The Famous Sails of Sydney: 45 Years of the Sydney Opera House

February 23rd, 2018

Celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House by attending an iconic performance.

The Sydney Opera House is one of the best-recognized artistic edifices in the world. In 1957, Sydney held an international design competition where Danish architect, Jørn Utzon’s stunning design was selected. Utzon’s design was inspired by the simple peeling of an orange; if combined the 14 shells create a perfect sphere. The structure’s curved lines were intended to imitate the sails in the harbor. The venue hosts inspiring performances from seven companies including concerts from the Opera Australia, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as recitals for the Australian Ballet, Bell Shakespeare Theatre, Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company. Instead of being a single venue, the Sydney Opera House contains multiple performance spaces attended by more than 1.2 million people annually. Since opening in 1973, the opera house has acted as a meeting place for the world’s greatest artists.

The Sydney Opera House is a space that brings together the global community to celebrate the majesty of the arts.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House and the centenary of its architect's birth. The calendar of events incorporates many captivating themes such as “All About Women,” with open panel discussions like “Smashing the Patriarchy” and “Beauty as Resistance.” Then in the summer, the explosive circus-cabaret, Limbo Unhinged, will perform captivating feats that blend bold maneuvers with seductive movement. Music moves into focus when the American indie-rock band, The National, returns to Sydney to play on the stone steps where their music will echo off the famed arching sails overhead.

If the scheduled 2018 calendar for the 45th anniversary does not entice you, consider checking out Sydney’s 21st Biennale instead. The city has gathered 70 artists from around the world to create exhibitions in seven different venues across Sydney, including the opera. Famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will use the opera house as a platform to speak with the festival director, screen his Oscar-nominated film Human Flow, and address the audience in his keynote speech.

The emblematic image of the Sydney Opera House will host iconic performances meant to connect the local, national, and global community by acting as a space of international significance. The artwork in the architecture becomes part of the exhibition during a performance by British artist Oliver Beer. He will take advantage of his orchestral training to study attributes of the building; more specifically, its acoustics, bring the space to life with harmonics. By using local vocalists placed in designated locations, Beer hopes the building will sing back to all in attendance. He plans to utilize different sounds exploring the intriguing spaces left in the design like cracks, crevices, and archways that help carry reverberations.

Along with unforgettable performances, the 45th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House brings together local and national politicians, international celebrities, and the global community. The anniversary represents a renewed dedication to culture with a commitment to celebrating the layers of the venue’s past and present while promising to maintain the integrity of the architecture and cultural institution’s mission to support future generations.

If interested in attending the anniversary celebrations, click here to view our Australia itineraries.