Max Richter: Sleep

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Max Richter plays 'Sleep' on the piano at the Opera House while listeners doze on camp beds surrounding him
Photograph: Supplied, Sydney Opera House Max Richter plays 'Sleep' on the piano at the Opera House while listeners doze

Time Out says

You snooze, you lose, as Max Richter's Sleep goes live for three nights only

Plenty of us have struggled with achieving a deep sleep over the course of these last few uncertain months. Fortunately, the Sydney Opera House has the perfect solution to ensure you snooze soundly this weekend.

They’ve resuscitated polymath pianist and composer Max Richter’s somnambulant 2016 Vivid Live performance. To the nodding bliss of punters parked in sleeping bags around him, he played his 31-track, eight-hour ambient album Sleep in full under the sails of the harbour icon.

Normally a musician would be somewhat put off if you started snoring gently in the front row, but Richter positively encouraged zonking out to his blissful refrain and was aided and abetted in this lullaby by the six-piece American Contemporary Music Ensemble and soprano Grace Davidson.

Thanks to the ongoing digital delights of the From Our House to Your platform, you can hit snooze again. And it's oh-so-important to get a good night’s rest. As neuroscientist and Richter collaborator David Eagleman puts it, in an essay penned by sleep expert Professor Danny Eckert and posted on the Opera House website, “Many people have had a difficult time getting adequate sleep during the febrile reign of [lockdown], so an exquisite soporific like Max’ could not be more important at this time. It’s only in the very rarefied case of something like Sleep that a piece is sufficiently long, calm, and rhythmic to strike asynchrony with brain rhythms, entraining sleep and possibly deepening it.”

The performance will be going live on the Opera House site on Friday night at 10pm for a strictly limited 72-hour window. Which means you can drift off to it for three nights in a row. So don’t lose, stream it and snooze.  

Want more soothing music from the vault? Listen to Nooks and Crannnies.

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