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House Stories

Uncover fascinating stories of the Opera House’s rich cultural heritage and design legacy in our new podcast series exploring the building as a work of art, the artwork within it, as well as the decade of renewal and how we are transforming our icon for the 21st century and future generations.

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Season 1: The Tapestries

New episodes released weekly 

Design enthusiast, award winning comedian and broadcaster Tim Ross explores the incredible stories behind the four Sydney Opera House tapestries. 

Unravel how the iconic John Coburn’s Curtain of the Sun and Curtain of the Moon, Le Corbusier’s Les Dés Sont Jetés (‘The Die Is Cast’) and Jørn Utzon’s Homage to C.P.E Bach tapestries came to be designed for the Opera House. Plus, take a deeper look at the tapestry artform, their cultural and artistic significance and the future of these masterpieces.



Episode 4: Utzon Tapestry: Homage to C.P.E Bach

Utzon tapestry

The final episode explores Jørn Utzon’s tapestry Homage to C.P.E Bach as an expression of music through design and representation of reconciliation. Architect Richard Johnson discusses the process of re-engaging with Utzon nearly four decades after he left the project, the design of the Utzon Room – the only Opera House performance venue entirely designed by Utzon – where the tapestry hangs, and the ongoing application of Utzon’s Design Principles that help ensure the building’s architectural integrity is maintained as it evolves to meet the expectations of future generations.


Episode 3: Le Corbusier’s Les Dés sont Jetés

Le Corbusier’s Les Dés sont Jetés tapestry hung in theatre

The mystery of the missing tapestry. In this episode, Professor Antony Moulis recalls how in the early 2000s he discovered the correspondence of an unknown tapestry commissioned by Jørn Utzon for the Opera House, designed by acclaimed modernist architect Le Corbusier. How did these two great architects come to collaborate and why was this medieval artform embraced by modernist architects and artists in the 20th century? How did the tapestry end up in Utzon’s home before resurfacing at an auction house, and why did it have mashed potato on it? Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM tells the story of how this incredible work of art finally found its way home.



Episode 2: Coburn Tapestries
Conversation and Restoration

Coburn Tapestry Curtain of the Sun hanging in the Joan Sutherland Theatre

The story of how John Coburn’s iconic tapestries came to be hung in the theatres once again in 2019. But why had they been taken down and ultimately decommissioned in the 1980s? This episode features interviews with artist Kristin Coburn and conservator Julian Bickersteth to explore how the tapestries were made and their restoration process and conservation challenges.



Episode 1: Coburn Tapestries
The Sun and the Moon

Coburn Tapestry Curtain of the Sun hanging in the Joan Sutherland Theatre

In 1969, architect Peter Hall commissioned John Coburn, an Australian modern abstract artist to design the Sydney Opera House opera and drama theatre curtains that were celebrated at the opening of the Opera House in 1973.

This episode explores the design and creation of John Coburn’s tapestries through the stories of his daughter, Kristin Coburn, and how the tapestries realise Jørn Utzon’s design vision for celebrating performance with colour through Australian architect’s Peter Hall’s interior design.

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The four tapestries that call the Opera House home reveal fascinating stories about the Opera House’s rich cultural heritage and design legacy.


Coburn Tapestries: Education resources

Explore the tapestries in your classroom with our resources and hands-on art activities for Years 3 to 12.


Listen to It’s a Long Story - Podcast

Hear the stories behind the big ideas of some of Sydney Opera House's most influential and acclaimed guests. Listen here.

From our House to yours

Bring our stages to your sofa with our new digital program delivered weekly from our House to yours.