Sydney Opera House: first opera performance

Sydney Opera House: first opera performance
Network Ten
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This silent three-minute compilation of Eyewitness News footage shows dignitaries arriving at the formal opening of the Sydney Opera House by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973.

The Queen attended performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the Concert Hall and Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, conducted by Charles Mackerras. The first official operatic performance in the Opera Theatre had been Prokofiev’s War and Peace on 28 September.

Also in this footage you can see Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh meeting with performers. They are also introduced to children dressed in koala, kangaroo and monkey costumes.

Other dignitaries include Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and Imelda Marcos (the first lady of the Philippines at the time).

You can listen to an excerpt of the first performance in the Concert Hall on 29 September 1973 featuring Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson and conductor Charles Mackerras in this excerpt from the NFSA's Sounds of Australia.

Notes by Beth Taylor