Sydney’s Newest Opera takes to the Ocean

Posted on March 26, 2012


Forget the acoustics the Sydney Opera House, the city’s hottest new performance takes place right over the harbor.


Jorn Utzone knew that the majority of his audience came to see an Opera house before hearing it. That’s why he threw logic to the wind when he architected this new outdoor performance. Utilizing Sydney’s modernist skyline as its backdrop, Opera on the Harbor literally floats over the ocean.


Under a 30 foot high chandelier and 10,000 shimmering Swarovski crystals, soprano Emma Matthews takes her place on a crane that is lifted over the audience. Fireworks engineered by Fortunato Foti (the same guys who do each New Year’s Eve event) burst in the background.  Even flashier than the show is the amount of money and preparation that Opera Australia has put into this project.


Spending $12 million US on the project, the company has built restaurants and bars on its temporary home in the city’s Botanical Gardens (the opera’s temporary home). They’ve secured the best operatic talent in the nation and have even hired lifeguards to rescue anyone who slips off the stage.


The project, which is designed to free opera from the formal theater environment, targets young people, who critics believe, find the traditional setting both alienating and intimidating. Considering the amount of hype that has built up over this Saturday’s opening performance, it sounds like a smart business strategy for the Sydney Opera house, and a creative plan to build a young following.


There’s just one thing that hasn’t been considered- a roof. The final run through was poured on, pushing back the start time by over an hour and forcing the cut of an entire second act. Given the volatile tendencies ofSydney’s weather, this event will either be very lucrative…or disastrous.

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