– Musical tribute by Tim Minchin featuring a cast of Australian artists reminds us of the endless possibilities when you don’t Play It Safe –
Sydney – Wednesday 18 October, 2023. The Sydney Opera House today released a special musical tribute to mark 50 years of bravery, creativity and wonder at the world’s most celebrated cultural landmark.
Play It Safe was written and composed by Australian singer Tim Minchin as an ironic salute to the bold, visionary experiment that became the Opera House. The song is a musical homage to a building that tested the limits of engineering and design, forever changing the face of Sydney. Minchin has crafted a wry, potent message about the importance of defying conventions and taking risks.
Made in partnership with creative agency The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song, directed by award-winning filmmaker Kim Gehrig and produced by Revolver x Somesuch, the epic music video features a collection of extraordinary Australian artists and arts companies who share an enduring connection with the Opera House.
Minchin’s playful lyrics are richly illustrated in sequences featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Ziggy Ramo, Zahra Newman representing Sydney Theatre Company, John Bell representing Bell Shakespeare, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Elma Kris representing Bangarra Dance Theatre, Kira Puru, Cathy-Di Zhang representing Opera Australia, William Barton, Courtney Act, Jimmy Barnes, Sydney Dance Company Pre Professional Year Students and Associate Artists, Lucy Guerin dancers and Minchin himself, in a stunning visual journey through the Opera House’s stages, on its steps and at the peak of its soaring white sails.
Of creating the song, Minchin said: “I adore the Opera House – playing in and around this beautiful building has been one of the great honours of my creative life. So I was hugely flattered when I was invited to write something special for the Opera House’s 50th that celebrated it as a monument to what is possible when we think big. To remind us that our not-entirely-mythological ‘larrikin’ spirit is the same spirit that allows us to be bold and brave and not care too much what other people think.”
Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said: “Imagine if the creators of this magnificent building had played it safe, imagine what we would not have. Their bravery forever changed our nation. We set out to create a tribute to the Opera House 50 years on – to inspire the community and to remind us all of the incredible moments that have taken place here over the past five decades. With the help of the brilliant Tim Minchin, Kim Gehrig and a wonderful cast of Australian artists, this song celebrates what’s possible when you think big.”
The Monkeys Group CEO and Accenture Song ANZ President Mark Green said: “We’ve had a long history with the Sydney Opera House since creating the Ship Song in 2010, and we are proud to play our part in championing creativity and the arts in celebration of an icon. It’s been a pleasure working with such a talented group of people.”
Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said: “We are thrilled to support the 50th anniversary of one of Australia’s most globally recognisable icons, the Sydney Opera House. Taking prominence on the shores of Sydney Harbour, it is a building that has inspired millions of visitors from all over the world to travel here to admire this stunning architectural masterpiece up close, highlighting its central role in international tourism to Australia. Synonymous with Australia and Sydney’s stunning harbour and modern skyline, it has featured prominently in our international tourism marketing campaigns over five decades, including our latest campaign ‘Come and Say G’day’, helping to inspire international travellers to visit our country.”