Skip Links
Close Search

UTZON MUSIC 2022

Letters from Iraq

Rahim AlHaj

This moving program tells a story of love and loss; home and hope.

In the Utzon Room | Classical Music

COVID-safe and event information

The health, safety and wellbeing of everyone at the Opera House is our priority. When you return to the Opera House, you will notice some important changes that have been implemented to keep the community safe, which are regularly reviewed and updated in consideration of the Public Health Order prevailing at the time. Please follow our conditions of entry at all times:

  • Face masks are strongly recommended for all patrons while inside our theatres and foyers, including during the performance. Please bring your own mask;
  • As you move around the Opera House, practise physical distancing (1.5 metres whenever possible) and follow the guidance provided by our staff and signage; and
  • Within venues, always take your allocated seat.

Please refer to our updated General Terms and Conditions for Tickets and Attendance at Events for detailed information about our ticketing policies. These conditions may change between the time of purchase and the event date. Ticketholders will be contacted directly regarding any changes to their event.

Please check our plan your visit page prior to attending the Opera House for the most up-to-date information.

Pre-sale and on-sale information

Pre-sale timings:

    Insider Member Priority – 9am, Tuesday 21 June
    What’s On e-newsletter pre-sale – 9am, Wednesday 22 June

General public on sale 9am, Friday 24 June

Two concerts on Sunday 23 October, 2022

3pm, Sunday 23 October 2022
6pm, Sunday 23 October 2022

Standard tickets $75 | $8.50 Booking Fee applies per transaction

Ticket Reserved Seating
Standard
$75

Prices correct at the time of publication and subject to change without notice. Exact prices will be displayed with seat selection. Children aged 15 years and under must be accompanied at all times.

The authorised ticket agency for this event is Sydney Opera House. For more information about Authorised Agencies, see the FAQ below.

Suitable for all ages

Children aged 15 years and under must be accompanied at all times. Children aged 0-23 months at the time of a performance may be seated on a parent’s lap free of charge.  All children occupying a seat or aged 2 year/s of age or older must hold a valid ticket.

“...unique combination of traditional and innovative performance techniques. AlHaj's spontaneous inventions are constantly fascinating.” 

Los Angeles Times

Close

Experience the evocative music and storytelling of this Grammy-nominated Oud virtuoso

Virtuoso oud musician and Grammy-nominated composer, Rahim AlHaj was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the Oud (the grandfather of all stringed instruments) at age nine. Now considered to be one of the finest Oud musicians in the world, AlHaj’s compositions are centred around his experiences and connection to his homeland. 

With a deep love for the people of his native Iraq, AlHaj’s Letters from Iraq is an homage to the heartbreak, loss, and day-to-day journeys of so many Iraqi citizens. 

Joined by percussion and string quintet, this music is achingly beautiful and not to be missed.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

Programme

Letters from Iraq by Rahim AlHaj

 

Artist credits and Instruments

Rahim AlHaj - Composer and Oud

Justin DeHart - Percussion

 

“Rahim AlHaj is a rare soul; charming, giving and deeply musical. This will be an intensely intimate and evocative performance of his own works, where we will be transported to Rahim’s homeland, and delve into the lives and hearts of the people of Iraq. This will be a true gem in the Utzon Music calendar and is not to be missed.”

Casey Green, Utzon Music series curator

Venue Information

Performances are being sold to 100% capacity in line with the NSW Public Health Order. This includes all shows in the Concert Hall, Joan Sutherland Theatre, Studio, Playhouse, Drama Theatre and Utzon Room. Please note that you will be seated directly alongside other ticketholders.

Our foyers will be open 90 minutes pre-show for Concert Hall and Joan Sutherland Theatre performances, and two hours pre-show for Western Foyer venue performances. Refreshments will be available for purchase from our theatre bars. Please remember to maintain physical distancing whilst consuming drinks in our foyers.

All Sydney Opera House foyers are pram accessible, with lifts to the main and western foyers. The public lift to all foyers is accessible from the corridor near the escalators on the Lower Concourse and also in the Western Foyer via the corridor on the Ground Level (at the top of the escalators). Pram parking will be available outside the theatres in the Western Foyer consistent with COVID-safe rules.

Meet the Musician

Rahim AlHaj

Rahim AlHaj Composer and Oud

Rahim AlHaj, virtuoso oud musician and composer, was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud (the grandfather of all stringed instruments) at age nine. Early on, it was evident that he had a remarkable talent for playing the oud. Mr. Alhaj studied under the renowned Munir Bashir, considered by many to be the greatest oud player ever, and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, Iraq. Mr. AlHaj won various awards at the Conservatory and graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He holds a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad.

