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Articles and stories from the Sydney Opera House

Art at the House

A women assessing the Tapestry cloth in a warehouse.

Restoring the Coburn Tapestries

John Coburn was at the height of his fame when the artist was pitched to architect Peter Hall to design the Sydney Opera House theatre curtains in 1969. Hall had taken over from Danish architect Jørn Utzon and was ushering the building towards completion.

The inside story of Olsen’s celebrated Opera House mural

When I went to see Kenneth Slessor, he was working as a journalist, his poetical self long since disappeared, and he told me a story. It was the story of an artist who drowned in Sydney opposite the place where the Opera House now stands.

Michael Nelson Jagamara wearing a beige suit jacket over a blue and white checked shirt and wide brim hat, standing in front of an artwork in pastel colours.

A Possum Story

Michael Jagamara was born into and revelled in a time of great change and opportunities. Following the end of World War II, abstract expressionism had arrived in the Australian art world and Sidney Nolan completed his Ned Kelly series. Also in that year, in the north part of Western Australia, in an amazingly unread, event, at least 800 Aboriginal pastoral workers walked off the job and began one of the longest industrial strikes in Australian history.

Cinema and Screen

What’s new to Stream?

The latest collection of free concert films, performances, and talks has just dropped on Stream, our platform that brings the magic of our stages to the comfort of your home. Turn your Sunday evening into a concerto, transform your living room into a theatre, or let a captivating talk draw you deeper into some of the world's greatest minds.

The story of the missing Attenborough Opera House film

Made, lost, then uncovered half a century later. This is the story of controversial film 'Autopsy on a Dream'.

Exploring the future of performance with Outlines

Get to know all about our new free online season Outlines and re-imagine new forms of performance as artists erase boundaries between digital and physical environments. If you're not quite sure where to start, here’s everything you can look forward to this week.

Classical Music

Adventures in Chamber Music: Your Guide to the Utzon Music 2024

The Utzon Music Series returns in 2024 with an exciting array of chamber music featuring some of Australia’s favourite artists alongside exciting international guests, many of whom are making their Sydney Opera House debut in the House’s most intimate venue.

Under the Sails with the LSO

In our 50-year history, the Sydney Opera House has welcomed thousands of world-class performers to its halls. But no orchestra has as long and rich a shared history with the Opera House as the London Symphony Orchestra.

“Rebirth and resurrection”

Who better to help reopen the heart of the Opera House than William Barton? The celebrated Kalkadunga musician estimates he has played the venue over 300 times. This week, with clapsticks made from wood salvaged from the stage, he'll perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a triumphant return to the Concert Hall.

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Contemporary Music

Read Contemporary Music

The artists you should be listening to: The Vivid LIVE Official Playlist

This May - June, Vivid LIVE will transform the Sydney Opera House into an electric hub for live contemporary music and art as part of Vivid Sydney. With only two weeks until the festival kicks off, we spoke to Ben Marshall, Head of Contemporary Music, on what it takes to curate a festival lineup, which acts to look out for, and why Vivid LIVE will be an unmissable night out this winter.

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What’s sounding good at the Opera House this Feb - Mar 2024

Give your ears a treat this February and March by catching a concert on one of the world's most iconic stages. From post-punk to jazz to zamrock, there's an eclectic mix of genres and artists ready to rock the night away with you. Read on to find your next gig.

A person wearing googles and a white long sleeve t-shirt playing a guitar against a bright purple background.

The Steve Lacy song for every star sign: a cosmic guide

To celebrate Steve Lacy’s latest album, Gemini Rights and his only Australian headline shows at the Sydney Opera House this Jan – Feb, we thought we’d find the perfect Steve Lacy song for every star sign, not just Geminis. 

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Comedy, Circus & Magic

The stylish Scotsman who's reinventing mentalism

Scott Silven isn't your average magician. He sees magic as storytelling – "a metaphor for something greater". Ahead of Wonders, we talk to Silven about the art of magic.

What’s it really like to run away with the circus?

Ever wondered what it's like to run away with the circus? Jascha Boyce and Darcy Grant from contemporary circus production The Mirror share the high-flying details.

A woman holding a long pole, performing on stage.

Vietnam’s villages bloom into a city in À Ố Làng Phố

Tuan Le's new circus challenges how we see Asia.

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Dance

Cheat Sheet: Horizon

Here's your cheat sheet to the stories behind Bangarra's exquisite Horizon. Learn all about the choreographers and their country across the seas from the Torres Strait Islands to Lake Taupō, Aotearoa. 

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What you need to know about… Romeo and Juliet Suite

In a dazzling new production, the L.A Dance Project is set to make their Australian Debut in Benjamin Millepied’s bold and contemporary reimagining of Shakespeare’s masterpiece Romeo & Juliet Suite. This multilayered show fuses together cinema, dance and theatre to tell the classic story through a daring new lens.

Stage Direction Dance

Stage Direction: Anna Karenina

In this edition of Stage Direction, Stephen A Russell traces the tracks of Anna Karenina, Tolstoy’s tempestuous ode to love, loss and family, ahead of its latest ballet adaptation at the Sydney Opera House.

