AT 2.00PM, A TALE OF THREE HOUSES – PARIS, BAYREUTH AND SYDNEY.
BY MIKE DAY
2.00pm: Talk on A Tale of Three Houses – Paris, Bayreuth and Sydney – by Mike Day
Venue: the Goethe Institut, Event Hall (upstairs), 90 Ocean Street (cnr Jersey Road), Woollahra
$25 members / $35 non-members / $10 full-time students - including afternoon tea
Members of the public are most welcome!
Please click here to book and pay if you plan to attend.
PRECEDED AT 12.30PM BY THE DVD -
ABOUT THE TALK
This illustrated talk will compare the background, conception, construction and subsequent development of three of the most important performance spaces in the world. There are many fascinating parallels and differences between the buildings. The Paris and Sydney designs were chosen in competition (about 100 years apart). Both took 14 years to complete and cost many times the original estimated cost. Neither architect was present at the opening. Paris was conceived as an imperial status symbol. It’s a wonderful building to visit but has poor audience sight lines and paradoxically now showcases ballet rather than opera. Bayreuth was planned as, and remains, a temple for the worship of (Wagner’s) Art. It has the best sight lines and acoustics in the world. And the most uncomfortable seats. Sydney was to be an egalitarian ‘Peoples’ House’. It is a very successful performing arts centre on the most spectacular site but unfortunately is a very flawed space for large scale opera, as there is limited wing space and the orchestra pit is too small.
ABOUT MIKE DAY
Mike Day is Vice President of WSNSW and the editor of the Quarterly. He has been practising as a registered architect for over 50 years and obtained a Masters of Illumination from the University of Sydney in 2004. He taught architectural lighting design and theatre design at UTS Architecture 2003 – 2020. He was a founding designer for Sydney’s Vivid Light Festival in 2009. He has worked as a set designer in several countries, including designing a Don Giovanni with Sir Roger Norrington in London in 1972. He decided to become an architect after his father showed him Utzon’s winning entry for the SOH competition in 1956. Around the same time, he was infected with the Wagner virus when a friend’s mother played him the finale of Die Walküre Act I on an old 78rpm record. He first visited Bayreuth in 1970 and has attended 3 festivals since then. He considers himself very fortunate to have seen some wonderful Wagner performances in the 70’s with Sir Colin Davis, Karl Boehm, Sir Georg Solti and Sir Reginald Goodall.
ABOUT THE DVD
Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, was awarded the first prize in a competition to design an Opera House for Sydney in 1957. He flew to Australia to begin work on the construction of the greatest building Australia has ever seen and, indeed, one of the finest achievements of modern architecture. Utzon was forced from the project in 1966 and never returned to Australia. What defeated him in the end was politics. His triumph came with the 2007 World Heritage Listing of the building “as a work of human creative genius” and one of the 20th century’s greatest buildings.
This film - The Edge of the Possible - charts the dramatic course of the creation of a masterpiece and includes a rare interview with Jørn Utzon as he reflects on his role in the compelling story of the conception and construction of the Sydney Opera House.