Australians today celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House, one of the masterpieces of world architecture of the 20th century.

At night, a laser show will illuminate the ‘sails’ of this building on Sydney Harbour.

50 years ago, on October 20, 1973Queen Elizabeth II was opening the concert hall, which has since been visited by around 11 million people a year.

Yes, yes in 2007, the Sydney Opera House was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Listwho greeted a “masterpiece of 20th century architecture”.

But the creation of the Opera was complicated.

Its architect, the Dane Jern Utsson, never entered the building he designed.

Gern Utsson in May 2000, photographed at home by Ole Haupt – His portrait is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra

In 1956, he won a competition after prevailing over 232 other candidates. The following year he moved to Australia with his family to work on the program, but in 1966, Jörn Utsson leaves the construction site of the building – the frame of which was already completed – and leaves Australia after disagreements with Minister of Public Works of the state regarding the program’s vision, budget and funding.

The building was finished by other architects, drastically modifying his plans for the interior of the opera house. And Gern Utson never returned to Australia.

The original architect of the iconic building passed away in 2008 in Copenhagen.

The $102 million Opera House with the famous “sails”

opera comp

Installed at Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour and close to its equally famous bridge, the Opera House and its surroundings form a universally recognizable Australian icon.

The construction of the innovative building lasted 14 years and its cost, originally estimated at 7 million Australian dollars, by the time it was completed had reached 102 million Australian dollars. It was largely funded by state lotteries.

Beneath the building’s famous ‘sails’, which are covered with more than a million Swedish-made tiles, are two theaters and a restaurant, on a large concrete platform.

This “large urban sculpture” is, according to UNESCO, “a bold and visionary experiment that had a lasting influence on the emerging architecture of the late 20th century”.

Opera also met Eutrapela. In the 1980s, a net was installed over the orchestra pit of the Joan Sutherland Theater after a chicken, participating in an opera performance, flew off the stage and landed on a cellist.