A Guide for Visiting the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House boasts of being among the most visited sites around the globe. It’s located at Bennelong Point, which protrudes into the Sydney Harbour. It’s rated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The building is an attractive and unique piece of architecture, with a complex roofing that looks like billowing sails or huge shells. It’s set right at the waterfront, making it even more pleasing to visit. The building is surrounded by the harbour from three sides. The Royal Botanic Garden surrounds it on the southern side.
Besides its attractiveness, the building houses a large concert hall, reception rooms, rehearsal rooms, studios, theaters, and an open forecourt that overlooks Sydney and the harbor. When light reflects off the Opera House, that’s when you know the great beauty it holds. Our Sydney plumbers suggest that it’s a place you shouldn’t miss visiting during your visit here.
While the Opera House boasts of being an iconic structure, it has a very rocky history. In 1957, Bennelong Point was selected by the then government to be a center for culture. Its design was based on a competition that included international architects. Jorn Utzon, a Danish architect, won the competition.
However, the building’s construction was marred with controversy from conception to completion. Numerous technical problems came up and they delayed its construction, combined with skyrocketing costs. In 1966, Utzon left the ongoing construction after numerous disappointments from the government.
The construction was completed a decade later than it had been planned. Its initial cost of construction was approximately A$10 million, which ended up multiplying tenfold by the time of completion.
Most of the money to construct it was raised through lotteries. The building was opened on 20th October 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II. Utzon didn’t attend the opening ceremony. His efforts weren’t recognized during the opening ceremony.
In 1999, Utzon was approached by the NSW Government and Sydney Opera House Trust for reconciliation. The two bodies wanted Utzon to submit the building’s design principles that would assist in renovation work.
Its Reception Hall was refurbished and opened in 2004, just one year after marking the building’s 30th anniversary. The hall was renamed as Utzon Room to honor Jorn Utzon.
After 2004, more improvements were done on the building by Utzon in collaboration with his son, who also happens to be an architect. The newest renovations were done on the Colonnade, the Drama Theatre, and the Studio. Large glass doors and windows were added to the Drama Theatre and Studio to allow visitors to view the harbor from the inside.
The Queen opened the new work in the building in 2006 and formally recognized Utzon. Unfortunately, Utzon didn’t manage to travel all the way to the ceremony due to his old age.
Tips for Visitors
- It’s advisable to book seats in advance for productions. Attend a production to appreciate and explore the building’s unique ambiance and acoustics.
- Performances start promptly. Thus, arrive at the building early enough to collect your ticket and to stow large bags, jackets, and cloaks.
- You can opt for guided tours to learn more about the building and enjoy some tasty meals at the Opera Kitchen. Tours based on foreign languages are also offered.
- Enjoy a meal from a restaurant of your choice while viewing the harbor.
- Don’t forget to take some amazing photos for memories from a spot of your choice.
How to Get to the Opera House
- You can take a bus going to Sydney or use the City Rail service. You can also travel by ferry and alight at the Circular Quay and walk to the Opera House.
- The disabled and the elderly can take a complimentary bus that runs between the Circular Quay and Vehicle Concourse.
- If you prefer cycling, you’ll find a bike parking under the Monumental Steps of the building.
- In case you’ll want to drive to the site, you can park your car at the 2 Macquarie Street.
- Ticket prices usually vary depending on the show.