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A crowd of people in a concert hall with an artist on stage surrounded by lights.

About Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House

Vivid LIVE is the annual centrepiece of the Sydney Opera House’s year-round contemporary music program – a whole-of-House takeover and the only time of year that the world-famous venue is completely reimagined by live contemporary music and art, celebrating cutting-edge and iconic artists that defy expectations and break new ground.

This May to June, Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House will present Australian premieres, exclusives and unmissable performances from a diverse line-up of global acts, beloved locals and emerging voices that amplify our nation’s rich tapestry of culture and ignite the spirit of music lovers, far and wide.

Vivid LIVE is curated for the ninth time by the Sydney Opera House's Head of Contemporary Music, Ben Marshall and forms part of Vivid Sydney, an annual celebration of creativity, innovation and technology that brings together some of the most boundary-pushing artists, thinkers, musicians and culinary experts of our time, transforming Sydney for 23 days and nights.

During Vivid Sydney, the iconic sails become one of the festival’s brightest canvasses lighting up each night with a captivating signature work. The Lighting of the Sails is co-curated by the Sydney Opera House and Destination NSW and is one of Vivid Sydney’s most significant free events.

Ben Marshall Head Of Contemporary Music at Sydney opera house sitting on the staircase.

VIVID LIVE at Sydney Opera House
Curator Ben Marshall

Ben Marshall is the Sydney Opera House’s Head of Contemporary Music and Curator of the annual centrepiece music event Vivid LIVE. He has worked in Australia’s music scene for over 20 years. Former solicitor-by-day, electronic music promoter-by-night, Marshall set up Inertia’s touring division Civil Society (now Handsome Tours), bringing some of the most influential contemporary music artists to Sydney for the first time. Under his curatorship, the Sydney Opera House has hosted Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Nils Frahm, Lizzo, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Wu-Tang Clan, Thundercat, Caroline Polachek, Iggy Pop, Courtney Barnett, Kamasi Washington, New Order, Khruangbin, Leon Bridges, Budjerah, Mdou Moctar, Yaeji, Florence + The Machine, Paul Weller and many more under its iconic sails, a testament to Ben’s ambitious and forward-facing vision in nurturing contemporary music in Australia.

Since assuming the role of Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House curator in 2015, Ben has programmed specially-commissioned works such as The Cure’s Disintegration 30th Anniversary performances (2019), Max Richter’s Sleep and Bon Iver’s special in-the-round performance Cercle (both 2016), seminal artists like Solange and Ice Cube (both 2018), Australian premieres from H.E.R. (2018), Anohni (2016) and Black Country, New Road (2024), the world premiere of Sampa The Great An Afro Future (2022), groundbreaking Australian artists including Genesis Owusu, Hiatus Kaiyote and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the last performance ever from Camp Cope (all 2023), as well as the hallmark Lighting of the Sails, as co-curator. His love for Sydney’s electronic music scene has also seen him throw open the Opera House doors to Scandinavian project Posh Isolation, clubs such as Goodgod, Australian label Future Classic and local communities like Club Kooky, House of Mince, Astral People and Mad Racket.

In marrying artists who stretch the concept of performance with a building that symbolises the liberating power of art, Ben’s goal has been to present “people who work in the new territories, the places in between, the places out at the edges” as outlined by legendary musician, producer and Vivid LIVE’s inaugural curator Brian Eno.