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First Nations

Badu Gili’s Frances Belle Parker

We talk to Frances Belle Parker, one of the five Badu Gili artists, about her work, her motivation and how she’s used the Opera House’s sails as a blank canvas.

Deborah Mailman on Rhoda Roberts’ “remarkable” 16 years at the Sydney Opera House

Few people have had as much influence on what takes place in these hallowed halls as Rhoda Roberts. This month, she finishes her incredible stint at the Opera House. We spoke to actress and Trustee Deborah Mailman about Robert's everlasting impact.

Why NAIDOC matters

We ask some of our Opera House family – performers and artists who take centre stage during this week of celebration – to discuss this year's NAIDOC theme and to unpack why the week matters to them.

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Kids & Families

Stage Direction Kids & Families

Stage Direction: Grug & Magic Beach

How does a treasured childhood classic become a living, breathing three-dimensional theatre tale? Lenny Ann Low looks at the art of adapting two iconic picture books for the Opera House stage.

School holidays survival guide

Our guide to surviving the school holidays with your sanity, and your kids' imagination, intact. 

A selection of three books against an orange background.

From stage to story: books for kids

Inspire creative young minds with these children's books whose characters and their authors have appeared on the Opera House stages.

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Musical Theatre & Cabaret

A man in a suit holding a white mask.
Stage Direction Musical Theatre & Cabaret

Stage Direction: The Phantom of the Opera

Unmask Phantom, the original ‘mega-musical’, from its humble beginnings in a French newspaper to being part of our cultural DNA over 100 years later.

The iconic songs of Sondheim: The cast of Sweeney share their favourite tracks

In anticipation of Sweeney Todd, the cast and crew of the show speak about the enduring impact of the great Stephen Sondheim. Read about their favourite songs from his extensive and remarkable career.

The viral musical you’ve probably never heard of

When it opened in 2017, ‘SIX the Musical’ enchanted a new generation of musical theatre fans with its contemporary pop homages and progressive take on Tudor history. Now, having just debuted on Broadway, the viral musical has its sights set on a wider audience.

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Opera

Brett Whiteley: A life, an opera

A rebel. An icon. Learn about one of Australia's greatest artists.

Love List: Great Opera Hits by Guy Noble

Know your Nessun Dormas from your Habaneras? Find out what makes a ‘great opera hit’ in this special playlist curated by conductor, composer and broadcaster Guy Noble.

Cheat sheet: La Bohème

Everything you need to know about the original bohemian love story

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Talks & Ideas

A white ceramic bowl with black ornate edge pattern holding spiced chickpea stew with coconut and turmeric on a tabletop. Five smaller bowls surround the edge of frame holding ingredients.

The recipes that made her famous: Alison Roman’s internet-breaking meals

From the flavourful Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric to the legendary Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, Alison Roman’s simple but oh-so-delicious creations have amassed millions of shares, likes, and followers around the world.

Mother tongues and minor feelings

Recipient of the Antidote and Sweatshop Mentorship for Diverse Emerging Writers Joyce Chew on family, language and the “glittering visage of the Australian ‘fair go’”.

A crowd of people in masks with a sign titled 'Stop Asian Hate'.

Now you see us

Recipient of the Antidote and Sweatshop Mentorship Program for Diverse Emerging Writers Patricia Arcilla writes about the “tidiness” of #StopAsianHate in the face of deeper systemic problems.

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Theatre

Stage Direction Theatre

Stage Direction: Amadeus

In this edition of Stage Direction, Stephen A Russell delves into the irresistible appeal of a feverishly imagined operatic tragedy.

Stage Direction Theatre

Stage Direction: The Little Prince

In the first of our new series on page-to-stage adaptations, Neha Kale looks at how Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s poignant tale of a young prince lives on in the 21st century.

John Bell in seven acts

To celebrate Bell Shakespeare's 30th anniversary we highlight seven of the best John Bell moments on stage with the Bard.

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Uncovered

Uncovered: Leaf Candle Co.

At Leaf Candle Co., we make amazing smelling soy candles using recycled tin cans. We are focused on being eco-friendly and sustainable, using natural or recycled materials where we can. 

Uncovered: Mwerre Soap & Skin

Liz Liddle is the founder of Mwerre - Soap and Skin, a First Nations female-owned small business that manufactures artisan soaps based in Creswick, Victoria. Meaning ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’ in Arrernte, a First Nations language group in Central Australia, Mwerre (pronounced Mwah-rah) uses native ingredients to produce handmade soaps with Indigenous clay minerals and botanicals that protect and care for the skin.

A woman seated in a house, drawing into a notebook at a desk.

Uncovered: SoulSilk

Queensland-based artist Simin Contractor of SoulSilk has been selected for Uncovered’s Clothing and Accessories category.  We spoke to Simin about her Sydney Opera House Shop collection which features three hand-painted silk scarves inspired by Australian botanicals.

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