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ARETHA, A Love Letter to the Queen of Soul, coming to the Sydney Opera House

“A force of nature. A work of genius. A gift from the heavens” – Rolling Stone

Sydney – Tuesday 7 March, 2023. ARETHA, a powerful memoir that celebrates the life and music of one of the greatest voices in history, will have its world premiere in the Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall on 17 and 18 June.

Through soulful storytelling, this unforgettable night of music and memories will honour the legacy of global superstar Aretha Franklin, who broke down barriers and paved the way for generations to come. In a showcase of 32 songs and spoken narration, it will chart not only her music but the ups and downs of the Queen of Soul’s extraordinary career – from her early gospel roots and rise to fame, to her legendary hits and lasting impact on music.

Narrated and directed by multi-talented First Nations actor Jada Alberts (Wentworth, Cleverman), with musical direction by Joe Accaria (Velvet Rewired), ARETHA features a line-up of outstanding Australian vocalists:

  • Emma Donovan – legendary ARIA-nominated, award-winning, Gumbaynggirr and Yamatji singer/songwriter;
  • Montaigne – celebrated singer/songwriter and unique art pop musician, who has evolved from young indie leader to one of Australia’s most individual and dynamic voices;
  • Thandi Phoenix – a vocal powerhouse with a unique tone, magnetic energy and commanding stage presence, Thandi has both a deep love of electronic music and artistic beginnings rooted in soul and R&B;
  • THNDO – actor and singer/songwriter with range so rich and delivery so buttery and soulful she’s considered Australia’s ‘First Lady of Soul and R&B’; and
  • Ursula Yovich  – multi award-winning actor, singer and writer who starred in Belvoir’s Barbara and the Camp Dogs and is a recipient of The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award.

Sydney Opera House Head of Contemporary Performance, Ebony Bott says: “The spirit and fire behind Aretha Franklin’s voice earned her many accolades over the years, from 18 Grammy awards, to more than 75 million records sold and even taking the crown as number one on the Rolling Stone’s recent ‘Greatest Singers of All Time’. Her music connects so genuinely with audiences – we’ve all experienced heartbreak, longing, and love through her voice and lyrics. ARETHA promises to bring this together in an incredible evening of entertainment that pays homage to the icon, her extraordinary catalogue of songs and gets audiences on their feet.”

  ARETHA, A Love Letter to the Queen of Soul
When:  17 and 18 June 2023
Where:  Concert Hall
Price:  From $95 + booking fee
On-sale:  Insiders pre-sale  – 9am, Tuesday 7 March, 2023
                 What’s On pre-sale – 9am, Wednesday 8 March, 2023
                 General public – 9am, Friday 10 March, 2023

17 and 18 June - Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
20 June - Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre
2 July - Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne

For media information, please contact:

Sharonne Lipman
IP Publicity 
0466 896 650

Amity Harrold 
Senior Communications Manager 
0487 573 797