Sydney Opera House Reopens the Newly Renovated Concert Hall

Sydney Opera House Reopens the Newly Renovated Concert Hall

The Sydney Opera House has reopened its largest performance space, the Concert Hall. Since the venue closed for renovations in February 2020, the space has undergone extensive renovations to improve the acoustic performance, enhance access for people with mobility needs, and upgrade the staging systems. The renovation process respects the original interiors, while better equipping the hall to present a wide range of performances. This is the largest and final project in the Opera House’s Decade of Renewal, a 10-year program of renovation works totaling almost $300 million to upgrade the World Heritage-listed monument ahead of its 50th anniversary in 2023.

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One of the main intentions of the project was to enhance the acoustics for artists and audiences in both orchestral and amplified modes. Toward this purpose, 18 new acoustic reflectors were installed above the stage, as a replacement for the old clear acrylic ‘donuts’. The new acoustic petals are set in different positions, depending on the music being played. They are finished in a semi-gloss magenta, the color of the Concert Hall seats chosen by Peter Hall, the architect who completed the Opera House after Jørn Utzon departed the project. Acoustic diffusion panels have also been added to the venue’s timber box fronts in order to balance the sound for non-amplified performances.

Theater and stage systems have also been upgraded. Automated stage risers allow musicians to hear each other more clearly, while the automated draping system makes it easier to from orchestral to amplified mode. It also helps dampen reverberation and create a fuller, richer sound. The stage has been lowered by 400mm to improve sightlines and create more intimacy between artists and audiences. Backstage areas have also been enlarged with two new rehearsal rooms.

Other upgrades include the installation of a new elevator and passageway, making it possible for wheelchair users to independently access all levels of the Concert Hall, including the Northern Foyer, an area previously inaccessible for people with limited mobility. The number of accessible seating positions has also been doubled, including options for stalls and boxes.

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Sydney Symphony Orchestra - Concert Hall acoustic testing. Image © Daniel Boud

Artists and audiences are set to experience world-class acoustics in a venue that is more accessible, safer, and better equipped to present the full breadth of 21st-century performance. - Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM

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© Ingus Kruklitis via Shutterstock
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Sydney Opera House - Concert Hall. Image © Lisa Maree Williams, Getty Images for Sydney Opera House

The Concert Hall is one of the largest performance halls in the world, welcoming up to 2600 audience members. Measuring 25 meters from the stage to the crown above, the hall presents a technical challenge to acoustic engineers who were tasked with perfecting the sound quality for all types of performances. According to Sydney Opera House officials, 91% of demolition waste has been recycled, well above the initial target of 80%. Some of the salvaged timber was reused by First Nations composer and didgeridoo performer William Barton to create 60 pairs of clapsticks.

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Sydney Opera House - Concert Hall. Image © Lisa Maree Williams, Getty Images for Sydney Opera House

A team of experts including original structural engineers Arup, ARM Architecture, heritage advisors Design 5, theatre consultants Theatreplan, construction firm Taylor, specialist theatre machinery contractor Waagner Biro, building services engineers Steensen Varming, acousticians Müller-BBM and the Opera House’s renewal project team, have worked together to integrate the upgrades into the existing structure. The works have been carried out in line with the Opera House’s Conservation Management Plan to ensure the upgrades respect the original interiors, designed by architect Peter Hall.

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Concert Hall Renovations. Image © Anna Kucera

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Cite: Maria-Cristina Florian. "Sydney Opera House Reopens the Newly Renovated Concert Hall" 05 Sep 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/988456/sydney-opera-house-reopens-the-newly-renovated-concert-hall> ISSN 0719-8884

Sydney Symphony Orchestra - Concert Hall opening night. Image © Daniel Boud

3 亿澳元悉尼歌剧院十年复兴计划,最大音乐厅已开放

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