The Story Begins Here

The perfect place to start your experience of Sydney Opera House on Google Cultural Institute.

By Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House: The Story Begins Here (2016) by LatchkeySydney Opera House

A brief overview of the Sydney Opera House on Google Cultural Institute.

Sydney Opera House by day and night (2016) by LatchkeySydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is the symbol of modern Australia, a World Heritage-listed masterpiece synonymous with inspiration and creativity.

Fusing ancient and modernist influences, its sculptural elegance has made it one of the most recognisable buildings of the 20th century.

Since opening in 1973, the Sydney Opera House has been home to many of the world’s greatest artists and performances as well as a meeting place for matters of local and international significance. In this it continues a tradition that has taken place on Bennelong Point, known to the Eora people as Tubowgule, for thousands of years.

From its inception, the Sydney Opera House project was an extraordinary act of dreaming in public; a work of art built for the performance of works of art and brought to life by people who believed in the power of imagination, inspiration and creativity to mould a better, more enlightened community.

Realising the dream took visionaries and pragmatists, politicians and architects, engineers, artists and, most fundamentally, the people of Australia. At the Sydney Opera House’s 40th Anniversary in 2013, the extraordinary windfall Australia has reaped from the vision and daring of previous generations was underlined, when Deloitte estimated the iconic or national-identity value of a building built for more than $100 million at $4.6 billion.
Today the Opera House is one of the world’s busiest performing arts centres and Australia’s number one tourist destination, hosting 8.2 million people and 2000 shows for more than 1.4 million people a year.
At its 40th Anniversary, the Opera House also launched a Decade of Renewal to prepare it for future generations of artists, audiences and visitors.
In this exhibit, explore the many and diverse stories that make up the story of the Sydney Opera House, from the history of the building and its extraordinary creators to the uniquely diverse performances and events that have taken place on Bennelong Point.

Soprano Deborah Cheetham explains the significance of Bennelong Point (2016) by Sydney Opera House and LatchkeySydney Opera House

The significance of Bennelong Point from the exhibit, "Where the knowledge waters meet."

Profiling Sydney Opera House in 1962, from winning Design 218 (1962) by Australian Broadcasting CorporationSydney Opera House

The Wordless Orchestra performs Never Tear Us Apart by Australian rock group INXS (2015) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

The Wordless Orchestra performing Never Tear Us Apart, by INXS.

Covers of exhibits, assorted (2016) by Sam DoustSydney Opera House

Some of the many exhibits to explore.

Explore the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.

Jørn Utzon describes his design for the glass walls in time lapse (1965) by Jozef Vissel, National Portrait Gallery, CanberraSydney Opera House

The Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theatre, Warumuk – in the dark night (2012) by Jeff Busby, Bangarra Dance TheatreSydney Opera House

Resident Companies of Bangarra Theatre and the Australian Ballet.

Peter Hall at work on a model of the Sydney Opera House (1968) by R.L. Stewart/Fairfax SyndicationSydney Opera House

A satirical, fake lottery ticket (1964) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Stephen Hawking on One Direction (2015) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Opera Bar signage (2014) by Nikki ToSydney Opera House

Covers of exhibits, assorted (2016) by Sam DoustSydney Opera House

Bangarra Dance Theatre ensemble, Fire, with Kathy Balngayngu Marika (2009) by Jeff Busby, Bangarra Dance TheatreSydney Opera House

The National play Fake Empire (2013) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

The National, from the exhibit "The Eighth Stage."

Explore Bennelong Point during the Vivid Festival.

Jørn Utzon drawing at the Hellebæk office, Denmark (1959) by Yuzo MikamiSydney Opera House

Jørn Utzon at a drafting table from the exhibit "Hellebæk."

Jørn Utzon's competition submission drawing number 1 (1956) by Jørn UtzonSydney Opera House

The extraordinary sculptural form of the roof takes shape (1965) by Max Dupain, State Library of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Utzon's sketch for the Minor Hall ceiling (1959) by Jørn UtzonSydney Opera House

Page 26, Preliminary layout of shells, Ove Arup and Partners (1958) by Jørn UtzonSydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House: projection of the Spherical Solution (2015) by LatchkeySydney Opera House

Illustrating the principles of the spherical geometry developed by architect Jørn Utzon as a solution to the roof of Sydney Opera House. Further explored in "The Masterful Solution" exhibit.

Covers of exhibits, assorted (2016) by Sam DoustSydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, construction, Stage Two (1964) by David Moore, Estate of David MooreSydney Opera House

Singer-songwriters Neil Finn and Paul Kelly (2013) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Neil Finn and Paul Kelly from the exhibit "The Eighth Stage."

