Issued Thursday, 5 January 2006
SUMMER AT THE HOUSE
DRESS CODE: BOARD SHORTS AND BLACK TIES
Tennis anyone? Feel like a surf? Or a laugh? Or enjoying the best new music?
It’s all happening this summer at Sydney Opera House with an incredible variety of events and performances. Here’s a sample:
In January, enjoy the Sydney Festival and the Australian Open Tennis live site, watch the fleet of surfboards escort the Queen’s Baton during the annual challenge on Australia Day, and weep with Cio-Cio San in Opera Australia’s Madama Butterfly.
Then in February, see the new Western Colonnade, hear John Farnham with the Sydney Symphony and welcome back Olivia Newton-John.
Sydney Festival brings big names as well as some avant-garde works with reduced price tags. The legendary Elvis Costello plays with the Sydney Symphony while Portuguese singing sensation Mariza brings us fado, the emotional cousin of the blues, tango and flamenco and Altan takes Irish traditional music to new places.
And in the Festival’s affordable About An Hour series, choose from seven short, sharp and shocking shows ranging from dance to the spoken-word and silent theatre.
Outdoors, the Australian Open 2006 tennis action comes live to the big screen on the Forecourt, thanks to American Express. If you are ready to pick up a racquet yourself, there’s an interactive zone with speed serve analysis and the kids can join a coaching clinic each morning. Otherwise, just ‘Pose with the Pros’! The on-site action starts on day one with a ‘friendly’ involving all-time favourite Pat Rafter and big-hitter Alicia Molik.
And when you need a break from the heat, come inside for an hour and join an Opera House guided tour. Learn about the architecture, history and colourful stories of one of the Modern Wonders of the World. From late January, the tours will be offered in Japanese, Mandarin and Korean.
While you’re back inside, chill out at Frost*Bite in the Exhibition Hall, a free display of the award-winning graphic design of Vince Frost. The exhibition reveals Frost’s wide range of styles and projects, offering a unique insight into his working practices in London and more recently, in Sydney.
On Australia Day the harbour and the Forecourt will buzz as thousands celebrate our national holiday. Dress code will be board shorts when the 500 competitors in the Surfboard Challenge race from the Man O’ War Steps on the eastern side of the Opera House to Blues Point Reserve.
That morning the Queen’s Baton Relay will make its way around Sydney Harbour in the lead-up to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The Baton will travel through the Botanic Gardens and be exchanged at the House before taking a boat trip across the harbour with the surfboards. Later, the Forecourt will be a popular vantage point for the ferry and tall ship races.
Opera Australia’s summer season opens with Moffatt Oxenbould’s exquisite production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and the fast-moving Verdi comedy, Falstaff followed by a new-look production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love set in outback Australia.
In February, come and see architect Jørn Utzon’s splendid new Western Colonnade. It’s given the House a flowing shady space on the outside and glorious harbour views from the inside.
Over Chinese New Year, Sydney Symphony presents composer Tan Dun, conducting the Australian premieres of his extraordinary multimedia artworks The Map and Paper Concerto.And stand back as Nigel Kennedy interprets Vivaldi in his unique ‘take-no prisoners’ style.
In the Playhouse, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks stars Nancye Hayes and Todd McKenney in a comedy about an unlikely friendship. Meanwhile, next door in The Studio, New York cabaret terrorists Kiki & Herb go right out there with outlandish humour and song.
And if the demographic is younger, the hottest ticket this summer for kids aged 2-5 will be Babies Proms: Flip Flops! The Sydney Opera House Babies Proms Orchestra will head off on a shimmery, interactive musical adventure, brimming with sun-filled summer music from The Beach Boys to Debussy.
Festivals, openings, challenges, relays, launches and exhibitions – plus some big names and special favourites (even Billy Connolly – already a sell-out!).