Sydney Opera House Amazes, Delights

Posted on October 12, 2010 by

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Sydney, Australia—halfway around the world and so far out of reach until July 16th, 2010.

Fifteen students from Pennsylvania, a handful of students from scattered states, and about 23 students from California joined together at LA X to travel over the Pacific on a journey of a lifetime to experience different cultures and people. Fortunately, one place to which these People-to-People delegates traveled was Sydney, Australia, and its world-famous Sydney Opera House.

In 1957, there was a contest for people to design an opera house that would be built on Bennelong Point. The opera house they were looking for was to be unique as well as functional; Jørn Utzon was the winner of this contest. He planned the opera house so that a concert hall and an opera theatre existed right next to one another instead of one in front of the other. This was one of the features that the judges loved.

The opera house was originally supposed to take three years to build; unfortunately, it actually took sixteen because of the arched sails. The sails are actually covered with 1,056,006 tiles. On September 28th, the first opera was preformed at the opera house, but on October 20th, 1973, Queen Elizabeth officially opened the house.

The Concert Hall, which is the biggest space in the building, has the world’s largest mechanical organ with 10,154 pipes. Today, the opera theater and the concert hall are still being used and are constantly being renovated to last for many more years. Unfortunately, pictures from within the hall and theater are not permitted.

Utzon worked on one last renovation, a room with excellent acoustics and a beautiful view of the Sydney Harbor. In 2004, this room was named the Utzon room in honor of him. Utzon died in November of 2008 in Copenhagen, but his dream and work still live on.

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