Sydney Opera House

What beauty in a building. The iconic Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point ... proud symbol of Sydney and Australia.

The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most distinctive buildings - a stunning triumph of architecture and design.

An amazing building appreciated by millions of tourists who walk in wonder around it each year.

But when you come to Sydney do yourself a BIG favour and get within the famous white sails by at least taking a behind the scenes guided tour. If you don't you're missing key scenes of the Opera House "picture".

Even better - go to an opera performance, attend a lecture, a cabaret show, a dance, pop music, a ballet, or perhaps see a comedy!

Much more than just Opera!

This great Sydney Australia icon has a huge array of shows, conferences, art and music passing through its doors each year. The best of our Aussie talent - and the talent of the world - strut their stuff here.

Sydney Opera House has five venues for the performing arts - the Concert Hall, the Opera Theatre, the Drama Theatre, the Playhouse and The Studio.

Largest is the Concert Hall - home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet and the Sydney Dance Company also have their home here.

Quick walk from Circular Quay

The Drama Theatre is where you’ll find the Sydney Theatre Company performing. Small cast plays, lectures and seminars are held in the Playhouse, while contemporary music and performance has its home in The Studio.

The Opera House is only about seven minutes walk from Circular Quay - which can be reached by bus, train or harbour ferry.

So don't come by car, unless you have a mobility problem. (The car park is expensive and might fill up before you get there).

Enjoy the wonderful views on the walk to/from Circular Quay - and the coffee shops and restaurants.

If you are, sadly, too pushed for time to take in a performance then try the Opera House Tour of the majestic building. It only takes an hour.

You'll learn how young Danish architect Jorn Utzon came up with the revolutionary design from ships' sails, how the extremely tough engineering challenge was solved and how the project was embroiled in political controversy.

The tour takes you to back stage areas, and to grand theaters and foyers where more than 1600 performances a year are held.

Highlights include seeing the vaulted ceilings of one of the biggest pillar-free chambers in the world.

Inside stories of the Sydney Opera House

The guides know their subject well and have some delightful and often amusing "inside" stories to tell. Everyone on the tour is given a headset so there's no difficulty hearing what the guide says.

There's a great line from American architect, Louis Kahn, on the wonder of the Sydney Opera House:

"The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building."

In 2009 the Vivid Festival brought spectacular new beauty to the Opera House with wonderful light projections onto its sails.

Vivid is now a much-loved annual event of light, music and ideas, bringing more than one million people to Sydney over 18 days in May-June.

The festival plays light on other city buildings also, but there is something very special in the way it transforms and adorns the Opera House sails (as can be seen in the photos below).

For all information on guided tours and on what's on at the Opera House, here's their official website. 

To Sydney Attractions.

To Vivid Festival Sydney.

To Home Page.

World Heritage listed

The Sydney Opera House was World Heritage listed in 2007 as a great architectural work of the 20th Century ... " a great urban sculpture carefully set in a remarkable waterscape ... " UNESCO.

To quote the expert evaluation report to the World Heritage Committee "... it stands by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th Century but in the history of humankind."

Sydney brings in Chinese New Year with the Opera House sails transformed from white to red.