Trivia Minute October 20, 2015

199: The Sydney Opera House Opens

by Marcus Michelson
"The Sydney Opera House at dusk" by Rosino - https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosino/4778079675/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sydney_Opera_House_at_dusk.jpg#/media/File:The_Sydney_Opera_House_at_dusk.jpg
The Sydney Opera House at dusk. (Photo by Rosino via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1973, the Sydney Opera House in Australia opened.

Here are some things you may not have known about the architectural marvel.

Planning for the Opera House began in the late 1940s. In 1957, Danish architect Jorn Utzon was chosen to design the project after an international contest. Ground was broken in 1959 with incomplete plans.

The building was originally projected to cost approximately $7 million and take four years to build. It ended up costing $102 million and took 14 years to complete.

The Opera House consists of six indoor performance spaces, the largest of which is the Concert Hall, which seats 2,679 and is the home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet are housed in the Joan Sutherland Theatre, which seats 1,507.

The famous roofs of the complex are built of concrete frames and concrete ribs. The roofs  features a subtle chevron pattern made of light-colored tile.

The first performance on the site was by American singer Paul Robeson in 1960. It was a lunchtime performance for construction workers.

During the 2000 Summer Olympics, the Opera House served as the focal point of the triathlon course.

The complex hosts more than 1,500 performances a year, drawing an attendance of about 1.2 million people.

Our question, the works of which composer were featured at the first public concert at the Sydney Opera House?

Today is Heroes’ Day in Kenya, World Osteoporosis Day and World Statistics Day. In the United States it’s unofficially National Pharmacy Technician Day. It’s the birthday of actor Bela Lugosi, baseball players Mickey Mantle and Juan Marichal, and musician Tom Petty.

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