The Sydney Opera House

One of the most recognizable sites in the entire country, the Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish Architect Jørn Ulzon and opened on 20 October 1973.  The work was sanctioned by the government of New South Wales and led by then Premier, Joseph Cahill.

Sydney Opera House from Harbour Bridge

The Opera House and its many smaller buildings occupy the entirety of Bennelong Point in the Sydney Harbour.  Located near the Sydney Harbour Bridge between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, the Opera House is one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world, hosting more than 1,500 performances annually.  Unlike many other performing arts centers across the world, the Sydney Opera House is a rather lucrative venture.  Due partially to its iconic design, cultural importance, and location in Sydney, the opera house sees more than 8 million visitors and 1.2 million attendees each year.  Performances are presented by many traveling groups as well as Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Ballet.

The Sydney Opera House and its many buildings are operated by the Sydney Opera House Trust, part of the New South Wales State Government.  The Opera House has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 28 June 2007.

Sydney Opera House Facts

  • The Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20th October, 1973.
  • The Sydney Opera House’s original construction estimate was $AUS 7 million.  The final cost was $AUS 102 million.
  • The building is 185 meters long and 120 meters wide.
  • Its roof is made of 2,194 pre-cast concrete sections.  Each section weighs up to 15 tons and they are held together by 350km of steel cable.
  • The Sydney Opera House hosts 3,000 events every year.
  • The Concert Hall’s Grand Organ is the largest mechanical version of this instrument in the world, with 10,154 pipes. It took ten years to build.
  • The building was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, and the organisation describes it as “great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape, at the tip of a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour.”
  • The building is open to the public 363 days a year, closing only on Christmas Day and Good Friday, but staff are there 24 hours a day every day of the year.
  • The Opera House was constructed by about 10,000 workers and was ceremonially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20th October, 1973.
  • The 6,223 sq meters of Topaz glass used on the Opera was custom-made specifically by Boussois-Souchon-Neuvesel in France.
  • 233 designs were submitted for the Opera House design competition held in 1956.
  • More than 8 million people visit the Opera House each year.