Issue 91



12 August 2016

Opera House Renewal 3_rs

The Sydney Opera House is getting the largest program of upgrades it’s had since it opened in 1973. NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, unveiled working designs for the upgrades recently, which includes optimisations in acoustics and improving the accessibility, efficiency and flexibility of the venue’s largest performance space. It’s no small task; the NSW government has committed $202m from the Cultural Infrastructure Fund to the Renewal plans. According to Deloitte Access Economics, the Opera House contributes over $775m to the NSW economy each year, and has a national-identity value of $4.6 billion.

Opera House Renewal 2_rs

Troy Grant: “The Sydney Opera House is the symbol of modern Australia. It is our responsibility as custodians of this extraordinary place to maintain and renew it for all Australians. That’s why we are investing more than $200 million in these wonderful projects, which represent the biggest upgrade to the Opera House since it opened 43 years ago.”

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said: “The Opera House, a ‘masterpiece of human creative genius’, belongs to us all and is central to our identity as Australians. These Renewal projects are designed to ensure the Opera House continues to evolve, welcoming and inspiring people in as many ways as possible.”

Opera House Renewal 1_rs

Jan Utzon, architect and member of the Opera House’s Eminent Architects Panel (EAP), said his father believed the building would need to change over time to meet the requirements of the day, while retaining the integrity of its architecture.

“When my father was re-engaged to look into the Opera House, he realised it was necessary to look at the Opera House with new eyes,” said Mr Utzon, who worked with his father after Jørn’s re-engagement in 1999. “He realised times had changed and that a functioning arts centre will always need to adapt to the culture of the moment.”

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Managing Director Rory Jeffes said the SSO had been closely involved in the development of the Renewal plans, and that the musicians were stoked about the improvements to their Concert Hall home. The Concert Hall upgrade is expected to take 18 months to complete. Construction will begin in mid-2019 and the hall will reopen with the SSO’s 2021 season.

Audiences and visitors will still be able to see the Opera House in (most of) its glory while the upgrades are happening. When the Joan Sutherland Theatre closes for seven months in 2017, the Opera House’s five other performance stages, food and beverage outlets, tours and on-site facilities will stay open and operational.

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Issue 91