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Dawn Chorus

Imagine…it’s 5:30am. The horizon is tinged with pink as the sun rises over the Sydney Heads. The Sydney Opera House Sails glisten in the light. Sydney Philharmonia Choirs assemble on the Monumental Steps to summon the dawn with music full of hope and power. Come and witness them sing in a new day, a new season, a new era!

Sydney Opera House Monumental Steps

Hundreds of voices summon the dawn in song from the steps of the Sydney Opera House!

Yes, we’re inviting you to head out to the Sydney Opera House in the wee hours of the morning to witness a musical performance at dawn on a Sunday. And whether you’re a morning lark by nature or a night owl who has to stay up all night to see the sunrise, we’re going to make it worth your while.

Picture it now: first light… the horizon tinged with pink as the sun rises over the Heads… the Opera House sails glistening… the granite underfoot is cool, the waters of the harbour are lapping quietly… hundreds of singers assemble on the Monumental Steps… voices rise as the sun climbs…

In just over an hour of inspirational a cappella music, the Choirs will welcome a new day in the (still) new year – singing the city into 2020. At the same time they will launch their Centenary Season, celebrating the dawn of a new era as they take up their status as a resident company of the Sydney Opera House.  

Light, possibility and hope. The themes are timeless and the music traverses the ages, from the ancient round “Sumer is icumen in” and traditional songs like “Morning Has Broken” to contemporary expressions such as Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” and the “Aquarius – Let the Sunshine In” medley from Hair.

The Choirs have also commissioned young Sydney composer Luke Byrne to write a piece especially for Dawn Chorus and will be premiering Deborah Cheetham’s Tarimi nulay, a choral Acknowledgement of Country, composed in collaboration with Matthew Doyle.  

Whether you’re beginning the day or ending the night, join the audience for Dawn Chorus as Sydney Philharmonia Choirs sing in a new day, a new season and a new era!

Presented by Sydney Opera House and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs

Dawn Chorus Program

Inspirational a cappella music including…
Luke BYRNE Awakening*
Deborah CHEETHAM & Matthew DOYLE
Tarimi nulay- Long time living here*
Eric William BARNUM & Robert BODE
William BYRD
Sing Joyfully (Psalm 81)
Edward ELGAR (arr. John Cameron)
Lux Aeterna
Lux Aeterna
O Nata Lux
O Radiant Dawn
Morning Star
Dolly PARTON (arr. Craig Hella Johnson)
Light of a Clear Blue Morning
Thomas TALLIS O Nata Lux
ANONYMOUS Sumer is icumen in
TRADITIONAL Scottish, words by Eleanor FARJEON Morning Has Broken
TRADITIONAL Spiritual (arr. Stuart P. O’Neil)
My Lord, What a Morning
John DAVID (arr. Peter Knight)
You Are the New Day
Galt MacDERMOT (arr. Greg Gilpin) Aquarius – Let the Sunshine In

* World premiere

Brett Weymark
Sydney Philharmonia Choirs



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