Written by 19:19 World

Why I Love the Sydney Opera House

The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. This week’s issue is written by Damien Cave, the Australia bureau chief.

Earlier this week, as I stood in line at the Sydney Opera House for an event in the concert hall with Amy Poehler tied to the new movie “Inside Out 2,” I looked around at the large crowd.

There were young and old, men and women of various races and fashion styles. The place was packed, and large animated art danced across the famous sails, courtesy of the Vivid Sydney festival.

I thought back to all the events I’ve gone to at what is affectionately known as “the house.” On its handful of stages, I’ve seen Shakespeare, a drama about the Oxford English Dictionary and a big-budget musical that later landed on Broadway. In its main performance hall, I’ve listened to classical music and soul music and a reimagining of Bob Dylan.

Outside, in just the past year, I’ve had beers on the stairs listening to “The War on Drugs” play on a stage facing the harbor, and The Pixies, too. Inside, on the main stage, I once interviewed the Harvard historian Jill Lepore about American politics for an ideas festival.

In a hallway, I’d run into Tim Minchin, the creator of “Matilda.” One night I said hello to Lianne Moriarty, the author of “Big Little Lies.” After Amy Poehler finished, I walked by Emma Watkins, of the children’s pop group the Wiggles. And at the bar or on the way to the bathroom over the years, I’ve seen some of Australia’s most powerful politicians along with some of my neighbors and quite a few strangers who struck up interesting conversations.

I recount all of this only because, to me at least, it’s extraordinary. Never in my life have I had such a deep and varied bond with a cultural institution, never have I seen so much in one place and never have I felt so at home and so connected to a creative community in a place of art, no matter if I was wearing jeans, shorts or the fanciest thing I own.

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Last modified: 31 May 2024
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