UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island will host its first opera ever, when a bold new production of Bizet’s much-loved Carmen opens on 25 November. Replete with famous arias like the Habanera and the Toreador Song, even audiences who are new to opera will be pleasantly surprised to find Carmen’s music is instantly familiar to their ears.

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The acclaimed Liesel Badorrek directs a cast of brilliant singers and musicians, 12 contemporary dancers and three motorbike riders to tell the story of Carmen, opera’s ultimate femme fatale, as you’ve never seen it before. As Badorrek says, nothing tells a story about misfits, fringe dwellers and outsiders quite like rock ‘n’ roll.

With its gritty industrial mystique, Cockatoo Island is the perfect backdrop for thrilling sets and costumes, transporting audiences into Carmen’s world as soon as they step off the 12-minute ferry ride from the city.

Carmen on Cockatoo Island
Carmen rehearsals are now underway!
Motorcycles and fireworks

Motorcycles and nightly fireworks are among the exciting elements of the new production.

Incorporating such diverse aspects is an enticing prospect for choreographer Shannon Burns, who previously worked on Opera Australia’s Handa Opera on the Sydney Harbour production of La Traviata.

“We are creating a new world and the dancers support that world with a dynamic display of unapologetic and expressive movement across multiple genres. Expect the unexpected,” says Burns.

With tickets priced between $79 and $149, Carmen on Cockatoo Island offers a great value night at the opera. The addition of pop-up bars and dining ensures an all-inclusive evening out at one of Sydney’s most breathtaking locations.

Get in quick, as this unique experience is guaranteed to be a highlight of Sydney’s summer events calendar and a major drawcard for visitors to the city.

Audiences can travel to Cockatoo Island on the Opera Australia shuttle ferry running from King St Wharf, which they can book along with their performance tickets. The island can also be accessed by public ferry or water taxi.

When: November 25 – December 18, 2022

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here

Photo Credit: Rhiannon Hopley