The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Reopens

After a two-year refurbishment, Australia’s Sydney Symphony Orchestra will return to performing at the venue as of July 20, 2022

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Artist impression of the Concert Hall in an orchestral setting (Image courtesy: The Sydney Opera House)

 

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has been a resident at the Sydney Opera House (SOH) since the venue opened in 1973. This last upgrade, beginning in February 2020, has been the biggest renovation since its establishment.

The hall’s latest renovation was part of SOH’s “Decade of Renewal” initiative — a $275 million project at the SOH, which has overseen the updating of various locations in the building. In the meantime, the SSO was performing at the Sydney Town Hall.

Benefits of the updated SOH Concert Hall include improved performance acoustics, better access for people with mobility needs, and a safer venue for working staff behind the scenes.

Additionally, the newly engineered machinery and staging system has been designed to ensure the venue can fully present the wide-ranging spectrum of 21st-century performance.

Along with their newly appointed chief conductor, Simone Young, the SSO will return on July 20 with Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony No. 2 and a commissioned work by William Barton. Other performance highlights include Max Richter’s The Four Seasons, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a concert version of Beethoven’s Fidelio

Artists featured in SSO’s 2022 season will include star violinists Hilary Hahn, James Ehnes, Ray Chen, and VC Artist Augustin Hadelich. Solo pianists of the season include Javier Perianes, Yeol Eum Son, and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.

“As we return to live performances in 2022 and with the reopening of the Concert Hall in the Sydney Opera House, this is an extraordinary time to begin this partnership,” stated Young on her chief conductor role after 25 years of collaborating with the SSO — she is the first female conductor to hold the position with the orchestra.

The SOH hall was originally scheduled to open in February this year but was delayed due to interruptions of the pandemic, which ended up costing the SSO millions in revenue, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Not only that, as reported by Limelight magazine, further delays were added due to accidental water damage recently from a water sprinkler to the hall’s acclaimed 15-meter tall organ — comprising over 10,000 pipes — during the renovations. 

“What was incredible about this terrible incident was that the organ specialist, the maintenance contractor, was on site at the time, and so they were able to quickly mobilize to minimize any impacts on the organ...since then we have been working...to minimize the potential water damage,” said SOH’s CEO, Louise Herron on the issue. In the meantime, a different organ will be used for upcoming concerts. 

For more on SSO’s 2022 season performances at the SOH, click here.