Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Burness Corner: The Sydney Opera House

My travelling companion, Burness, has started a blog which can be found linked somewhere on this page. Burness approaches each Wonder from a different perspective from me, having had less build up and being told not to read up much on each upcoming candidate. Ideally as an experimental control, he would have never heard of any of the Wonders, but as many are quite famous this isn't possible; nonetheless I intend to feature his comments on each World Wonder as an alternative, and hopefully useful, opinion to mine. I'll also be conducting a short interview with him for some concise and lucid insight.

Burness's blog:

[Flying in] I had a window seat and got a great view of Sydney and the harbour during landing.  It was my first view of the Sydney Opera house, there’s absolutely no mistaking it, even from my first glance it was completely obvious as to what it was.  

We got the ferry from Rose bay to the harbour.  It was a good introduction to the main sights of Sydney and a great way to see the Opera House up close.  For those of you how don’t know, Nev is on a mission.  He’s made a shortlist of 90 odd world wonders, he’s going to visit them all and will eventually come up with his version of the 7 new world wonders, and probably write a book about it.  Well, Syndey Opera House was the first on his list, and for me it didn’t disappoint.  It’s like absolutely no other building I have ever seen before.  It’s almost alien like in its construction, it really is a crazy looking building.  The location is spot on too, in a central point of Sydney with great views of the Harbour Bridge and the downtown skyline, with the botanical gardens on its doorstep.  You can take a perfect picture post card photo with both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.  It’s incredibly iconic and exceptionally unique.  It has the wow factor in bucket loads, and on my first visit, took my breath away.  It seems that Sydney took a risky gamble in commissioning the project, it was way over budget, years behind schedule, and at one point it looked like it might not be possible to build it at all.  Well the gamble paid off, big time.  It looks amazing and I really liked it.

The opera house was a focal point in our time in Sydney, we saw it every day, we got a tour round it, and we watched a performance inside it.   The performance we opted for was a piano recital by some Russian dude, who was a child prodigy.  It was good, he was excellent on the piano, but our view wasn’t the best.  From where we were sitting you couldn’t see his fingers tickling the ivories, it would have made a big difference because the sheer speed he ran his fingers up and down the keyboard was incredible.  Instead we had to settle for his facial expressions, a mixture of extreme concentration and constipation.  He played two encores which I wasn’t really expecting. 


Had you heard of the Sydney Opera House before travelling?
Yeah, it's a pretty famous building. I'd seen it on TV and, I don't know, everywhere.

What were your expectations?
Not that high. I thought it was going to be a nice building but I didn't expect it to blow my mind.

What was your first impression?
I saw it on my flight. I'd just started to look out of the window and it was directly below me and there was no mistaking it. It didn't even look like a building, it looked completely different from everything else around it.

What did you like most about the Sydney Opera House?
Just how completely alien it looked, and the story behind it is quite cool as well, with the architect getting sacked, and they really took a massive gamble and I feel like it's paid off. So on paper, the sketches looked like they were drawn by a kid, they looked ridiculous, some space age shit, and they still went for it.

What didn't you like about the Sydney Opera House?
There wasn't much I didn't like about it. The tour wasn't great. Maybe where we were sitting [for the Evgeny Kissin piano recital], it could maybe have been better designed inside. Maybe it could have been a better concert hall.

Would you regard the Sydney Opera House as a World Wonder?
Yes. Top 7, I would say so.


  1. Good to hear Burness's thoughts at last. Maybe I'm being dim but I can't find a link to his blog on the right though. I did find it with a bit of help from Google, however.

  2. I've just added it - you were too quick off the mark. Burness, being the shy creature he is, didn't want his blog advertised in bold across my pages, so I've just slipped it into the bar on the right.


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