Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sydney Opera House

This view of the Sydney Opera House, with one of the harbor ferries in the foreground, was made possible by climbing the stairs in one of the bridge pylons to reach an observation deck.  During our first trip to Sydney several years earlier we did not realize that it was possible to climb the pylons, so we made sure we did that on our last trip there.  We did the Harbor Bridge climb both times, but you cannot take a camera on those trips.
We took a special backstage tour of the Opera House.  It began at 6:00 a.m. and ended with breakfast in the Green Room.   This is a view of the seats in the concert hall.
The rear of the Opera House provides a splendid view of the harbor and Harbor Bridge.  We also learned that this rear lobby is a much better place to have a drink during intermission than the main lobby in the front.  We saw Madame Butterfly that evening, and by purchasing our drink before the performance, we avoided standing in line and enjoyed a night view of the bridge and harbor.
The tiles on the roof of the Opera House are yet an additional detail that provides countless photo opportunities.  The Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon.  They selected his design without full construction drawings being done and construction, beginning in 1958, was a fiasco, with delays and cost overruns.  Due to conflicts that emerged, Utzon did not finish the project and he never returned to see the completed building but they did honor him later in life and have named a room in the Opera House after him.
The backstage tour allowed us to go on each stage.  My husband, Dave, took this photo of me at the conductor's podium in the orchestra pit.   There is netting above to prevent anything from falling off the stage into the orchestra.  They also had decibel readings from each position in the orchestra and for some instruments, they would use a second musician after intermission to prevent noise exposure exceeding government regulations.

When we were there about 18 months ago, they were doing a major renovation of the backstage areas to improve the logistics.   They had also not modernized the electronics of the lighting and other controls in decades.  They said that touring professional crews cannot operate the controls because they have never used or seen equipment so old.

Dave is the longest serving member of the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Symphony, so he in particular was fascinated by the information we learned during the backstage tour.


Judy said...

That's an wonderful and iconic view of the Opera House! It must have been exciting to be there.

glenda said...

What a great opportunity to tour the Opera House. Love the purple color in the back lobby.

Sharon Anck said...

That is interesting information about Utzon. It's sort of sad that he never returned to see the finished building that has become so iconic that it is recognized all over the world.

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