territory of the theater complex occupies 5.798 hectares. It has become a main attraction of Sydney, an architectural symbol of Australia.
Since 1973, millions of people visited the Sydney Opera House. Every year there are about 3,000 different concerts and performances. It is open to the public 363 days a year – it is closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday. During the year, the theater employees work every day and around the clock.
On June 28, 2007 The Sydney Opera House was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the same year it was among the 20 finalists of the “Seven New Wonders of the World.”
– In 1980, Arnold Schwarzenegger received an honorary title in bodybuilding competition, Mr. Olympia, in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.
– Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited the Sydney Opera House five times.
– In May 2003, Jørn Utzon was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize – the main architectural award in the world.
– It took four weavers more than 8 months to create a new tapestry for Utzon Hall.