Thursday, June 09, 2011

9 May 2011: My third Sydney Opera House Essential Tour

9 May 2011 (Mon): The Sydney Opera House was undergoing the Vehicle Access and Pedestrian Safety Project. This project works on providing underground vehicle access for deliveries to the Sydney Opera House, removing vehicles from pedestrian areas on the Forecourt and Broadwalks.

One of my favourite landmarks in Sydney is the Sydney Opera House. Despite having visited it many times, it was simply the place that I had to visit when I was in Sydney in May 2011. So after our visit to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, my mother and I walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens to find our way to the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House Essential Tour was the tour that we were heading for. Even though it would be my third time going for the Sydney Opera House Essential Tour, I was feeling excited about the Essential Tour.

Our '2 Days Unlimited' See Sydney Attraction Pass came in very handy. This pass allowed us access to over 40 top experiences in Sydney. Our '2 Days Unlimited' See Sydney Attraction Pass (without transport) would cost $155 each. Thanks to the sponsors, it came complimentary for us to review.

The Sydney Opera House Essential Tour was one of the listed experiences in the See Sydney Attraction Pass packages. With the See Sydney Attraction Pass, my mother and I could enjoy a free Sydney Opera House Essential Tour which would have otherwise cost us AUS$35 each.

Participants of the Sydney Opera House Essential Tour could look forward to having their photographs taken before the start of the Essential Tour. At the end of the tour, participants could purchase our very own official Sydney Opera House Photo Souvenir. This special souvenir set will delight folks who would like a professionally taken photograph of themselves with the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall as the backdrop.

Back to the Sydney Opera House Essential Tour. Our tour guide confidently shared with us about the architectural features and the history of the Sydney Opera House. Even though it was my third time attending the Sydney Opera House Essential Tour, the story of the original architect, Jørn Utzo, and the Sydney Opera House, continued to touch my heart. I was pretty touched by how a seemingly minor decision by one of the judges to review a pile of discarded submissions could have led Jørn Utzo to win the open-ended international design competition for the Opera House in 1957.

During this Essential Tour, I became aware that the building of the Sydney Opera House started in 1959 and was funded by the Sydney Opera House public lottery. After a long period of building and construction, the Sydney Opera House was officially opened on 20 Oct 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Our tour group also visited several of the performing venues in the Sydney Opera House. These were the Drama Theatre, the Concert Hall and the Opera Theatre. Thanks to the Essential House, we had the special privilege to walk up to the viewing gallery near the Bennelong Point. The viewing gallery offered a beautiful view of the harbour.

From the viewing gallery. Instead of taking the view of the harbour, I took a reflection of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Each visit to Sydney Opera House is a unique experience. The sculptural shells of the Sydney Opera House looked different from different angles and under different lighting conditions.

The construction of the sculptural shells were made possible thanks to an ingenious act of laternal thinking. Utzon found the solution to the construction of the shells while he was peeling an orange, if I recall correctly. Producing the shells of the Sydney Opera House according to the principles of a spherical geometry allowed for the mass production and precasting of the ribs of the shells.

The ribs of the shells.

Our dedicated tour guide also made sure that she would share with us about the tiles on the roof shells of the Sydney Opera House. If you look closely, the shells are tiled with a combination of glossy tiles and matte tiles that are set in a diagonal pattern. The glaze used for these tiles were very special and gave the tiles its special self-cleaning properties.

The platform stairs of the Sydney Opera House.

While I was writing this post, it came to my mind why the architecture of Sydney Opera House could have appealed so greatly to me. Jørn Utzon had been inspired through nature when he conceived the design for the Sydney Opera House. Perhaps Nature is the greatest inspiration of all? I believe that was not all, Jørn Utzon was an inspiring person who designed and built the Sydney Opera House with great love and vision.

My mother and I treated ourselves to pastries from the Opera Cafe after the tour.
Alongside with an awesome harbour view and a magnificent Sydney Opera House, the pastries add up to make life wonderfully great. Life is good in Sydney.

Sydney Opera House Essential Tour

Please also read:
Utzon Opera House
20 Nov 2010: Utzon, Sydney Architecture Walks
19 Nov 2010: The Sydney Opera House Essential Tour once more
15 Sep 2008: The Sydney Opera House Essential Tour

All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera


tuti said...

glad mom had a wonderful time with you in sydney too.

oceanskies79 said...

Thank you Tuti. :)