Compare and contrast the situation of the royal opera house, london and the sydney opera house, australia - Australia Essay Example

The most striking parallel to be drawn between the situations of the Royal Opera House in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia is that they have both been dogged by major financial issues in building and renovation.

Against a backdrop of worsening economic conditions in the global construction industry, the completion of the Sydney Opera House was embarked after its original architect, Jorn Utzon, resigned from the project in 1966 - Compare and contrast the situation of the royal opera house, london and the sydney opera house, australia introduction. This was a time of rising costs due to inflation as well as excessive rise in labor costs (Wilkinson, 1995).  Amidst delays and mounting costs, it took 16 years and cost $AU 102 million to build. Queen Elizabeth II opened the Sydney Opera House on 20 October 1973 (Australian Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2005).

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On the other hand, the Royal Opera House (formed as the Covent Garden Opera Company in 1946) was twice on the verge of bankruptcy during July to October 1997 on account of a renovation effort. In November 1997, it was referred to as the most heavily subsidized arts institution in the UK owing 7.7 million pounds sterling by the end of the financial year (Glaister, 1997). At completion of the renovation effort on the 4th of December 1999, the final tally was £178m (Royal Opera House website).

Incidentally, both opera houses have used similar approaches in raising funds for these endeavors. The, then, New South Wales established the Opera House Lottery to raise funds for the Sydney Opera House and were successful in raising almost the entire cost – $101 million – from 496 lotteries (Australian DEH, 2005). In contrast, the Royal Opera House relied on a combination of public funds (£25m per year as of 2006), donations from wealthy benefactors (key of which are Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover and Dame Vivien Duffield) as well as £58.5m as funds from the National Lottery (TheStage Newsblog, Royal Opera House website).

Conclusion
Despite controversy and funding scandals, these opera houses have been able to weather the storm and provide their countries with a cultural heritage to be proud of. In the words of Frank Gehry (designer for Spain’s Guggenheim Bilbao Museum) as reported by Emma Rogers of ABC News Online, “one of the failings in large public projects is the interference of politics and business”.   As long as misconceptions surrounding design can be resolved against business and political interests, there should be better delivery of such large scale projects.

References

1. About the ROH- History.  RoyalOperaHouse [Internet]. Available from: <http://info.royaloperahouse.org/AbouttheHouse/Index.cfm?ccs=288&cs=1017&SubNavMenu=6> [Accessed 19 July 2006].

2. Glaister, Dan (1997). Going bust – the opera. The Guardian, November 5. p.1(1).

3.  Rodgers, Emma (2005). Opera House an architectural ‘tragedy’. ABC News Online. April 4. Available from: <http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200504/s1355304.htm> [Accessed 19 July 2006].

4. Sydney Opera House – factsheet. Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005 [Internet]. Available from: <http://www.deh.gov.au/heritage/national/sites/opera-factsheet.html> [Accessed 19 July 2006].

5. Top 100 in the Arts. TheStage [Internet]. Available from: <http://www.thestage.co.uk/newsblog/2005/09/top_100_in_the_arts.php> [Accessed 19 July 2006].

6. Wilkinson, Joseph F. (1995) High buildings, high bridges, high wages. Engineering News-Record, v234 n1 p. 57(1).

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