The sails of the Opera House tower above a camera operator and a man in a hardhat. They are standing in a wooden box which is hoisted to a crane.

Newscaf: Sydney Opera House

Newscaf: Sydney Opera House in the news

Famous faces at the Sydney Opera House
 Beth Taylor
& Mel Bondfield

As part of the NFSA's Television News and Current Affairs Program (Newscaf), and to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Opera House, we take a look at some of the international stars Australia's iconic performance venue has hosted.

Oprah at the Opera House

American talk show superstar Oprah Winfrey filmed two episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show in the Forecourt of the Sydney Opera House in 2010.

As we can see in this clip from Seven News in Brisbane thousands of fans were treated to appearances by special guests Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman; Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin; and Jay-Z:

Oprah Winfrey at the Opera House. Seven News in Brisbane. Broadcast on 14 December 2010. Courtesy Seven Network. NFSA title: 1002054.

Hearing Australian rock anthem 'Down Under' by Men at Work (1981) maximises the sense of Australian identity for an international audience. The Oprah Winfrey Show episodes were broadcast in 145 countries.

American singer Bon Jovi appears singing his 1986 song 'Livin' On a Prayer' – another great example of a classic rock song from the 1980s that would be known by Oprah's target audience and Seven News viewers alike. The brief sound bite of the anthemic chorus is enough of a reminder of the song's power. Its inclusion in this context is about revving up the audience, and it works.

Jackie Chan hits the tiles

In one of the more bizarre uses of the Sydney Opera House, the Oscar-winning martial arts star Jackie Chan shoots a battle sequence for his 2017 film Bleeding Steel (Leo Zhang, China) on top of the Opera House sails:

Jackie Chan films a battle scene at the Sydney Opera House. Seven News in Brisbane. Broadcast on 10 August 2016. Courtesy Seven Network. NFSA title: 1485557.

Sisters doing it for themselves

Kylie and Dannii Minogue weren't there in person for this Minogue sister-inspired flash mob on the steps of the Opera House. However they're there in spirit in this Adelaide National Nine News story.

The flash dancers boogie to Kylie Minogue's 1992 cover of the Kool & the Gang song 'Celebration'. Even from this fleeting snippet, the song's upbeat tempo and catchy chorus matches the party atmosphere evoked by the fast-paced edit and multiple camera angles on the scene. The story is all too brief and we are left wanting more.

This a good example of the kind of 'human interest' story often shown at the tail end of a news broadcast, which is designed to be very brief and upbeat, leaving the television viewing audience in a positive frame of mind.

Sydney Opera House flash mob. National Nine News in Adelaide. Broadcast on 14 November 2010. Courtesy Nine Network. NFSA title: 817969.

Learn more about the Sydney Opera House in our new curated collection, which includes rare footage of the opening and memorable musical performances. The collection covers the history of Jørn Utzon's architectural masterpiece from 1957 to 2018.

Newscaf highlights some of the significant and intriguing stories in the NFSA's television news collection that have been digitally preserved for future generations to enjoy and explore. See more Newscaf stories.


Photo credit (main image): The The Fifth Facade, 1971 - Film Australia Collection © NFSA. All rights reserved.