In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Mr. AlHaj was forced to leave Iraq due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime and began his life in Jordan and Syria. He moved to the US in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, NM ever since. In 2015 Rahim was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor for traditional arts in the USA.

Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19 Safety Measures

What safety measures have you implemented?

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of everyone on site, and we are closely following NSW Health guidelines and advice. The Sydney Opera House is registered as a COVID Safe business with the NSW Government. For detailed information about our COVID-19 safety measures and what’s required of you when visiting, please see our plan your visit page.

What am I required to do as an audience member?

Face masks are strongly recommended for all patrons while inside our theatres and foyers, including during the performance. Please bring your own mask.

As you move around the Opera House, practise physical distancing (1.5 metres whenever possible) and follow the guidance provided by our staff and signage.

Within venues, always take your allocated seat.

For detailed information about our COVID-19 safety measures and what’s required of you, please see our plan your visit page.

Do I need to be vaccinated to visit the Sydney Opera House?

The Sydney Opera House no longer requires patrons to show that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Am I required to wear a mask?

Face masks are strongly recommended for all patrons while inside our theatres and foyers, including during the performance. Please bring your own mask.

How are you managing contact tracing? 

Contact information is required when making a booking with us and upon arrival at the Opera House, as set out in our General Terms and Conditions for Tickets and Attendance at Events and our Customer Privacy Statement.

As the ticket purchaser, you are responsible for recording the contact details of your guests. Contact information will only be used for the purposes of contact tracing, if required, and will be deleted at least 28 days after your event.

Frequently Asked Questions - Performance and Venue

What time do I need to arrive before the event?

Ticket purchases and collection at our Box Office is discouraged and eTicket or postal delivery methods should be used, wherever possible. However, if you are collecting your tickets from the Box Office, we recommend doing this at least 60 minutes before the event starts. If you have already received your tickets, the venue doors will be open 45 minutes pre-show for Joan Sutherland Theatre performances, and 30 minutes pre-show for Western Foyer venue performances. It is encouraged that you take your seats as soon as you arrive. 

If you are late, we will seat you as soon as we can and, where possible, in your allocated seat. However, to reduce movement in the venue as well as minimise disruption to the performance and other patrons, ticketholders may be seated in an allocated latecomer’s seat. Please be aware that some events have lock-out periods. In these cases, latecomers will be admitted at a suitable break in the performance. On occasions, this may not be until the interval, or at all where there is no interval. 

Ticketholders must comply with the directions of Opera House ushers to assist with contact tracing.

Details of our right to refuse admission can be found in our General Terms and Conditions for Tickets and Events.

Will there be bag checks, and is cloaking available?

In line with our venue security procedures, Opera House security will be scanning and checking bags under the Monumental Stairs, prior to entering the building. Bags will be scanned by an x-ray machine, and staff will wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling your belongings, such as gloves. Cloaking facilities will be open 60 minutes pre-show for Joan Sutherland Theatre performances, and 60 minutes pre-show for Western Foyer venue performances. However it is strongly encouraged that you travel lightly to minimise contact and queuing. Any bags larger than an A4 piece of paper will need to be checked into the Cloak Room.

Who are the authorised ticket sellers for this event?

The authorised agency for this event is the Sydney Opera House. 

Only tickets purchased by authorised agencies should be considered reliable. If you purchase tickets from a non-authorised agency such as Ticketmaster Resale, Viagogo, Ticketbis, eBay, Gumtree, Tickets Australia or any other unauthorised seller you risk that these tickets are fake, void or have previously been cancelled. RESALE RESTRICTION APPLIES. For more details, please refer to our General Terms and Conditions for Tickets and Attendance at Events.

What if I can't come to my performance?

Please contact Box Office on 9250 7777 as soon as possible to advise if you can no longer attend. If you can no longer attend because you are unwell, or have been in contact with someone displaying COVID-19 symptoms, the Opera House has introduced flexible ticketing options to help you, find out more information here.

More from Utzon Music 2022

UM22_HelenaRathboneandFriends_1600x1200_V1
Helena Rathbone and Friends
24 Jul 2022
Helena Rathbone and her friends perform an exquisite chamber music program.
UM22_AlexandraFloodandKonstantinShamray_1600x1200_V1
Alexandra Flood and Konstantin Shamray
20 Aug 2022
The exquisite Australian soprano Alexandra Flood is joined in recital by concert pianist Konstantin Shamray, who demonstrates fearless command of the piano.
UM22_JonathonBiss_1600x1200_V1
Jonathan Biss
30 Oct 2022
Renowned concert pianist and curator Jonathan Biss makes his Utzon Room debut.

Make your gift

Your gift opens the Opera House to everyone in the community.

Give now