THE Sydney Opera House must be one of the most breathtaking buildings in the world.
This world-famous Australian structure is a man-made masterpiece .
Located on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, right next to the Botanical Gardens, the opera house is a must-see when one visits Sydney.
The opera house is home to several venues, such as the concert hall, opera theatre, drama theatre and a recording studio along with foyers, restaurants and cafés.
A one-hour guided tour of the Sydney Opera House, which took us behind the scenes, brought to life the story behind the building of the famous edifice.
The stories are both sad and hilarious. We learnt about the contractual saga surrounding the construction of the building.
The imaginative design of this wonder came from an international competition, won in 1956 by Danish architect Joern Utzon. During its construction, Utzon became entangled in political intrigues.
He was besieged by a hostile press that eventually forced him out of the project before it was completed. It was completed by other designers under the direction of Peter Hall. But Utzon was able to accomplish the basic structure, leaving just the interior to be completed by others.
Costs mounted enormously during construction and in the following political controversy Utzon resigned in 1966.
It was finally completed in 1973, at a cost of AUD$102million, much of which came from a New South Wales government lottery.
Since its opening it has become the busiest performing arts centre in the world, averaging about 3000 performances a year with audiences totaling about two million, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and closing only on Christmas and Good Friday.
This project was followed by the first alteration to the exterior of the building with the addition of a new colonnade along the western side, which shades nine new large glass openings into the previously solid exterior wall.
This Utzon project, which was only completed in 2006, gave the theatre foyers their first view of Sydney Harbour.
On the lighter side, we were also told the story about a messenger who came to deliver a package at the Opera House.
He got lost in the labyrinth backstage and walked right on to the Playhouse stage. He stood and looked with surprise at the audience until a clever actor acted randomly and shouted, "So there's that package!"
Another interesting story was about Luciano Pavarotti, for whom a reception was planned in one of the foyers.
A lovely purple carpet was laid out for the maestro, but the organisers did not know that Italians believe that purple brings bad luck.
As Pavarotti walked down the stairs, he noticed the purple carpet and immediately turned beck. The party had to be transferred to another room.