Touring the Sydney Opera House



I know I ramble on about the Sydney Opera House, but it really is the pinnacle thing for me that signifies all things Australia. I’ve read so much about it year after year in school that seeing it in full color makes me smile still after nearly three months here in Australia.

I wanted to book a tour of the Sydney Opera House and see it up close. Looking at the website the backstage tour caught my eye but the departure time was 7 am! At first I thought it was a misprint but looking more closely, I was wrong. It was actually at 7 am. It was the best tour of the available options as you got deep within the Sydney Opera House. The other tours were cursory about the Sydney Opera House. This tour was the Sydney Opera House.

I hopped on my bike a touch before 6:30 am and biked across the bridge, through Circular Quay, and searched around the Sydney Opera House to find where the tours started. If you were late, you got cut out. At $150 for the tour, I wanted to see it. I dashed into line all sweaty from the ride (and the humidity). Life here involves sweat. I’m still self conscious about it but I’m learning to get over it.

Once we started the tour, one thing was amazingly clear. The Sydney Opera House is a constant construction zone. With the changing of shows on a regular basis, they have a full crew of tradies working all of the sets. Monday morning was exceptionally busy!


The old elevator carries some odd stuff up into the Sydney Opera House… even horses! The Sydney Opera House was designed by Jørn Utzon, a Danish architect after winning a contest in 1957. The Sydney Opera House runs at full capacity meaning there are plenty of tight spaces all the staff must work in. Stairwells are tight and storage roomas a full of stuff to make the whole production run.


There is only one guy who has his back to the crowd. He’s got the toughest job of all as the show must go on!


But no show can be complete without a full production crew.


I figured the Sydney Opera House was one theatre when it’s actually many under the big sails that everyone sees from the outside.



The organ is a work of art in itself!  Boasting over 10,100 pipes, that baby can sing!


Joan Sutherland was one of the most incredible opera singers in Australia. She was with the opera over 25 years and has her own dressing room still to this day even though she’s not been with the opera since 1990. The dressing rooms really do look like they do in the movies. The stars get private rooms and the rest of us get shared dressing rooms. The lighting is on both sides of the mirror to ensure even light on the singer.


The Sydney Opera House had a Stineway piano which was awesome to play. Out of 10 in our tour group, I was the only one who could play…even if it’s only the first sheet of music from Canon in D back when I was 8. Stephanie Rutledge would have been proud…


The back stage tour came alive seeing the inner workings of the Sydney Opera House. We got to see one of the sets up close and personal with the curtain down. I was surprised how condensed everything was. From the audience it always seemed like there was plenty of room on stage but being up close it was surprising how tight things were with all the props and equipment hiding in the shadows.


The curvy architecture of the building is what inspires me most about this place. It’s sexy and stylish and stands out well into the harbour. It’s unapologetic about the price tag it cost to build at 3x the original price tag. Sydneyers were balking at it during construction but defend it vigorously now that it’s done. A work of art, both inside and out.




Bruce, our tour guide, was awesome. After the included breakfast he took us into some of the concert halls (pictured above) that were not on the original tour.


After 3 hours in the Sydney Opera House it was time to bid one of Sydney’s most famous treasures adieu.



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