Saturday, 3 October 2009

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous buildings in the world. In November, 1954, Joe Cahill, Premier of New South Wales said that Sydney needed an opera house to be built and be a landmark for the city. In 1955, the NSW Government chose a site for the Sydney Opera House. It was to be built in Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Bennelong Point was a good choice because it was near the heart of the city, which made it easy for people to go there by tram, train or other means of transport.
An international competition for designing the Sydney Opera House was announced. 233 designs were sent from 28 different countries. One architect from Denmark whose name was Jorn Utzon had a very creative design for the new opera house. He was only 38 years old but extremely talented. He sent 12 drawings of his design in 1956. He got the first prize for his design. The second prize went to an American team of architects and the third prize went to a British one. Utzon came to Sydney on 29th July to see the site for the Sydney Opera House.
In March, 1959, work started in the Sydney Opera House. The first stage of building finished in 1963, two years behind schedule. The second stage started to construct the roof shells. This was a very difficult thing to do because of the new design. The roofs of the House are covered with one million glossy white and matte cream Swedish-made tiles.
In 1965 the Labor Party lost the state elections. In February, 1966, Utzon resigned because he had many problems with government officials who were not happy about the delay and thought that the building was costing a lot of money. In March, 1966, more than 1000 people marched to the State Parliament House asking the government to keep Utzon in charge of building the Opera House. Utzon left Australia and promised not to return ever again. He had enough after having many problems with government officials. The government appointed a panel of three architects to complete the project and stage three of constructing the Opera House started.
In September 1973, the first public performance was given at the Sydney Opera House. On 20th October, 1973, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House has four main halls: the Concert Hall which seats 2,679 people, the Opera Theatre 1,505, the Drama Theatre 544 and the Music Room which is called the Playhouse 398. There is an Exhibition Hall, a Studio Hall, a reception Hall, rehearsal rooms, two restaurants and six theater bars.
Many famous people visited the Sydney Opera House including film stars and political leaders. The Sydney Opera House is Sydney’s most important attraction and it is visited by millions of people every year. Tens of thousands of people celebrate the beginning of the New Year with a massive fireworks display near the Sydney Opera House. It is also a World Heritage Site. Guided tours are offered for anyone to see the Opera House. Tickets cost 24 dollars each.