Travel experiences

Moments in Australia: miracles at Sydney Opera House

In my mind, I walked so many times around the Sydney Opera House that when I finally set my eyes on its full glory, I am not sure whether I am dreaming or just hallucinating.

We arrive in the evening after two long flights with a transfer via Bangkok. The hotel is strategically chosen in the vicinity of Sydney Harbour. No doubt, the first thing we do after checking-in is to rush to see IT. We take photos from every side and angle (how else?) and return again a day later to see the UNESCO site in daylight. No second thought, this is the most beautiful and astonishing building I have ever seen in person, one of those things that you can look at for hours and it never gets boring,  never fails to impress and delight.

Unless one works there, the only ways to see Sydney Opera House inside is to attend a performance and/or go on a guided tour. While waiting for the guide to show up, an American woman approaches me. ”I bought the same earrings at the local market yesterday! They look so good, she makes them from coral casts!”, she exclaims while starring at my ears. ”What a coincidence”, I think to myself, ”We bought the same earrings in the same day and now meet on a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House”.

Having resigned from the project due to financial conflicts, Jørn Utzon, the Dane who dared to design the floating sails, never saw his creation completed. On the bright side, he was eventually awarded the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor.

The building doesn’t seem so big from the inside and I wonder how it fits almost 1000 rooms. Wood and concrete create a cozy and minimalistic ambiance even in the largest room, the Concert Hall. Technicians passionately prepare Joan Sutherland Theatre for ”Evita” – the Musical. We sit for a few minutes, listen to stories and anecdotes from the Opera’s rich past. That moment makes my wish to attend a performance even stronger.

Sydney Opera House is one of the busiest performing arts venues. Tickets for the West End and Broadway musical EVITA are sold out before we even arrive in Sydney. Despite our disappointment, I am convinced that we have to try one more time. I rush impatiently to the box office and ask if, by any chance, they have any tickets left. ”We are sorry, it’s sold out” almost rings in my hears when the guy behind the counter chirps that there are standing tickets. Euphoria and relief! What are 2.5 hours of standing for experienced concert goers? Overwhelmed, we already look forward to the performance, which is even more special because we don’t have seats.

Starring  Tina Arena as the main character, EVITA is an emotional and powerful tornado of voice, music, and dance. The audience is fierce, old and young, a whirlpool of cocktail dresses, jeans, and sneakers. We leave the Opera both happy and sad – this is our last evening in Sydney and Australia.

Photo: E.

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