Amid a pandemic and concert cancellations, the Sydney Opera House’s famed Concert Hall has undergone a major refurbishment, ushering in a new era before it turns 50 next year.
The mammoth renovation is the largest and final project of a 10-year NSW government-funded capital works program to the tune of almost $300 million.
The World Heritage-listed architectural wonder will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year with a facelift that boasts a wholesale acoustic enhancement, as well as accessible seating.
Arts Minister Ben Franklin described the Concert Hall as “the beating heart of the Opera House”.
“The renewal of this magnificent performance space will ensure the Opera House remains relevant and contemporary for the people of NSW and the rest of the world,” he said on Thursday.
Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron said punters and performers are in for a treat, with the newly installed acoustics providing an enhanced experience.
“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,” she said.
Hundreds of construction workers and engineers installed 18 new fuschia-hued “petal” acoustic reflectors above the stage that synchronise with the music being played.
A new lift and passageway make it possible for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility to independently access all levels of the Concert Hall, including its Northern Foyer, for the first time.
There are also two new rehearsal rooms, funded by the late fashion designer Peter Weiss AO, for artists who use the Concert Hall.
The upgrades stayed true to the original interiors designed by Peter Hall, the architect who completed the Opera House after Danish architect Jorn Utzon acrimoniously left the project.
The revamp will be revealed on Wednesday with a performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.