Costume dress-up on Open Day (2015) by Anna KučeraSydney Opera House

Onlookers watch the construction of the Sydney Opera House (1966) by David Moore, Estate of David MooreSydney Opera House

Bring back Utzon sticker designed by Karen Herrle, with Leif Kristensen and John Kinstler (1967) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Detail from "Convention Centre of the Century" brochure on Sydney Opera House (1976) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Alain De Botton – The News: A User's Manual (2014) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Alain de Botton from the exhibit "A Meeting Place for Ideas."

Utzon Room (2015) by Sam DoustSydney Opera House

The Utzon Room, from the exhibit "The Master's Chamber."

Rafters (2012) by Sam DoustSydney Opera House

Homeground Festival (2015) by Daniel BoudSydney Opera House

Covers of exhibits, assorted (2016) by Sam DoustSydney Opera House

Early parabolic scheme, 1:60 scale model, Monumental Steps view (1960) by State Library of New South WalesSydney Opera House

The cathedral-like ceiling of the vaulted roof shells (1967) by Max Dupain, State Library of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Concert Hall, Northern Foyer (1973) by Max DupainSydney Opera House

Looking east with Bennelong Point at the beginning of Stage Two (1963) by State Library of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Richard Tognetti and Joseph Tawadros play Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (2015) by Australian Chamber OrchestraSydney Opera House

Richard Tognetti performs atop Sydney Opera House on the occasion of the building's 40th Anniversary (2013) by Jamie WilliamsSydney Opera House

The Grand Organ, the Concert Hall (2016) by Sam DoustSydney Opera House

Nelson Mandela addresses a huge crowd from the Monumental Steps (1990) by Craig Golding/Fairfax SyndicationSydney Opera House

Tame Impala on the Forecourt (2015) by Daniel BoudSydney Opera House

Sydney Symphony Orchestra chief conductor and artistic director David Robertson in the final bow after conducting Beethoven's Symphony No.9 (2015) by Ken ButtiSydney Opera House

Sydney Symphony Orchestra performs Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde Act I (2015) by Sydney Symphony OrchestraSydney Opera House

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra performs Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde Act I.

Architects Leslie Martin, Jørn Utzon and Eero Saarinen discuss next steps (1957) by RIBASydney Opera House

Ove Arup: formal portrait of the masterbuilder by RIBASydney Opera House

Gotye - 'State of the Art' (2011) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Gotye.

Aerial view during construction of Stage Two (12) (1965) by State Library of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Major Hall auditorium, balsa wood study for faceted ceiling design (1960) by State Library of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Sydneysiders on the western promenade of Circular Quay (1970) by Max Dupain, State Library of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Covers of exhibits, assorted (2016) by Sam DoustSydney Opera House

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra by Monika RittershausSydney Opera House

Bennelong Restaurant (2014) by Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation as part of The Scottish TenSydney Opera House

Grizzly Bear (2014) by Ken LeanforeSydney Opera House

Plateau sketch (1962) by Jørn UtzonSydney Opera House

Inside Exxopolis (2014) by Daniel BoudSydney Opera House

Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti (1983) by Don McMurdoSydney Opera House

Ella Havelka and Jake Mangakahia in The Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theatre’s production of Warumuk – in the dark night (2012) by Jeff BusbySydney Opera House

The Australian Ballet's Kevin Jackson and Lana Jones in David McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty (2015) by Daniel BoudSydney Opera House

Joan Sutherland Theatre: view from the stage (2015) by LatchkeySydney Opera House

The Joan Sutherland Theatre.

Exploring the Joan Sutherland Theatre on Open Day (2015) by Anna KučeraSydney Opera House

Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 1 (1956) by Government of the State of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House, construction, Stage One (16) (2015) by Latchkey from a photograph by Max DupainSydney Opera House

Opera House Lottery ticket (1959) by Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House

Early morning on the day of the opening of the Sydney Opera House (1973) by Leo Davis CollectionSydney Opera House

Front Cover illustrating the Spherical Solution (1962) by Jørn UtzonSydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House during the Vivid Sydney festival* (3) (2011) by popejon2Sydney Opera House

Credits: Story

Curated by Sam Doust
Produced by Rebecca Taylor
Edited by Brook Turner and Monica Crouch
Content coordination assisted by Josh Milch

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Contributors:
Sydney Opera House Wolanski Archive Collection
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Library Sales
Bangarra Dance Theatre
Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation as part of The Scottish Ten
Fairfax Syndication
Government of the State of New South Wales
Latchkey
State Library of New South Wales

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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