December 30, 2008

Thank you, Mister Utzon

Just before Christmas, my wife Kate and I went to a Christmas matinee concert in the Sydney Opera House. As it happened, the architect who designed this still-amazing structure, Jørn Utzon, had passed away a month before, having never returned to Australia to see his masterwork completed. The acrimonious relationship he had with the governments of the day is well documented and led to him leaving Australia in 1966, before the building was anywhere near completion.

Although subsequent governments have done their best to defile the foreshores near the Opera House with some of the ugliest monstrosities ever erected in this city, the House remains aloof from them, perched on its own headland and as much a part of the harbourscape as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Its forecourt and the concourses leading to it are a favourite meeting place for tourists and Sydneysiders alike…

okay, I’m starting to sound like a travel brochure.

As we left, there was a very good jazz combo playing outside the Opera Bar on the concourse, so we stopped to have a drink and admire the view, as we do on the rare occasions we get into the city together.

This was the view, recorded on my cheapo mobile, and gives you an idea of what a crystal summer’s day by Sydney Harbour is like. If you’re ever here, give me a call and I’ll meet you there - we’ll drink a toast to a man who imagined something unbuildable and forced men without imagination to build it.

Thank you, Mister Utzon.

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