“To me it is a great joy to know how much the building is loved, by Australians in general and by Sydneysiders in particular”
There are very few things that get me excited these days aside from pistachio macaroons, but my inner 10-year-old self insisted I do something I’ve always wanted to do – tour the inside of the Sydney Opera House.
Every time I venture into Circular Quay, I swear another 300,000 people have relocated there and are coincidently in line for everything I need. If they aren’t in front of me they are running past me; when I see people running in areas like a ferry terminal, I do not think of exercise, I think, who the hell are the running from? Annoyances aside, I walked the 3 minute route from Circular Quay ferry terminal to the Sydney Opera House for an inside tour of the world heritage listed building.
The tour meeting point was at the lower level, and a bubbly middle-aged woman who sounded suspiciously like Theodore from Alvin and the Chipmunks, walked up and introduced herself while handing out audio headsets. The tour started with a short climb of stairs and an introductory video that outlined the history of the building – in short, that there was an international competition for architects to design a new opera house. The Dane, Jørn Utzon, won in 1957.
For those living under a rock and are not aware, (while I applaud you for living green, living under a rock is limiting your Vitamin D intake and your chances with the opposite sex) the Opera House is directly across from the Harbour Bridge and the tour offers panoramic views of the Harbour. The Opera House holds 1600+ performances a year and is one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world.
The Concert Hall is, without an ounce of hesitation, breathtaking. It is one of the most intimate stage settings I have seen, and with the size of the seats, no bigger than on a plane, you might have to get intimate to get comfortable. It has the Grand Organ, one of, if not the largest mechanical tracker action organs in the world with over 10,000 pipes. It is here that we were able to sit and listen to the Sydney Orchestra practice the ‘Tribute to Gershwin.’
At the Opera Hall, I watched (with much interest) the male counterparts of the Australian Ballet flex some serious gluteus maximus while simultaneously falling in love with Christopher Rodgers-Wilson. For those trying to avoid flexing their own gluteus maximus, the tour consists of around 200 steps (though thankfully for those with ‘no-thankyou exercisus’ a notable few are descending.)
The tour duration was roughly 1.5 hours though I previously saw it advertised for 1 hour. My group was full of teenage American girls asking politely but not too subtly to stay at the Ballet. When the tour guide started talking about how hard it was for men to do the splits we called it a wrap. The ticket for an adult is $29, online concessions for Australian seniors and students. Family discounts available.
There are many, many things to do in Sydney as this is only one of them but to be honest, it should be in your top 3. It is quintessentially Sydney.
Have you toured inside of the Sydney Opera House? What did you think?