Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Sydney Opera House Memories

I have a few.  As the old girl is celebrating the 40th anniversary of her opening today, I thought I'd share a few memories of experiences I've had in the building, with you.

I was there 40 years ago today, when the Queen officially opened the Sydney Opera House.  I was a small child and it was my first experience with the 'ethnic community', as it was called back in those days.  They invited some kids on stage to dance their special dances with them, me included and it was brilliant.  That day I decided I wanted to be an actress, because I loved it so much.  Apart from the odd appearance in school productions thereafter, that career move never got a run, but I still remember the Opera House opening as a wonderfully inspiring and happy day.

Roll forward many years and I attended a university party on the northern side of the building in front of the big painting, which is usually covered by a curtain.  I was sitting at the top of these stairs flirting with a boy and someone grabbed my stiletto clad ankles and pulled me down the stairs on my back.  I'd had a few drinks, but I vaguely remember it was a boy who had the hots for me.  Officially we were just good friends.  I got up laughing, as it was very funny.  But much to my horror, there was a trail of sequins, which had detached from my top, running down the length of the stairs.

Another time I was part of a mass sacking from the Opera House.  In between northern and southern hemisphere ski seasons, I used to do agency waitressing in Sydney.  One night, I got a job on a cocktail party at the Opera House.  They were supposed to feed us, but hadn't, so we all helped ourselves to the left over hor d'eurves as they came back into the kitchen to be binned.  The snooty maitre d' got the pip and all the agency staff were pulled off the job. 

I was sent to another catering job across town, which was a board room dinner, thrown together at short notice.  In contrast to the Opera House job, the gorgeous guy in charge over catered, and I remember he loaded me up with cartons of Chinese take away food to take home to my parents after the event.

These days my interactions with the Sydney Opera house are somewhat more bourgeois.  I was down there last week with my mum to catch South Pacific, which was a fabulous production.  Although a little corney, it  must have been considered quite racy in the 1950's on Broadway, with it's bare chested love scenes.  Unfortunately, the racism themes never date. Lisa McCune was very impressive and Teddy Tahu Rose, a complete and utter spunk.

So there you have it.  A few memories from how this building has been part of my history.  Not a big part, but a much appreciated constant in this Sydneysiders life.

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Do you have any shareable memories of the Sydney Opera House?
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  1. I LOVE South's not cheesy at all. I'm just sad because you're right about the racism thing still being relevant.

  2. all the controversy about the opera house and the huge expense at the time was definitely worth it. can't imagine sydney harbour without it. enjoyed your stories!

  3. Great memories Carolyn. I loved South Pacific too and am looking forward to see both Lisa and Teddy in The King and I. Maybe we should do it together in Sydney? I could do with another weekend away!

    Anne xx

  4. Every time I go to Sydney I take a walk around there and stop for a refreshing drink overlooking the harbour with the sights of the Opera House. Funnily enough Iv never been inside to watch a show - I will have to get organised a book one in next time!

  5. Such a beautiful place and amazing photos of it.

  6. Wow! What a lovely memory of you dancing at the opening. It will always hold an extra special place in your heart.

  7. I have to admit, when in Sydney I love to go to the Opera House...but I've never been in! I would love to go see something there. It's such a beautiful building. Your memories of it - minus the sacking and losing all your sequins - are great!

  8. It is an incredible building. I have only ever been on the outside of the place thou.

  9. So many! I loved as a child going to the Xmas concert, I love having dinner there as the food is superb, plus watching the sun go down with a glass of champagne is just bliss. I remember my husband falling asleep in an America (the band) concert and many, many times just wandering around taking in it's beauty and the gorgeous harbour surrounding.
    What a fabulous place. We are so lucky :)

  10. When I lived in Sydney I used to admire it from affair, how naughty to say I've never been inside, one day maybe?!

  11. When I taught 7th grade we took the kids down to Sydney and Canberra from the GC and always did a tour of the Opera House. The kids were always impressed with the bathrooms :-)


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