Pandaemonium

AT THE OPERA, AT FIRST LIGHT AND LAST

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It must be one of the most photographed of modern buildings. Yet the Sydney Opera House still elicits a gasp of awe every time one sees it in the concrete. Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s expressionist masterwork is a remarkable melding of form and function, and of architecture and engineering. It is also a wondrous evocation of the imagination. The story of the Machiavellian politics that surrounded its construction, and led eventually to the resignation of Utzon from the project, and its completion in a form that does not capture all of his daring vision, has been told many times. This only, in some sense, enhances the aura surrounding the Opera House.

The location, too, adds to the theatre. On Bennelong Point, at the edge of Circular Quay, with the striking coathanger of Sydney Harbour Bridge on the one side, and the sweep of the Botanical Gardens on the other.

The best place, perhaps, to appreciate both Utzon’s design, and the drama of its situation, is at a distance, when the shape of the building is at its most expressive; and at dawn and dusk, when the light almost caresses the shape of Utzon’s vision. The following photos are at first light from Dawes Point, almost beneath the Harbour Bridge, and at sunset from Mrs Macquaries Point, at the edge of Botanical Gardens.

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At first light…

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…and at last

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