STAGES FOR SUC­CESS

Barry Oliver looks be­hind the scenes at the Syd­ney Opera House

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

FOL­LOW in the foot­steps of stars such as Joan Suther­land and Lu­ciano Pavarotti with a breath­tak­ing per­for­mance on the Con­cert Hall stage at Syd­ney Opera House. Or stride into the or­ches­tra pit and boldly mount the con­duc­tor’s podium. Of course, there’s no or­ches­tra, and no au­di­ence, but the imagination’s a pow­er­ful thing.

Wannabes can live out their fan­tasies dur­ing a twohour Back­stage Opera House tour that lifts the lid on what re­ally hap­pens be­fore the cur­tain rises, with vis­i­tors given exclusive ac­cess to ar­eas usu­ally re­served for stars and crew.

Stick­y­beaks also visit the less glam­orous parts of the build­ing, nor­mally the do­main of stage­hands and crew, such as the scenery docks and fly tow­ers. At the end of the tour, it’s into the Green Room, tra­di­tion­ally re­served for per­form­ers and staff, for break­fast. Which brings us to the bad news: the back­stage tours, which run daily, start at 7am to al­low ac­cess to ar­eas used by per­form­ers and tech­ni­cal crews later in the day. Set your alarm.

If sand­wiches and opera are more your cup of tea, the Opera House puts on a spread ev­ery Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon (2pm to 4pm), fea­tur­ing food from chef Guil­laume Brahimi along with an up-close per­for­mance by a top opera singer. High tea ac­com­pa­nies a 20-minute recital.

The Syd­ney Opera House’s lat­est vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence is the one-hour Es­sen­tial Tour, fea­tur­ing pre­vi­ously un­seen archival video footage with nar­ra­tion by ac­tor Rachel Grif­fiths. Video se­quences are shown at points of in­ter­est, us­ing the build­ing as a can­vas to tell the story of Joern Ut­zon’s cre­ation. The tour de­parts daily ev­ery 30 min­utes, from 9am to 5pm.

Check­list

The back­stage tour is $150 a per­son, max­i­mum eight peo­ple. The high tea is $145 a per­son, the Es­sen­tial Tour $35 a per­son. More: (02) 9250 7250; www.syd­ney­op­er­a­house.com.

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