Over 7 million people visit Sydney’s iconic opera house for the pleasure of its architecture any given year, but the 1.2 million who take in its annual offering of over 1,500 performances are perhaps the true aesthetes. Home to Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Opera House has some fantastic performances and events scheduled for the current year.
If you’re looking to holiday in Sydney, why not schedule your trip around a performance or cultural event you can’t get anywhere else? World-class theatre, ballet, music and conferences happen at the Sydney Opera House as often as the sun shines on the crystal blue Australian water, and this coming year’s schedule is resplendent with unique performances. Here is a look at some of the events that the Opera House will be hosting this season.
The Festival of Dangerous Ideas
Ready for its sixth year, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas is one of the most interesting events in all of Australia. Bringing together some of the most hullabalooing minds and mouths of the day, FODI is part of the Opera House’s Ideas at the House program. With conversation, debate, lectures and panels on subjects that range from the advantages of non-monogamy to the penal system and murder, the range of ideas and discussion is provocative ,and it all takes place in a single weekend.
Performed by Bangarra Dance Theatre, Patyegarang shows the drama and unfolding of “first contact” between a young, brave Aboriginal woman and Lieutenant William Dawes. Patyegarang traces the young woman’s telling and sharing of Aboriginal knowledge, culture and language in a story of friendship in the midst of colonialism. Choreographed by Stephen Page, Patyegarang is a narrative piece about history, culture and the generosity of sharing experience. Aboriginal myths, stories and history take center stage in this moving work.
The World Premiere of “Switzerland”
“Switzerland”, playwright Joanna Murray-Smith’s newest offering, will be unveiled for the first time at the Sydney Opera House in 2014. The work springboards from the life and work of crime novelist Patricia Highsmith, whose villains are complex and not always punished. A collaboration between Sydney Theatre Company and Geffen Playhouse, “Switzerland” is at once suspenseful and dramatic. It portrays a world where the crime novelist is at the center of a tale she could have penned, dark and lively with high emotions and terse, structured dialogue all lead to real consequences.
A classic of operatic drama and allure, the story of “Carmen” is the story of a headstrong woman determined to have her way. Full of memorable music and visceral spunk, Carmen is a precocious and vivacious young gypsy woman, dangerous and beautiful to the point of almost being unable to avoid her own ruin. A story of love — will she choose Escamillo or Don Jose? — Carmen will be played by Spanish Mezzo Nancy Fabiola Herrerra, sharing the role with Milijana Nikolic.
Based on Shakespeare’s play, Verdi’s “Otello” reduces Shakespeare’s story of love, jealousy and murder to its barest bones. Iago draws lovers Otello and Desdemona into a trap they are unable to escape in order to destroy them both. This performance of Verdi’s retelling is both haunting and moving, as iambic pentameter gives way to melody, countermelody, consonance and dissonance to relay tension, persuasion, faith and hatred.
The UK’s quintessential political singer-songwriter is coming to the Opera House for the first time ever in support of his most recent studio album, “Tooth & Nail”. For over 35 years, Bragg has sung of protest and love, making him one of Britain’s most popular and polarizing musicians. He covers the political spectrum — illegal war, workers’ rights, bankers’ bonuses — but he also sings songs of romance and heartache. For anyone who likes protest music and love songs, Billy Bragg is a perfect fit.
Another Australian first, the premiere of UK’s BalletBoyz is coming to the Opera House in May. An all-male dance troupe, BalletBoyz will perform “the TALENT”, which features dance works by Russell Maliphant and Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett. The entire piece is set to original music and film. Tongue-in-cheek, sexy and imaginative, “the TALENT” features 10 hand-picked dancers moving through film, lights and one another to the sounds of fantastic scores written by composers Max Richter and Armand Amar.
If you have your sights set on a visit to Sydney, why not ensure it coincides with an Opera House event? From dangerous ideas to once-in-a-lifetime performances, the Opera House has something that will expand your view, your mind, your ears and your heart.
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