10 Things You Don’t Know About the Sydney Opera House

Our last morning in Sydney was a gloomy, rainy one. Luckily we had booked one of the only indoor activities we knew of- The Sydney Opera House tour. Honestly, I was a little on the fence at first about whether or not it would be worth it, but I am so glad that we went ahead and bought them. We learned SO much about Sydney’s most iconic building that I wanted to share my newfound knowledge with you. πŸ™‚ So here we go….

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1. The New South Wales government held an open-ended design competition to find the architect to design the Opera House in 1957. The winner was a Danish man named JΓΈrn Utzon who submitted the shell shaped blueprint.

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2. Every aspect of the building was inspired by the harbor setting and influenced by the architect’s navy background, even down to the colors of the signage and carpet.

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3. In order to provide the best acoustics, the structure of the Opera hall imitates a human mouth and allows sound to carry without the need of a microphone. Even the material the seats are made of were carefully chosen to allow sound to be reflected most effectively.

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4. The original budget for the entire building was $7 million. It ended up costing $102 million (in 1973) which would be close to $900 million today.
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5. The NSW Government created the Opera House Lottery to help pay off the building in 1957 and ran until 1986.

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6. The architect quit in 1966 and never returned to Sydney to see his completed project. His son, also an architect, did visit and assist the building team with renovations in the 1990’s.

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7. Besides operas, plays, ballets and concerts the Sydney Opera House has played host to cooking shows, Oprah, Arnold’s final Mr. Olympia win and even the Game of Thrones season premiere (with music by a live symphony).
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8. The outside of the Opera House is made of over 1 million shell-like tiles imported from Sweden that are completely self-cleaning. The building has no external gutter. The titles collect the water and direct it straight back into the sea. Another one of Utzon’s genius ideas.

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9. In the Opera Theatre there isn’t enough room backstage for props and sets, so a huge, hidden elevator lowers and raises them as needed.

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10. The House hosts 3,000 events a year and is open everyday of the year except Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Now next time you see that iconic structure you know a little more about how it came to be. πŸ™‚

10 thoughts on “10 Things You Don’t Know About the Sydney Opera House

  1. Ah nice facts πŸ™‚ This architect was a genius and its funny that this place looks so modern but it was definitely very advanced for its times!

  2. Every time I see the Opera house, I’m struck by how genius it is. I mean, how many other buildings from the 70s look as fresh, modern and iconic now?! Even the concrete looks good. The tour sounds like a great way to see the place, and learning cool facts is always a winner with me…!

  3. I didn’t actually do the Opera House tour when I was in Sydney, so thanks for the facts :). I love how over budget they were…whoops!

  4. Christine Keane says:

    $102 million? Geez! The price you pay for something so grand and iconic! How awesome would it be to see an event there?!

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