Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sydney Opera House Facts

These are some really interesting facts about the Sydney Opera House...

The original indigenous people of the area were the Gadigal clan.

The Aboriginal name for the Point was Tu-bow-gule meaning meeting of the waters.

Sydney Opera House sits on Bennelong Point. The Point was first developed as afort, named after Governor Macquarie. It was later used as a tram shed.

233 designs were submitted for the Opera House design competition held in 1956.

In January 1957, Jørn Utzon was announced the winner. He won 5000 for hisdesign.

The original estimate to build Sydney Opera House was $7 million.

The final cost of Sydney Opera House was $102 million.

Sydney Opera House was largely paid for by a State Lottery.

It was originally estimated that building Sydney Opera House would take four years.

Work commenced on Sydney Opera House in 1959 and 10,000 construction workerswere engaged.

Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 th October, 1973.

Many of the world’s best known construction companies were involved in buildingSydney Opera House including Arups Structural Engineering, Hornibrook and RiderHunt.

The Sydney Opera House sails were built using three tower cranes made in Francefor this job, costing $100,000 each. Sydney Opera House was one of the firstbuildings constructed in Australia using tower cranes.

6,223 sq metres of glass were used.

The topaz coloured glass used in the building was made to order by Boussois-Souchon-Neuvesel in France in a shade unique to Sydney Opera House.

350 kilometres of tension cable was laid during construction of Sydney OperaHouse. If laid end-to-end this would stretch to Canberra.

There are 1,056,006 roof tiles covering an area of approximately 1.62 hectares thatsit over the structure. They were made by a Swedish tile company, Höganas.

The concrete ceiling beams change shape as they rise from a T shape to a Y andthen a U shape, depending on where the level of stress is greatest. These foldedbeams replace the need for columns to support the weight of the structure.

The sails sit on top of a heavy podium, which is believed to be the biggest pillar orcolumn free chamber in the world.

The highest roof shell of Sydney Opera House is 67 metres above sea-level, theequivalent of a 22 storey building.

The building is 187 metres in length

The building is 115 metres wide.

The entire site covers an area of 5.798 hectares.

Eight Boeing 747s could sit wing to wing on the site.

The building’s footprint is 1.75 hectares.

There are 2,679 seats in the largest venue, the Concert Hall.

The Concert Hall Grand Organ is the largest mechanical organ in the world, with10,154 pipes.

It took 10 years complete the Grand Organ.

Two mechanical stage-lifts move scenery and props from the scenery dock to theOpera Theatre. Unlike most theatres, scenery is stored two floors below the stage.

In one day, a stage hand working in the Opera Theatre walks an average of 18,681steps or 13 kilometres.

15,500 light bulbs are changed annually.

Sydney Opera House is open to the public 363 days a year - closed on ChristmasDay and Good Friday. Staff work every day of the year, 24/7.

There are seven performance venues at Sydney Opera House – the Concert Hall,the Opera Theatre, Playhouse, Drama Theatre, The Studio, the Forecourt and theUtzon Room.

Since the building opened in 1973 until June 2005, 87,839 performances andevents have been staged at Sydney Opera House.

57, 273,728 people have attended performances and events since Sydney OperaHouse opened in 1973 until June 2005.

Paul Robeson was the first person to perform at Sydney Opera House. In 1960, heclimbed the scaffolding and sang Ol’ Man River to the construction workers as theyate their lunch.

The Playhouse was originally used as a cinema and in the late 1970s was a popularvenue for surfing movies.

In the Concert Hall, Arnold Schwarzenegger won his final Mr Olympia body buildingtitle in 1980.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has visited Sydney Opera House five times.

A net was installed above the orchestra pit in the Opera Theatre during the 1980sfollowing an opera (Boris Godunov) featuring live chickens when one of the birdswalked off the stage and landing on top of a cellist.

The Studio is a licensed venue and patrons can take alcohol into the theatre.

The biggest crowd to ever attend a performance at Sydney Opera House was in1996 for the Farewell to the World concert of the band, Crowded House, which wastelevised around the world.

The crime novel, Helga’s Web, by Jon Cleary, was set at Sydney Opera House witha body found in the building’s basement. In 1975, the book was made into a filmcalled Scobie Malone, starring Jack Thompson.

Sydney Opera House has its own opera written about it, called The Eighth Wonder.

In May 2003, Sydney Opera House architect Jørn Utzon was awarded theprestigious Pritzker Prize – the Nobel Prize of the architectural community.

In October 2003, Sydney Opera House celebrated its 30 th Birthday.

Four generations of the Utzon family have been architects – Aage (Jørn’s father),Jørn, his son Jan, plus Jan’s son Jeppe and daughter Kickan.

The recently refurbished Utzon Room is the first Utzon-designed interior at SydneyOpera House. Due to changes made to the building after Utzon left the project in1966, this will be the only ever 100% authentic Utzon interior.

It took four weavers more than 8 months to create the new Utzon Room tapestry.

If unravelled, the wool in the Utzon Room tapestry, Homage to CPE Bach, wouldstretch 4,500 kilometres.

Source: , Blog of Interesting Facts

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