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Inside/Out at the House: this all-new classical festival is taking over Bennelong Point

Get ready for seven extraordinary nights beneath the stars and sails

Sydney Opera House

From the world-renowned performance spaces inside to the glistening white tiles outside, the Sydney Opera House is extraordinary – inside and out.

In celebration of our 50th anniversary and as a testament to the extraordinary,  Inside/Out at the House presents a special program of music and ballet, in collaboration with London Symphony Orchestra and four of our outstanding Resident Companies — The Australian Ballet, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The choice is yours: experience each performance either inside, under the sails, or watch it outside, under the stars, broadcast live to the big screen on the Forecourt (where all tickets are just $10).

Here’s what you can expect from each night of this epic seven-day festival.

An orchestra taking instructions from the conductor.
Sir Simon Rattle conducting the London Symphony Orchestra at Barbican Centre

Day 1
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle 01 May 2023, 7pm

Who are they?
London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is one of the finest classical orchestras in the world. They have also recorded music for over 200 films, including Harry PotterSupermanRaiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars.

What’s on?
Adams, Debussy & Ravel

LSO open proceedings with colourful works from American composer John Adams and French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. The mammoth 114-musician orchestra will bring to life the surreal dream that inspired Harmonielehre by John Adams, before painting the renewed Concert Hall with impressionist compositions of Debussy’s sea in La Mer and the Greek mythology of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2.

Something you might not know:
John Adams’ Harmonielehre, meaning ‘study of harmony’ in German, was inspired by a dream in which he saw an oil tanker take off like a rocket in the San Francisco Bay.

What to listen out for:
The ‘timbre’. Debussy and Ravel are known as impressionist composers – they use orchestration and harmony to paint a picture.

Take your seat at Adams, Debussy & Ravel inside (from $129) or outside ($10)

Day 2
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle 02 May 2023, 7pm

What’s on?
Mahler 7

The second night of Inside/Out at the House welcomes back the LSO with a performance of Mahler’s astonishing Symphony No.7, sometimes known as the ‘Song of the Night’. Audiences will journey from ‘night to an almost blinding dawn’, brought to life through tenor horn, guitar and mandolin solos – evoking the dreamlike sounds of an evening in Vienna.

Something you might not know:
Mahler’s Seventh is a steadily progressing funeral march. He described the first movement as ‘a tragic night without stars or moonlight’.

What to listen out for:
The cellos and double basses in the third movement. They have a dynamic marking of fffff, instructing them to ‘pluck the string so hard that it hits the wood’.

Take your seat at Mahler 7 inside (from $129) or outside ($10)

Day 3
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle 03 May 2023, 7pm

What’s on?

Bruckner 7 

Closing out their run at the festival, the LSO will treat Sydneysiders to an Australian-exclusive performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No.7, as well as the Australian premiere of Sun Poem by rising star Daniel Kidane – and rarely-heard miniatures from Schumann and Stravinsky, Genoveva: Overture (from Schumann’s only opera) and Fireworks

Something you might not know:
Regarded as one of the best symphonies ever written, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 is Sir Simon Rattle’s personal favourite.

What to listen out for:
The Australian premiere of Daniel Kidane’s Sun Poem. This is a new work about the journey of fatherhood. Listen out for Kidane’s unorthodox musical influences, including jungle, dubstep, grime and R&B.

Take your seat at Bruckner 7 inside (from $129) or outside ($10)

The Australian Ballet’s Jewels

Day 4
The Australian Ballet 04 May 2023, 7.30pm

Who are they?
One of the world’s premier ballet companies with a uniquely Australian style. Season 2023 marks 60 years of The Australian Ballet, coinciding with our 50th anniversary.

What’s on?
George Balanchine’s Jewels 

The Australian Ballet sparkles on the festival’s fourth night with a stunning presentation of legendary choreographer George Balanchine’s Jewels. The three-act ballet brings to life the majesty of three precious gems: EmeraldsRubies and Diamonds. Each of the three acts is distinct in style and mood, set to music by three different composers: Fauré for Emeralds, Stravinsky for Rubies, Tchaikovsky for Diamonds.

Something you might not know:
Making its world premiere at New York City Ballet in 1967, this will be the first time The Australian Ballet has ever performed Jewels.

What to listen out for:
The long tutus of 18th century Paris in Emeralds. The jazzy New York themes in Rubies. The lavishness of Imperial Russian ballet in Diamonds

Take your seat at Balanchine’s Jewels inside (from $61) or outside ($10)

Day 5
Sydney Symphony Orchestra 05 May 2023, 7pm

Who are they?
Founded by the ABC in 1932, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra is one of the leading orchestras in the Asia-Pacific region. They perform over 150 concerts each year to an audience of over 350,000.

What’s on?
Symphony Spectacular

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra celebrates 50 years in residence at the Sydney Opera House. In this nostalgic concert conducted by Umberto Clerici, the orchestra will perform renditions from some of their most notable performances, including pieces by Wagner (from the Concert Hall's official opening concert) and Sir Eugene Goossens (former Sydney Symphony conductor and one of the Opera House’s founding fathers), among others.

Something you might not know:
Without Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Opera House might not exist. The idea came about because the orchestra needed a larger place to perform.

What to listen out for:
Your emcee, ABC Classic’s Genevieve Lang. Her knowledge and passion for classical music will take you on a journey through each piece.

Take your seat at Symphony Spectacular inside ($20 + booking fee) or outside ($10)

Day 6
Sydney Philharmonia Choirs 06 May 2023, 7pm

Who are they?
Formed in 1920, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs has over 1100 singers in 3 auditioned and 3 community choirs who perform around Australia and internationally. In 2002, SPC was the first Australian choir to sing at the BBC Proms (Mahler’s Symphony No.8) under Sir Simon Rattle and they have also performed with the Rolling Stones. 

What’s on?
The Golden Age of Broadway

Hear the musical theatre hits you know and love, songs from Guys and Dolls and My Fair Lady to  Oklahoma! and Kiss Me Kate, in the penultimate evening of Inside/Out at the House – bringing the razzle-dazzle of Broadway to the Opera House. Audiences will relive the magic of the Golden Age of Broadway, performed by over 100 choristers and a star-studded cast of vocalists backed by the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra.

Something you might not know:
The Golden Age of Broadway began in 1943 and lasted until 1959. Through World War II and the years of recovery afterwards, big musicals took centre-stage in popular culture, providing escapism, laughter and lightness.

What to listen out for:
Just sit back, tap your toe along and be transported to the Golden Age of Broadway.

Take your seat at The Golden Age of Broadway inside (from $45) or outside ($10)

Day 7
Australian Chamber Orchestra
with special guests Jimmy Barnes & William Barton 07 May 2023, 6.30pm

Who are they?
Comprised of 17 extraordinary musicians, led by Richard Tognetti, the ACO are regarded by many as the best chamber orchestra in the world.

What’s on?
Celebrating Icons – From Bach to Barnes

Closing out the festival, the Australian Chamber Orchestra will honour music’s biggest icons with performances of JS Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings alongside modern classics featuring Australian didgeridoo player William Barton and the soaring vocals of rock icon Jimmy Barnes. It’s a program fit for a celebration.

Something you might not know:
Chamber orchestras are small-scale (12-50 musicians) orchestras. The term comes from the French word chambre, meaning 'room'.

What to listen out for:
The sublime sounds of the Golden Age string instruments played by the musicians of the ACO, which include three Stradivari violins and a 450-year-old Italian double bass.

Take your seat at Celebrating Icons – From Bach to Barnes inside (from $49) or outside ($10)

Find more about Classical Music at the Opera House