The Sydney Opera House - an icon of Australiana that it almost seems
kitsch, is just a short stroll from Circular Quay, by the water's edge on
Bennelong Point. Despite its familiarity, or perhaps precisely because you
already feel you know it so well, it's quite breathtaking at first sight.The
shimmering effect is created by thousands of white tiles carefully fitted
together to cover the sails.
Now almost universally loved and admired, it's hard to believe quite how
controversial a project this was during its long haul from plan, For sixteen
years, construction was plagued by quarrels and scandal, so much so that the
Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, who won the competition, was forced to
resign in 1966 after nine years of working on the project. The building is
particularly stunning when floodlit and, once you're inside, the huge
windows come into their own as the dark harbour waters reflect a lustrous
image of the night-time city - interval drinks certainly aren't like this
Guided tours are designed to give you select access to the very pulse of
the House. Knowledgeable guides will take you on a fascinating journey
through the extraordinary history, breathtaking architecture and unseen
workings of its daily life.
The Sound of Music
There are six major symphony orchestras, several world-class choirs and
opera companies. The Concert Hall is the Sydney Opera House's biggest venue,
seating 2,679 people. This concert Hall is used for symphony concerts,
chamber music, opera and dance, a smaller Opera Theatre for opera, ballet
and dance, and two theatres, the Drama Theatre and the Playhouse, plus
restaurants, bars, a cinema, an Aboriginal artists' gallery .
For intellectual stimulation, you need only look beneath your feet as you
stroll along Circular Quay: the inscribed bronze pavement plaques of
Writers' Walk provide an introduction to the Australian literary canon.
There are short biographies of writers ranging from Miles Franklin, author
of My Brilliant Career, Booker Prize winner Peter Carey and Noble Prize
awardee Patrick White, to the feminist Germaine Greer, as well asquotable
quotes on what it means to be Australian. Notable literati who've visited
Australia also feature: Joseph Conrad, Charles Darwin and Mark Twain.
Around the Opera House
At the southern end of Sydney Cove, sandwiched between Sydney's first
settlement, The Rocks, and its modern emblem, the Opera House, Circular Quay
is the launching pad for harbour and river ferries and sightseeing cruises.
Less attractively, it's also the terminal for buses from the eastern and
southern suburbs, and a major suburban train station to boot, with the ugly
1970s Cahill Expressway also spoiling the views. Always bustling with
commuters during the week, "The Quay", as the locals call it, is
crammed with people simply out to enjoy themselves at the weekend.
Food , Fun and Gifts
The tourists to the Sydney Opera House and patrons of its performances will
find half-a-dozen eating outlets, ranging from formal dining to casual
cafes. And for souvenirs or gifts, there are shops on the lower concourse
and outlets inside the complex and loads of fun one can get at the Sydney
Opera House .