STAGES FOR SUCCESS
Barry Oliver looks behind the scenes at the Sydney Opera House
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.
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.