REVIEW: Arvo Pärt – A Sacred Journey, Sydney Opera House, 07.04.2013

First of all I have to mention that this was the first time I had a privilege to attend a concert in beautiful Sydney Opera House and it was everything that I expected and more.


Some interesting facts about Sydney Opera House:

  • The original estimate for the construction of the Opera House was a measly $7 million. Largely paid for by a State Lottery, the final costs came to a staggering $102 million – 14.5 times the original budget!
  • With a crew of 10,000 construction workers, it was estimated that it would take just four years to build the Sydney Opera House. The House was finally opened in 1973, 14 years after construction began.
  • There are 1,056,006 roof tiles covering an area of approximately 1.62 hectares thatsit over the structure. They were made by a Swedish tile company, Höganas.
  • The Concert Hall Grand Organ took ten years to build. It’s the largest mechanical organ in the world with 10,154 pipes.


  • Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most distinctive 20thcentury buildings and also makes up one of the most famous performing arts venues in the world.
  • Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 th October, 1973.
  • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has visited Sydney Opera House five times.
  • There are 2,679 seats in the largest venue, the Concert Hall.

concert hall

  • There are seven performance venues at Sydney Opera House – the Concert Hall,the Opera Theatre, Playhouse, Drama Theatre, The Studio, the Forecourt and theUtzon Room.
  • Sydney Opera House was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 28, 2007.
  • Sydney Opera House conducts almost 3000 events each year and has an annual audience of 2 million for its performances.


It was an interesting concert, this – Arvo Pärt: A Sacred Journey. It was part of the Sydney Opera House’s ‘The Composers’ series, where they choose a composer each year to ‘celebrate and champion the very best and most interesting music of our time’. I felt so proud to sit there in the most amazing concert hall in the world and listen the music of Arvo Pärt. The Sydney Opera House hasn’t probably seen so many Estonian faces and heard so many Estonian voices before. It was lovely to see how Estonians went to enjoy the concert and support one of their own.

The first piece, Magnificat (performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir) and second piece Spiegel im Spiegel, a frustrating prolongation for violin (Helena Rathbone, from the Australian Chamber Orchestra) and piano  almost put me to sleep. I was almost disappointed, but Tabula Rasa gave me hope again and the second part of the concert was truly enjoyable with beautiful Adam’s Lament closing the concert. And Tõnu Kaljuste did an amazing job! He is great conductor, no doubt about it.

It was an enjoyable experience. Not ‘wow, incredibly amazing concert’, but enjoyable.

And I really can’t wait to go to the Opera House again! 🙂

arvo pärt concert

arvo pärt concert2 arvo pärt concert3 arvo pärt concert4 arvo pärt concert5 arvo pärt concert6



The Composers: Arvo Pärt – A Sacred Journey

Conductor: Tõnu Kaljuste

Estonian Philharmonic Choir

Musicians of the Sydney Symphony

With Helena Rathbone (violin), Kirsty Hilton (violin), Veronique Serret (violin), Tamara Anna Cislowska (piano)


Arvo Part – Magnificat (1989)

Arvo Part – Spiegel im Spiegel (1978)

Arvo Part – 7 Magnificat Antiphons (1991)

Arvo Part – Tabula rasa (1977)

Arvo Part – Fratres (1982)

Arvo Part – Salve Regina (2011)

Arvo Part – Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (1989)

Arvo Part – Adam’s Lament (2009)


Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House, 7 April 2013


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