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Decade of Renewal

News, videos and features about the Opera House’s ten-year Renewal program

Discover the stories

Discover the stories of our decade of renewal, watch videos of the building's transformation and explore galleries of the construction journey.


Read First Nations

“Rebirth and resurrection”

Who better to help reopen the heart of the Opera House than William Barton? The celebrated Kalkadunga musician estimates he has played the venue over 300 times. This week, with clapsticks made from wood salvaged from the stage, he'll perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a triumphant return to the Concert Hall.

New rectangular holes have been added to the ceiling above the stage to allow for the installation of banners and curtains to dampen reverberation and improve the sound for amplified music, image: Chris Bennett
Read Building

In it for the long Hall

The Opera House’s biggest venue has been closed for two years, yet behind its shuttered doors the beat goes on. The hum of thousands of excited concert-goers has been replaced with the buzz of thousands of workers, busy future-proofing the venue for decades to come.

Read Building

Work begins to transform Concert Hall for new era

Better sound, better access and more ambitious performances will be enabled by a $150 million upgrade and renovations.

Read Building

Preserving the Grand Organ

Each of the 10,244 pipes will be cleaned by hand – it's a tricky job.

Joan Sutherland Theatre
Read Building

The work that makes magic: Renewing the Joan Sutherland Theatre

One of the world’s great performance venues, the Joan Sutherland Theatre is being renewed for the next generation of artists and audiences.

Birds eye view of Concert hall in Sydney opera house.
Acoustics Inline and Hero
Read Building

Testing the Concert Hall’s acoustic reflectors

Work is underway to make the Opera House sound as good as it looks. Meet the acousticians solving a 40 year-old problem.

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Fine-tuning the acoustics of the Joan Sutherland Theatre

What makes a concert sound good? Here's how our acousticians did it.

A women assessing the Tapestry cloth in a warehouse.
Condition assessment of the Coburn Tapestries, 2017.
Read Art

Restoring the Coburn Tapestries

John Coburn was at the height of his fame when the artist was pitched to architect Peter Hall to design the Sydney Opera House theatre curtains in 1969. Hall had taken over from Danish architect Jørn Utzon and was ushering the building towards completion.

Video gallery

Image gallery

The beginning, middle and end of the Sydney Opera House doughnuts

The former acoustic stage reflectors, commonly referred to as ‘doughnuts’ were an iconic backdrop for Concert Hall performances for almost 50 years.

During our decade of renewal, they were removed and replaced to make way for acoustic upgrades, however this is not the end of their story.

As part of our plan to conserve, honour and celebrate the doughnuts, we commissioned performance artist Angela Goh to develop a contemporary artwork, The Concert, which shared an interpretive story of the doughnuts, reimagining them as artefacts that connect us to both our history and the future.