TODAY IN HISTORY
March 2, 1959
Today marks the 55 year anniversary of when construction first begin on multi-venue performing arts centre which is located on Bennelong Point, Sydney, Australia. The project took 14 years to build and was formally opened by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia on October 20, 1973. The opening was televised and included fireworks and a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
The cultural building reaches 213 feet high and seats a total of 5,738 people. It was built in three stages: Stage I (1959-1963) consisted of building the upper podium; Stage II (1963-1967) the construction of the outer shells; Stage III (1967-1973) interior design and construction.
Although the name suggests that it is a single venue, it actually houses multiple performance venues which together are among the busiest performing arts centres in the world: hosting over 1,500 performances per years which are attended by some 1.2 million people. The venues produce and present a wide range of in-house productions and accommodate numerous performing arts companies as well as four key resident companies: Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, The Sydney Theatre Company and The Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
The facility is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust under the auspices of the New South Wales Ministry of the Arts. The Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 28, 2007.
On December 31, 2013, the New Year’s firework display returned to the Sydney opera House for the first time in a decade. According to Cheif Executive Louise Herron, this was a “very special finale” to the Opera House’s 40th anniversary.