Concert Halls


Sydney Opera House

When I joined SAA the National Carrier, as a flight attendant, the one thing I was most excited about was the prospect of visiting some concert halls to attend several live musical performances. Although I loved mostly contemporary music, there were some venues that I just had to visit. My top concert halls in the world are the following:




The present Madison Square Garden isoften fondly referred to as MSG or simply The Garden.  The building housing MSG was developed on a full block situated between 31st and 33rd Streets in Manhattan in New York City and is built over the Penn Station underground. This is the fourth building to share this name, with the first two being located at Madison Square – hence the name. The fourth MSG opened its doors in February 1968.  The Garden is a multi-purpose indoor arena and is used for concerts, basketball, ice hockey, boxing, ice shows, circuses, and other forms of sports and entertainment.

At a total construction cost of approximately $1.1 billion, Madison Square Garden has been ranked as one of the ten most expensive stadium venues ever built.

The Garden has hosted performers such as Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Led Zeppelin, Muhammad Ali’s fight of the century in 1971 to name but a few.



Radio City Music Hallis an entertainment venue located in the Rockefeller Centre in Manhattan, New York City. Radio City Hall is nicknamed “Showplace of the Nation”, and is a leading tourist destination with the interior being declared a city landmark in 1978. When the stock market crashed in 1929, John D Rockefeller, Jr. held a $91 million, 24-year lease on this property.  He decided to build an entire complex of buildings on the property-buildings so superior that they would attract commercial tenants even in a depressed city flooded with vacant rental space. The project would express the highest ideals of architecture and design and stand as a symbol of optimism and hope.

It was opened in December 1932 and seats approximately 6000 people.  It was designed by Edward Durell, with the interior being designed by Donald Deskey in Art Deco style.

Although this theatres main focus is concerts and live stage shows, movie premieres and feature runs have occasionally taken place there such as the Harry Potter film series. Leading pop and rock stars have performed here and well known televised events such as the Grammy, Tony, Emmy and MTV music awards takes place here.

Rockefeller Centre is a favourite Christmas destination. The spirit of the labourers who decorated the first tree on the site almost seventy years ago lives on in the giant, gloriously lit spruce that graces the Plaza throughout the festive season. The tree lighting ceremony draws huge crowds eagerly awaiting the official start of the season.



Carnegie Hall in a beautiful concert venue located in Manhattan New York City in the United States of America.

In 1887 on a ship departing from New York to London Newlyweds Andrew Carnegie, a very rich industrialist, and his wife were travelling to Scotland for their honeymoon. A fellow passenger, conductor and musical director Walter Damrosch was on his was to Europe for study purposes. These passengers developed a friendship with Damrosch enthusiastically sharing his vision for a new concert hall in New York City. Carnegie expressed interest in partaking in the development of this concert hall.

 This beautiful Hall designed by an architect called William Burnet Tuthill and was built in 1891. It is one of the most admired venues in the world and has been host to concerts for both pop and classical music. Carnegie Hall is hired to some of the world’s best performing groups and hosts approximately 250 performances each season. Carnegie Hall is divided among three auditoriums and seats 3671 people.



The Walt Disney Concert Hallis located in Los Angeles, California, United States of America and was designed by Frank Gehry.  This concert hall is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. It was opened on October 24, 2003 and seats 2,265.

Lillian Disney who was the widow of Walt Disney donated $50 million in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and as a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the city and its arts. Additional funds were raised from private donors and the Los Angeles County selling bonds to enable completion of the project. This project is estimated to have cost US$274 million WITH Gehry's architecture and the acoustics of this concert hall, being praised.



The Royal Albert Hall is located in South Kensington, London and has become one of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings.It was always considered to be a multipurpose building to host not only concerts of music but also exhibitions, public meetings, scientific conversations and award ceremonies and it hosts more than 350 events annually. It was designed by Fowke and Scott, and erected 1867-71 at a cost of about £200,000.  The hall seats 5272 but can take up to 8000 people

This Hall was originally supposed to have been calledThe Central Hall of Arts and Sciences. The name was changed by Queen Victoria toRoyal Albert Hall of Arts and Scienceswhen laying the foundation stone, as a dedication to her deceased husband and consort Prince Albert.

This hall is a registered charity held in trust for the nation and is financially self-sufficient with no funding being received from government.

Over the last 150 years or so the Royal Albert Hall has featured some of the greatest names in music, science, and political history but perhaps it is best known for holding Promenade concerts, fondly known as “The Proms” each summer since 1941.



This Centre for Performing Arts, is an opera house in Beijing, People’s Republic of China and has been fondly described as “The Giant Egg”. It is made in the shape of a dome and made from glass and titanium and is surrounded by an artificial lake with the entrance being through a hallway under the water. It was designed by a French architect named Paul Andreu with construction commencing in 2001 and being completed in 2007. The Centre is approximately 12,000 m² in size and seats 5,452.  The location, immediately to the west of Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People, and near the Forbidden City, combined with the theatre’s futuristic design, created considerable controversy. Paul Andreu countered that although there is indeed value in ancient traditional Chinese architecture, Beijing must also include modern architecture, as the capital of the country and an international city of great importance. His design, with large open space, water, trees, was specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of the People, in order to melt into the surroundings.

The initial planned cost of the theatre was US$393.7 million however on completion the construction cost rose to more than US$468.7 million.

Symphonies, dance shows, ballets, dramas, operas and other kinds of performances are frequently staged in this beautiful centre.


Sydney Opera House (1957 - 1973) is a masterpiece of late modern architecture. It is admired internationally and proudly treasured by the people of Australia. It was created by a young architect who understood and recognised the potential provided by the site against the stunning backdrop of Sydney Harbour. Denmark’s Jørn Utzon gave Australia a challenging, graceful piece of urban sculpture in patterned tiles, glistening in the sunlight and invitingly aglow at night. Jorn Utzon died in Copenhagen in November 2008 aged 90.

In its short lifetime, Sydney Opera House has earned a reputation as a world-class performing arts centre and become a symbol of both Sydney and the Australian nation.

Sydney Opera House was inscribed in the World Heritage List in June 2007: “Sydney Opera House is a great architectural work of the 20th century. It represents multiple strands of creativity, both in architectural form and structural design, a great urban sculpture carefully set in a remarkable waterscape and a world famous iconic building.” UNESCO

The expert evaluation report to the World Heritage Committee stated: “…it stands by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind.”

The distinctive roof comprises sets of interlocking vaulted ‘shells’ set upon a vast terraced platform and surrounded by terrace areas that function as pedestrian concourses.

The two main halls are arranged side by side, with their long axes, slightly inclined from each other, generally running north-south. The auditoria face south, away from the harbour with the stages located between the audience and the city. The Forecourt is a vast open space from which people ascend the stairs to the podium. The Monumental Steps, which lead up from the Forecourt to the two main performance venues, are a great ceremonial stairway nearly 100 metres wide.

The vaulted roof shells were designed by Utzon in collaboration with internationally renowned engineers Ove Arup & Partners with the final shape of the shells derived from the surface of a single imagined sphere. Each shell is composed of pre-cast rib segments radiating from a concrete pedestal and rising to a ridge beam. The shells are faced in glazed off-white tiles while the podium is clad in earth-toned, reconstituted granite panels. The glass walls are a special feature of the building, constructed according to the modified design by Utzon’s successor architect, Peter Hall.