How it works
- Welcome to the Trials of Wisdom, a virtual Escape Room by the Sydney Opera House (made with the help of the team from Escape This Podcast).
- In order to pass the Trials of Wisdom and escape, you will need to enter four passwords at the bottom of this page.
- The clues for each password are hidden throughout – each room correlates to one word, but make sure you enter them in the right order.
- There are optional hints throughout to help you along the way but if you need more help, try @SydOperaHouse and #EscapeTheHouse on Twitter.
- We recommend you read through with a pen and paper close by, some parts might only make sense later on in the story.
- Read the full transcript.
- No spoilers! If you do escape, revel in it and let everyone know (#EscapeTheHouse), but keep the password to yourself.
The room with the piano
You look around with uncertainty. This isn’t a room normally accessible to the public. You didn’t even know it existed. But your show had finished, the audience was all leaving, and as you filed out with them you just... spotted it. That door, with its sparkling stained glass window. You had to find out what was behind it.
You had no idea it was going to lock behind you.
Your heart beats fast. You need to find a way out of here before security finds you. And yet, curiosity still floods your mind. What is this room? It isn’t remarkable – all you see is a piano and an old-timey telephone sitting on a table. It rings, vibrating madly. You pick up the receiver.
“Password?” a husky voice says softly. “In order, please.”
You have no idea what it means, so you hang up.
You head to the piano instead. It’s a well-kept Steinbach Baby Grand. Unable to resist, you sweep your fingers across the keys... only to be disappointed. Most of them don’t work. In fact, only four of the A keys work, two of the Bs, one C, three Ds, and none of the Es, Fs or Gs. Pity.
There’s no music on the rack, but there seems to be something else. A map, with four areas shaded: an Orchestra Pit (labelled A), a Props Room (labelled B), a Costuming Department (labelled C), and a Theatre (labelled D). Behind the map you find a letter.
You duck into the orchestra pit. None of the chairs or stands are set up, bar the conductor’s stand. Against one wall in the dark you spot a cluster of instruments, some in cases, some not. They appear to be grouped by orchestra section: the woodwinds, a bassoon, clarinet, flute and oboe; the brass, a horn, trombone and muted trumpet; strings, a single violin; and percussion, a large set of timpani. You examine them and realise that each of the nine instruments has a note affixed. The notes appear to be about their music, but you know a little about the music of The Magic Flute and none of the statements seem quite right. They must be referring to something else...
“Everyone has my part.”
“My part is unique.”
“Someone else has already played my part.”
“All the brass and no one else has my part.”
“Nobody else has my part.”
“A woodwind instrument shares my part.”
“Four others have my part, but they’re all at the start or end.”
“One of the brass has my part, but later.”
“My part comes after the horn.”
Hidden item #1
You approach the conductor’s stand and find four sheets of music. The first is labelled ‘Papageno’, then ‘Tamino’ and ‘Pamina’. And finally, ‘Queen of the Night’. This final one also has some other notes:
“26 = Z, 25 = Y, 5 = E, etc. Start simple, then get gradually more elaborate.”
This room is so packed you can barely open the door. As soon as you enter you’re bombarded by a collection of vivid, colourful animal props of varying shapes and sizes. Some are practically full-sized, whereas others have been scaled up or down, and almost none are their natural colour.
You first walk past a life-sized pink giraffe and brown elephant, then a huge aqua whale and green polar bear. After that, a regular-sized black cat, blue turkey, silver wallaby, and white possum. Next come the ones that are bigger than you but normally wouldn’t be: an enormous indigo flamingo, purple fox, and yellow snake. Finally you pass the ones that have been miniaturised, a small gold lion, orange gorilla, and red horse.
At this other end you’ve discovered a workshop area, where props are built and finished. Sitting in a row on a workbench is a collection of open paints. You read their labels:
You open the door and are greeted by a flurry of colours and materials. You only count a dozen costumes hanging, but while some are simple, others are quite extravagant. One dress has a train so long it would need an entire wardrobe to itself. You approach and find that they all are labelled with a character name and a size. You think some of these are from The Magic Flute but it’s difficult to remember which ones.
You examine the costumes carefully and make note of how elaborate they are.
Banker – Extremely simple, size 8
Count Almaviva – Extremely elaborate, size 25
Don Giovanni – Somewhat elaborate, size 2
Ferrando – Somewhat elaborate, size 11
Figaro – Somewhat simple, size 9
High Priest of Neptune – Extremely elaborate, size 20
King of Crete – Somewhat simple, size 13
Lucia – Extremely simple, size 3
Pamina – Somewhat simple, size 15
Papageno – Somewhat elaborate, size 22
Queen of the Night – Extremely elaborate, size 5
Tamino – Extremely simple, size 12
Hidden item #2
Tucked away in a corner, there’s a long measuring tape with a splash of light pink paint on it. You find a post-it stuck there:
“Only work with the big ones! Roughly two metres or taller.”
There’s noise coming from the theatre. You creep in silently and see that on the stage are a dozen ballerinas, all practising the same movements. That’s odd. Surely nobody should be rehearsing at this time of night, let alone in the theatre. But here they are, practising, with a demanding woman out the front calling, “Make sure you know your positions in relation to the sign!”
You watch them dance, and see that behind them is a prominent sign that reads “THE BORDER”. The letters are as big as the dancers. It looks like they’re recreating an abstract scene from The Magic Flute, representing the border between night and day.
1. Fourth position
3. Fifth position
4. First position
5. Second position
6. Third position
8. Second position
9. Fifth position
10. Fifth position
Hidden item #3
As you sneak closer to the stage, you almost trip over something on the floor. It’s a recording device. Once you’re in a quiet corner, you press ‘play’ and listen. It sounds like someone from the orchestra is speaking.