Sydney’s concert hall is saved by flying saucers

Sydney’s concert hall is saved by flying saucers


norman lebrecht

July 24, 2022

First impressions of the refurbished concert hall in the Sydney Opera House have been hugely positive. Five performances of Mahler’s second symphony are going down well. The hall used to be sonically as dull as a repeat run of Neighbours.

The secret of its transformation?


Acoustic reflectors in the ceiling.


  • TishaDoll says:

    Shades of the old Avery Fischer Hall ‘improvements’

  • Fran says:

    Nothing wrong with neighbours repeats. It’s emotional this week too, do you not read the news….

  • Tamino says:

    I doubt the ceiling reflectors are the only change installed. Probably they are only the most visible change to the layman. Anyone has a white paper on the project?

  • Tony says:

    “The hall used to be sonically as dull as a repeat run of Neighbours” ?

    Still gave London’s Royal Festival Hall and Barbican more than a run for their money. The hall recorded very well.

  • Marg says:

    I attended the Mahler and was very impressed with the improved balance of sound, the fact that I could actually hear the harps when they were played with the orchestra, and just the general overall acoustic. Visually it is much improved too in my view – some beautifully carved woodwork along the sides for example. Worth the two year wait.

  • Ben says:

    I attended the opening night and was sitting about two thirds of the way back. The most noticeable improvements were the projection and impact of the sound and the bass resonance. The sound is stall rather clinical and hard in the upper range, but you cannot have everything I suppose. The SSO brass in particular did themselves proud.