On October 20, 1973, Queen Elizabeth II officiated the opening ceremony of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Its unique design rising above Sydney Harbor like billowing sails of bygone galleons, this theatrical hub beckons over two million patrons and tourists each year. Although its architectural structure is universally recognized as a symbol of culture and the arts, this unusual building guards a host of secrets. In this edition of The StickerTalk, we’re heading to the Land Down Under to explore the history and hallways of the Sydney Opera House on its 46th birthday!
In 1956, a Danish architect named Jorn Utzon was chosen to design the Sydney Opera House; his concept was just one of 233 designs submitted. While Utzon and his team predicted that the new theatrical venue would be ready to welcome visitors after four years of construction, the building process spanned across fourteen years and cost 102,000,00 Australian dollars instead of the original estimate of only $7,000,000. Fortunately, money from a state lottery was readily available to help foot the cost of such an impressive architectural feat, and a workforce of 10,000 professionals labored diligently until the project was complete.
Actually comprised of multiple theatrical rooms, the Sydney Opera House has hosted a plethora of interesting performances and programs. Celebrity and former politician Arnold Schwarzenegger received his final Mr. Olympia title in Sydney Opera House’s Concert Room in 1980. The facility has also seen four visits from Queen Elizabeth II and was featured in the triathlon courses of the 2000 Summer Olympics. Fowl play was afoot in the Opera House, however, in the 1980s when a production of Boris Godunov was playing in one of its many theaters. An apiary member of the cast, specifically a live chicken, wandered over the edge of the stage and onto the head of a cellist in the orchestra pit below. Following this harrowing event, a safety net was placed over the top of the orchestra bit to prevent such disasters.
Of course, the building possesses a number of unusual characteristics and quirks. Due to its expansive perimeter, a whopping total of 15,000 light bulbs are required each year to keep Sydney Opera House illuminated. The building houses 1,000 rooms as well as the world’s largest mechanical organ. Capitalizing on abundant natural resources, the building utilizes a network of pipes filled either heated or cooled seawater in lieu of traditional air conditioning and heaters.
Should you ever find yourself in the whimsical city of Sydney, Australia, treat yourself to a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House! A venue steeped in history and rich in culture, the Opera House will continue to serve as a symbol of creativity for generations to come.