In 2010, Fiona Winning and a group of friends headed down to Circular Quay and to the Sydney Opera House, where they were going to see Barcelona’s Ojos de Brujo in the Concert Hall, a venue more used to staging orchestras, school groups and the odd royal command performance.
“I had seen operas in the Joan Sutherland Theatre and we often went to the Studio but we never went ‘upstairs’ to the Concert Hall,” Fiona says. “And we were blown away by the performance and the fact that we could take a drink in and dance. It was a fantastic ‘ahhh moment’ that the Concert Hall was a venue for me and my mates. It was the beginning of regular contemporary music nights out there to see artists like Nile Rodgers and CHIC, Nick Cave and many others.”
Seeing a contemporary music show provided that “ahh moment” for many people, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the Opera House in the decade since, and many – like Fiona – for the first time, to the Concert Hall.
Now, as Director of Programming, Fiona oversees the Opera House’s internal programming arm, Sydney Opera House Presents, which books contemporary acts throughout the Opera House, including big names for its largest and arguably most famous indoor venue. Artists who have performed on the iconic stage over the years include Prince, Kanye West, Herbie Hancock, Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, Lizzo, Wu-Tang Clan, Janet Jackson, Janelle Monáe and countless others.