Focal Point For Arts And Theatre In Southern Hemisphere: Sydney Opera House

Posted On November 26, 2009 

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

There are certain memories which get stored on every journey. Our mind collects and keeps every piece memory in the closet of mind. And like every memory has a portray beautiful shadow. Memories are dispersed in all colors. But every like every color say something every memory holds many things in its package. Just like that even my trip to Sydney has many beautiful memories stored.

The moment I was standing near Sydney Opera House I kept wondering what be the idea behind such a beautiful architect. I was trying to grip the brain but I could not hold on my curiosity. Unless and until you don’t get answers to the questions that cripple your brain nothing can put you to rest, not even sleep. My restless bought me more close to Sydney opera house.

If you see this structure you really don’t understand from where to start. It is one of the masterpiece in modern world of architect. It was the genius brain of Danish architect Jorn Utzon whose strength made a dream turn into reality. Jorn Utzon winner of Pritzker Prize, which is a highest honor in Architecture. Jorn Utzon had recognized the potential of the place which was against the stunning backdrop of Sydney Harbor. It was huge challenge to the every person who had shared his dream.

The Sydney Opera House is situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour which is very close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

In a very short span of time, Sydney Opera House has bagged in a huge recognition as a world-class performing arts centre and become a icon of both Sydney and the Australian nation.

Even if Sydney Opera House is counted in modern architect its planning had begun in late 1940’s, when Eugene Goossens the Director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music, reserved a appropriate site for large theatrical productions. The construction of the building became as controversial as it is design.

In 1956 the NSW Government called an open-ended international design and Jorn Utzon’s winning entry created great community interest and the NSW Government’s decided to commission Utzon as the sole architect.

The Design of the building and construction were directly entwined. It was Utzon’s fundamental approach to the construction nurtured an exceptional collaborative and ground-breaking environment throughout the construction.

The most difficult part of the structure was too designing and construction of the shell structure took eight years to complete. The development of the special ceramic tiles for the shells took almost three years. Construction of the shells was one of the most complex engineering tasks ever to be endeavor. At the request of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) the NSW Government changed the proposed larger opera hall into the concert hall because at the time, symphony concerts, managed by the ABC, were more popular and drew larger audiences than opera.

If you watch the structure very carefully you will notice the unique roof makes up of interlocking domed ‘shells’ rest upon a vast terraced platform and encircled by terrace areas that function as pedestrian concourse.

The structure consists of two main halls which are arranged adjacent to each other with their long axes, and are slightly inclined from each other consecutively from north-south. The auditorium faces south. The Forecourt is a vast open space from which people mount the stairs to the dais. The Monumental Steps, which lead up from the Forecourt to the two main performance venues, are a great ceremonial stairway nearly 100 meters wide.

The shells are facing in glazed off-white tiles while the podium is clad in earth-toned, reconstituted granite panels. The glass walls are a special feature of the building, constructed according to the modified design by Utzon’s successor architect, Peter Hall.

The Cost overruns contributed to criticism and alteration of government ensued to Utzon’s resignation, street demonstrations. Finally it was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973. New works were assume between 1986 and 1988 to the Forecourt under the supervision of NSW Government Architect, Andrew Andersons and with contributions of Peter Hall.

Sydney Opera House

Through the construction of the Opera House, a number of chowtime performances were arranged for the workers, with Paul Robeson the first artist to perform at the ongoing Opera House.

The most appealing insights of Sydney Opera House is divided in following venues : Performance venues and facilities

The Opera House houses the following performance venues:
  • The Concert Hall which contains the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ the largest mechanical tracker action organ in the world, with over 10,000 pipes.
  • The Opera Theatre is a proscenium theatre with 1,507 seats. It is the home of Australian Opera and The Australian Ballet.
  • The Drama Theatre, a proscenium theatre includes 544 seats and is used by the Sydney Theatre Company and the rather dancers of Sydney.
  • The Playhouse which is a theatre with 398 seats.
  • The Studio which is a pliable space with a upper limit competence of 400 people.
  • The Utzon Room, a small multi-purpose venue, seating up to 210. The only interior space designed by Utzon which was refurbish in 2004 under his direction.
  • The Forecourt, a flexible open-air venue is for special occasions.

This place hold a huge respect in my heart as it is meant for art and culture. It is house to the Arts clan. The words citated by Jorn Utzon during his Pritzker Prize are still fresh in everyone’s memory:

“There is no doubt that the Sydney Opera House is his masterpiece. It is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world – a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent.”

These words portray the true essence of a genius and humble architect. Nothing can actually resemble the words of true king. The journey makes you aware that Hard Work Always Pays.

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