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A white man with black hair and dark beard wears all black. He's in front of a green background and is looking at a shadow.


20 July – 9 August 2024

In the Joan Sutherland Theatre

Opera Australia


One of the greatest plays ever written is now a dazzling new opera.

What a piece of work is a man!

Shakespeare’s searing portrait of a prince in crisis intimidated nearly all of history’s greatest opera composers. Not so for Australian composer Brett Dean, who saw in Hamlet’s splintering sanity a perfect match for his evocative music.

Now is your chance to see one of the most successful operas ever composed by an Australian. Commissioned and premiered by Glyndebourne, and performed at the Metropolitan Opera of New York and the Adelaide Festival to great acclaim, Hamlet finally gets its Sydney Opera House debut.

Dean composed an expansive sound world, with a massive orchestra and chorus, at times positioned around the theatre. The effect is dramatic and luxurious, a wall of voices pressing in on Hamlet’s troubled mind. Electronics create musical ghosts. Librettist Matthew Jocelyn carves up the text so the familiar pops up in unexpected places.

One of Australia’s great Shakespearean directors, Neil Armfield created this “viscerally physical” (Sydney Morning Herald) production for Glyndebourne, collaborating with Australian designers Ralph Myers and Alice Babidge to produce a slick royal court with darkness at its heart.

The demanding title role needs an extraordinary performer: we’re excited to bring Allan Clayton to make his Sydney Opera House debut. His performance as Hamlet is “tremendous” (The Guardian), “mesmerising and monumental” (The Conversation). Lorina Gore reprises her “spellbinding” Helpmann Award-winning performance as Ophelia alongside an outstanding cast. Contemporary opera specialist Tim Anderson conducts.

Presented by Opera Australia

A white man with black hair and dark beard wears all black. He's in front of a green background and is looking at a shadow.


Artist information

Brett Dean

Matthew Jocelyn

Tim Anderson

Neil Armfield

Set Designer
Ralph Myers

Costume Designer
Alice Babidge

Lighting Designer
Jon Clark

Sound Designer
Bob Scott

Movement Director
Denni Sayers

Allan Clayton

Lorina Gore

Rod Gilfry

Nicholas Jones

Kanen Breen

Samuel Dundas

Opera Australia Orchestra
Opera Australia Chorus

This season of Hamlet is dedicated to Jacqueline Dark (1968-2023). Jacqui was due to perform the role of Gertrude in this production before her passing.

Other information

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