In a unique position right in the middle of Sydney harbour, the opera house dominates its surroundings. The enormous white sculpture was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the winner of an international competition. Construction began in 1959 but was beset by many problems, predominantly of a political nature, leading to Utzon’s resignation. In 1966 he and his family left Australia and he has never returned to the country. 1973, the massive edifice, with its sail-shaped shells up to 60 m in height and covered with over 1 million white ceramic tiles, was formally opened in the presence of the British Monarch Queen Elisabeth II. Instead of the estimated EUR 15 million, the construction had incurred costs of over EUR 150 million. Almost the whole amount was raised through lottery proceeds. The first work on the programme at the opening ceremony was Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th symphony. The complex seats just under 7,000 people when it is full.