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Sydney Opera HouseFinally, I ticked it off my list. The ultimate tourist attraction in Sydney: its Opera.

It is an iconic building. One of the few that instantly identifies with its city, like probably only the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, or the Golden Gate Bridge do.

More so, it’s a modern building, opened in 1973, it only had little time to become that icon.

Sydney Opera HouseRajiv and I had booked a tour (half off, and including food afterwards, thanks to a voucher by Rajiv’s friends).

Lasting one hour, the tour brought you around and through the building and got uns into the main concert hall and some of the smaller auditoriums and theaters.

It is an amazing building, housing five different venues in different sizes and for different shows and productions, more than 1500 a year. The acoustics in the concert hall is different than the one in the theaters, it houses circuses, rock concerts, ballet, bodybuilding contests and others.

We also got an overview about the history of the building. In the 1940s already, locals were thinking about building an opera house. A site was chosen, an international competition for proposals was held, and in the end, a Danish architect won the jury over with his unconventional design.

They gave the go-ahead and started digging in 1959, at a time when they still had no final plans and it wasn’t even sure whether the planned roof structure could actually be built at all. No wonder they overshot the projected three years building time and seven million Dollar budget by far.

14 years later and with a 102 million dollar price tag – mostly coming from lotteries and gambling, but no tax money – massive political scandals and an architect who threw the towel in the meantime, the Queen herself opened the house in October 1973. (Read the whole story on Wikipedia)

Still, it seems it was worth it. It gave Sydney a landmark that will probably be there as long as the city exists.

On the tour, I saw flyers for the play Noises off, one of my favorite movies and plays, about a play that goes absurdly wrong… It’s so over the top I really wonder how the actors can make it through the play without being thoroughly confused themselves. I just had to see it again.