The Sydney Opera House is turning 50 and is throwing a year-long party to celebrate. The festival program includes a dazzling array of events and performances, many of which are free.

Sydney Opera House birthday highlights

The iconic venue will kick off the celebrations with the lighting of the sails with Light Years and From the Steps: Voices at Dusk, which will fill the Forecourt with soaring melodies by community choirs performing on the Monumental Steps. Other free events include First Nations talent taking us on a journey to Arnhem Land in Wanha! and R&B star Ngaiire performing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

International superstar Tim Minchin will perform an eclectic array of songs from his celebrated musical comedy career. Folk-pop sensation Vance Joy will follow with chart-topping, award-winning hits while New Zealand funk collective, Fat Freddy’s Drop will thrill with a monster jam session on the Forecourt.

Theatre lovers will savour Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, which blends theatre, opera and classical music. Don’t miss Michael Sheen who stars in this classic production as Antonio Salieri, a composer tormented by jealousy who sets out to destroy the brilliant young Mozart. 

The Visitors is another theatrical highlight, taking us back to January 1788 through the eyes of First Nations elders who see a mysterious fleet arriving in Sydney Harbour.

Watch live broadcasts at the Sydney Opera House forecourt

Inside/Out at the House features world-class performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Australian Chamber Orchestra. These performances will take place between 1- 7 May and each evening will include a special performance inside the heart of the Sydney Opera House, while simultaneously broadcasting live to audiences outside on the Forecourt.

Sydney Dance Company’s Ascent is an exciting triple bill that includes two world premieres from renowned choreographers and the return of a Helpmann award-winning smash hit.

A notable highlight is the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir, drawn from seven remote communities. The 35-strong choir offers a uniquely Australian cultural music experience. 

Coinciding with WorldPride, Blak and Deadly: The First Nations Gala Concert promises a fabulous rainbow of Aboriginal and Torres Strait LGBTQIA+ talent.

Opera lovers will relish La Gioconda in Concert, starring the world’s leading tenor Jonas Kaufmann, and Mad Scenes with Jessica Pratt.

There’s also a vast array of shows and activities to entertain and inspire young minds. The exciting Kids Summer series includes Arc, Zoom, Are We There Yet, Wild City, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and many more. The Kids Summer series is guaranteed to create happy family memories and foster the next generation’s creativity.

This is just a snapshot of the exciting events during the Sydney Opera House birthday celebration but for more details, click here