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Joan Sutherland Theatre Image: Daniel Boud

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Last and First Men

With the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
A multimedia work narrated by Tilda Swinton with live score - Theatre of Voices on vocals
Conducted by Benjamin Northey

In an Australian exclusive, some of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s closest collaborators and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform one of the late, great composer’s final works, Last and First Men, an extraordinary multimedia piece narrated by Tilda Swinton.

Please note: Tilda Swinton will not be appearing at this event.

In the Joan Sutherland Theatre. | View Seat Map

“From Jóhannsson’s work we learn that loss can be beautiful, and that in appreciating that, we can preserve something terrifyingly fragile but intensely human, and very, very important.” 

The Guardian

Experience this multimedia masterwork

Journey to a stunningly evocative future, with the exclusive Australian premiere of the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Last and First Men, a multimedia work and live score. Shot in black and white, this enigmatic film was also directed by Jóhannsson, with narration by actress Tilda Swinton. Be mesmerised by the haunting live musical accompaniment by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and conductor Benjamin Northey, with Else Torp on vocals (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds ‘Distant Sky’) & Kate Macoboy (vocals, Theatre of Voices). Be transfixed by this one night only performance in the majestic Joan Sutherland Theatre.

Seven years in the making, Jóhannsson’s opus takes Olaf Stapledon’s visionary 1930 sci-fi novel and transforms it into a deeply moving exploration of humanity’s dystopian future. Last and First Men is a unique mix of film and fiction with breathtaking 16mm footage, Swinton’s indelible voice and the composer’s wonderfully strange and mesmerising score.

The Icelandic Jóhannsson, celebrated for his soundtrack work on Sicario, Arrival, and many others, sadly passed away in 2018. The Sydney show follows its successful premiere at the Manchester International Festival and the Barbican in London, and serves as a fitting tribute to the beloved and influential composer.

Please note: Tilda Swinton will not be appearing at this event.

Commissioned by Sydney Opera House, Manchester International Festival and the Barbican.

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s sci-fi opus

Before his death, Jóhann Jóhannsson talked to Andrew Male about the extraordinary creation of his directorial debut and Berlinale hit, Last and First Men.


Last and First Men - Trailer

Press play to watch video

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Tickets and Prepaid Food & Beverage

Add a drinks voucher or drinks with a cheese platter to your purchase and redeem it at any of the foyer bars inside the Opera House – perfect for a pre-show or interval refreshment.

Tour & Dine

Join us for a meal at Opera Bar before or after your guided Sydney Opera House Tour. We’ve picked our favourites - beer battered fish & chips, rump steak or a seasonal vegetarian meal option*. No reservations needed.

Tickets and Vivid LIVE Backstage Tour

Sweep back the curtains and explore behind-the-scenes with an intimate small-group Vivid LIVE Backstage Tour. Dine in the exclusive domain of our performers, journey through rehearsal spaces not open to the public, and be tantalised with insider secrets from our expert guides.

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