Sydney has swapped opera for Oprah when the US talk show host brought thousands of shrieking, jubilant fans to the city’s landmark arts centre to tape two star-studded shows for her final series.
There were celebrities, giveaways and screams as 6,000 Oprah Winfrey devotees jammed the steps of Sydney Opera House to watch the filming of each show.
The production marked the finale of a week-long trip by the talk show queen and 302 US audience members who took part in Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure.
Oprah’s staffers whipped the frenzied crowd into a state of hysteria before the host ascended the stage to the sounds of Men At Work’s Down Under, Australia’s unofficial anthem.
Oprah launched her 25th and final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show in September by surprising her audience with her ultimate giveaway – an eight-day trip to Australia. For the past week, the lucky chosen few have been travelling the continent – snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, surfing at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach and exploring the rugged Outback.
Oprah said she had long hoped to travel to Australia, and taking the audience with her made the experience even richer. “Life is always better when you can share it,” she said before the show.
Four shows from Oprah’s Aussie adventure will screen in January and are expected to be watched by millions of people in 145 countries.
Oprah lavished praise on her Australian hosts, the scenery and the citizens.
“You’re so darn friendly, you must go to friendly class,” she told the crowd, who were randomly selected from a pool of 350,000 hopefuls.