Sydney Opera House celebrates its 50th anniversary with a year-long celebration

The Sydney Opera House will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023 – and, as befits such an icon, it’s spreading its celebrations out over an entire year. Starting in October, more than 230 performances, events and experiences will take place in all parts of the house, from the forecourt to its theaters, stairways and sails.

“The Opera House is a gift, a huge source of pride for our community and one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world,” Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron said in a statement. . “Now, after 50 years of creativity and a decade of renewal, we are opening the doors and inviting everyone to take part in a year-long festival celebrating the building, its history and all forms of contemporary culture.”

The festivities begin on October 19 with nighttime projections on the sails of the building (until October 30). The screening will feature new artwork from multidisciplinary Sam Doust and creative technology company Art Processors. Their work will tell the story of the design and construction of the Opera House, its opening in 1973 and its 50 years of cultural contributions. And every night after dark, October 20-30, local community choirs will perform for free on the steps of the Opera House.

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Comedian, musician and songwriter Tim Minchin will perform for one night only in November, live with an eight-piece band on the forecourt of the house, while Vance Joy will also play on the forecourt for two nights. Other shows on the forecourt include New Zealand’s Fat Freddy’s Drop, soul artist Ngaiire with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Wow! Trip to Arnheman evening of Yolŋu music and culture.

Welsh actor Michael Sheen (Dusk, The Queen, masters of sex) will take the stage for a production by Peter Shaffer Amedee, a reimagining of the rivalry between composers Antonio Salieri and Mozart. Sydney fashion brand Romance Was Born will design the costumes for the production. Other international artists will make their way to the house as part of Inside/Out at the House, a seven-day festival in May, with concerts by the London Symphony Orchestra, Australian Ballet, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. . Each show will be broadcast live on the forecourt, where tickets are only $10.

Sydney’s First Nations cultures and communities will play an important role in the celebrations. Visitors, a Sydney Theater Company and Moogahlin Performing Arts play set in Gadigal lands in January 1788, will be reworked and directed by famed Quandamooka director Wesley Enoch. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA+ artists will be featured in Blak & Deadly: The First Nations Gala Concertin partnership with Sydney World Pride 2023. And the Bangarra Dance Theater will present a new show at the Drama Theater in June 2023.

The celebration will culminate with the month-long open house festival in October 2023. Although its program has yet to be announced, it will occupy every part of the building with marquee shows, events and activities culminating in a day open doors.

Other highlights include an Opera Australia production of Mona Lisa, featuring German operatic tenor Jonas Kaufmann; a season of three Sydney Dance Company programs; and a performance by the 35-member Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir, which features female singers from six remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

There will also be revamped Opera House tours, with more free and paid events expected to be announced in the coming months.

The Sydney Opera House’s 50th anniversary celebrations run from October 19, 2022 until the end of October 2023.

James C. Tibbs