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Celebrating the Sydney Opera House

When I used to get the Manly Fast Ferry into college in the CBD every week I never failed to marvel at the iconic awesomeness of the Sydney Opera House every time we were coming in to dock at Circular Quay. It was quite literally the most beautiful commute in the world, and I do miss it a bit.

Opened on 20 October 1973, the multi-function arts and entertainment centre is a modernist expressionist masterpiece that came to define contemporary Australia, though it was actually designed by a Danish Architect, Jørn Utzon.

Its complex sail-shaped roof is covered with gleaming concrete shell-like roof tiles, each composed of sections of a sphere set on a monumental podium, as its roof structure makes it one of the most-photographed buildings in the world. And it’s only when you’re up close that you really see the detail in a subtle chevron pattern with 1,056,006 glossy white and matte cream-coloured Swedish-made tiles.

Almost as Scandinavian as ABBA then, though I never saw the super troupers performing at the venue. However, I did catch John Waters, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Weller, Basement Jaxx, Iggy Pop, and just six weeks before he died, an utterly spellbinding gig from the purple regnant himself, Prince.

Talking of which, I did manage to see an actual opera there too – on 16 January 2016 the boyf took me to see Mozart’s The Magic Flute because he decided I needed cheering up after Bowie pegged it.

Six weeks after the dame’s death, Prince’s totally solo Piano & A Microphone show was without a doubt one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever seen, though. Amazing what you can do with a couple of lights, a bit of a screen and a few strategically placed candles. But when you have that amount of musicality and a pitch perfect voice still very much intact, you don’t really need to hide behind props and stupid stunts even Spinal Tap would have baulked at. The subsequent concert we saw was Madonna. ‘Nuff said.

Funny how potent cheap music is.

Steve Pafford

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