Opera Australia has dropped its 2024 Sydney Winter program and it features five exciting show-stopping premieres. 

Sydney Premiere – Watershed | 14 – 16 June at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Watershed received glowing reviews and standing ovations during its premiere at the 2022 Adelaide Festival. Based on the true story of Dr. George Duncan’s tragic drowning, it catalysed South Australia’s leadership in decriminalising homosexuality. Directed by Neil Armfield and written by Alana Valentine and Christos Tsiolkas, Watershed features a bold script and captivating score conducted by Brett Weymark. With performances by acclaimed artists like Pelham Andrews and Mark Oates, along with the OA Chorus and Orchestra, the production blends choral music, solo performances, and dance to recount five decades of anti-gay violence, drawing from inquest transcripts, press clippings, and personal letters. It pays homage to Dr. Duncan’s legacy, a catalyst for societal change.

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Photo Credit Andrew Beveridge Watershed
Photo Credit: Andrew Beveridge

Sydney Premiere – Opera North’s five-star spectacular staging of Tosca | 25 June – 16 August at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Opera North’s production of Tosca has garnered a prestigious 5-star rating from The Times UK, praised for its gripping drama and sensational music. Director Edward Dick masterfully combines Renaissance grandeur with contemporary flair, creating a highly theatrical experience. Featuring stellar performances from international stars Giselle Allen, Karah Son, Young Woo Kim, Gevorg Hakobyn, and Warwick Fyfe, this action-packed romance culminates in a jaw-dropping finale.

Photo Credit James Glossop Tosca OA
Photo Credit: James Glossop

Great Opera Hits – 30 June – 21 October at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Enjoy 90 minutes of stunning opera hits performed by top singers at the Sydney Opera House. Recognise famous tunes from TV, film, and games while marveling at the power of the unamplified opera voice. The perfect night for opera fans as well as a great introduction for those new to opera. 

Australian Premiere – Puccini’s Il Trittico | 3 – 19 July at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Puccini’s rarely performed triptych features three operas – Il tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi – each with distinct characters, stories, and genres, exploring love, lies, and death. Led by conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya and Australian directors Constantine Costi, Imara Savage, and Shaun Rennie, the debut promises thrilling drama, intense music, and controlled comic chaos.

Photo Credit Georges Antoni Il Trittico
Photo Credit: Georges Antoni

Sydney Premiere – Brett Dean’s interpretation of Hamlet makes its SOH debut | 20 July – 9 August at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Brett Dean’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet blends intricate electronic music and immersive surround sound effects, accompanied by Matthew Jocelyn’s compelling libretto. Directed by Neil Armfield AO, the Sydney Opera House debut features Allan Clayton MBE as Hamlet, Lorina Gore as Ophelia, and Rod Gilfry as Claudius.

The irresistible Cosi fan tutte | 1 – 17 August at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Sir David McVicar’s beloved 2016 production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte returns, set in the early 1900s. The comic drama on love, fidelity, and loss unfolds amidst stunning costumes and a sunlit set. Greek conductor Zoe Zeniodi debuts in Australia, joined by British soprano Nardus Williams, alongside Australian stars Helen Sherman and Alexandra Oomens.

Photo Credit: Georges Antoni

World Premiere | Kip Williams to direct Gilgamesh | OA’s first co-production with Sydney Chamber Opera | 26 September – 5 October at Carriageworks

Kip Williams, the visionary Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre, is set to helm a talented ensemble of contemporary opera experts. Alongside them, the acclaimed Australian String Quartet and Ensemble Offspring will lend their virtuosity to the musical journey. Together, they will bring to life a groundbreaking opera by Jack Symonds, Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera.

This innovative production tackles the timeless themes of mortality, sexuality, and humanity’s connection to the natural world through the lens of Gilgamesh, humanity’s oldest epic poem. It marks a significant milestone as the world’s first opera in English to delve into these strikingly relevant themes.

Book tickets and find out more about the 2024 Opera Australia Winter season here