October 20, 1973. The Sydney Opera House is officially opened by Australia’s head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. The building has become an icon of 20th century architecture and is among the most widely recognised buildings in the world. Its creator, Danish architect Jorn Utzon, won a competition launched in 1955 to design a multi-purpose and multi-hall venue at Bennelon Point in Sydney Bay. Utzon did not attend the opening ceremony as he had fallen out with high-ranking local officials. He resigned from the project in 1966, seven years before its completion. The Opera House was finished 10 years behind schedule and, at a cost of 102 million Australian Dollars, fourteen times the original budget. With a full capacity for just under 6,000 people, the building sees more than a million tickets sold per year for performances and attracts around seven million curious tourists each year.
Also on October 20: The US Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase (1803); Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis (1968); West German Chancellor Willy Brandt wins the Nobel Peace Prize (1971); three members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd are killed in a plane crash in Mississippi (1977).
Born on October 20: Sir Christopher Wren (1632), Arthur Rimbaud (1854), Bela Lugosi (1882), Tom Petty (1950), Ian Rush (1961), Snoop Dogg (1971)