Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sydney Opera House to rename opera theatre in honor Dame Joan

The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that the opera theatre at the famed Sydney Opera House will be renamed after legendary soprano Dame Joan Sutherland.

The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, met representatives of Opera Australia and the Opera House in the theatre yesterday to announce the decision, which follows discussions with Dame Joan's husband, conductor Richard Bonynge, and the rest of her family.

Mr Bonynge, who is in Spain, said in a statement: "The family are delighted and feel very honoured at the renaming in honour of Dame Joan. It is a splendid day." A naming ceremony for the opera theatre is expected to take place in the second half of this year, subject to the availability of Mr Bonynge and their son, Adam, to attend.

Despite the announcement though, a $1 billion renovation project of the Opera House, with a great deal of focus on the opera theatre, remains stalled in governmental red-tape. Mr O'Farrell said the government had been briefed on a proposal and was - according to the Herald - "working our way through the usual budget processes".

Jonathan Bielski, who is currently the acting chief executive of the Opera House, acknowledges the need of some care and renewal - telling the Herald, "I think we're all committed around the idea. It's a matter of timing, how we structure it and how we put the funds together."

Something tells me that with Dame Joan's name on the theatre, it might get a second look from wealthy donors who want to put their names next to that of a legend.

The renaming comes as Opera Australia is in final preparations for the opening of their zealous production of La Traviata on Sydney Harbour, over which will be suspended a 3.5 ton, 30-foot high chandelier, adorned with 10,000 Swarovski crystals.

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