Home to the most beautiful shows on earth.
The Opera Theatre was officially renamed the Joan Sutherland Theatre in October 2012 as a lasting tribute to one of Australia’s and the world’s greatest artists. Pavarotti described Dame Joan Sutherland as having the ‘voice of the century’, and an adoring public named her ‘La Stupenda’ for the sheer beauty of her voice. Since the Opera House opened in 1973, just one other individual has been honoured by the renaming of a venue with the original architect’s name being given to the Utzon Room. The two people most associated with Sydney Opera House, the man who created it, Jørn Utzon, and the woman who made it sing, Joan Sutherland, are now an intrinsic part of the building’s fabric and history.
To step on stage in the spectacular Joan Sutherland Theatre is to take your place on a platform that has seen some of the world’s most exquisite performances. Set beneath the smaller of Sydney Opera House’s two graceful sails, this proscenium arch lyric theatre is the building’s second largest interior venue. It has become a key performance space for Opera Australia and The Australia Ballet – a place of impressive proportions yet equally where you can hear a pin drop between arias, the squeak of shoes in a pas de deux.
The traditional theatre seating is made of white birch timber with red woollen upholstery, and the stage boasts an impressive and extensive fly system and flexible staging, creating a state-of-the-art experience for performers, crews and audiences alike. Up to 70 musicians can be accommodated in the orchestra pit, which supports both intimate vocals and large-scale musical renditions.
Booked out for much of the year for opera, ballet and contemporary dance performances, the Joan Sutherland Theatre is exclusive but never elitist, drawing a broad spectrum of audiences who down the years have risen to thousands of standing ovations. Little wonder, then, that when the greatest performers take centre stage, the Joan Sutherland Theatre is so often where they want to be.
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