On my last trip to Australia my best tour of the Sydney Opera House was backstage.
No doubt you’ve laid eyes on an image of the Sydney Opera House – a waterfront theater topped by semi-circular domes that jut dramatically into the Sydney sky.
The opera house is a World Heritage Listed Building, for good reason. I waited too late to get tickets because, here’s the glitch: tickets to star performances here can be very hard to come by. Shows routinely sell out.
The Backstage Tour is a must for anyone interested in or associated with theater. At 7:00 am. I joined a small group and learned all the fascinating intricacies – like trap doors and scenery changes – of back stage logistics. I stood on the grand stage where Bocelli sang to a full house of 1,500 admirers who, all paid $800 a ticket. I visited the dressing rooms where stars from Joan Sutherland to Byonce prepared to go onstage.
As we meandered through the back hallways we passed dozens of hanging tutus, bags of ballet slipper and grand pianos. On a wooden panel next to the entrance to the stage we saw lipstick kiss marks – left for good luck– by stars such as Liza Minnelli as they awaited their cues to go on stage. And I waved the conductor’s baton and led an imaginary orchestra standing at the podium in the tiny orchestra pit. We finished the tour with breakfast in the Green Room as our former actor-guide entertained us with true stories about the stars and mishaps of the theaters.
To get tickets to the opera, ballet, jazz, and classical musical performances – all of which take place here – my best advice is to buy your tickets even before you book your flight to Australia (www.sydneyoperahouse.com).