The Museum of Contemporary Art stays open until 9pm each Wednesday night with a program of live music on the terrace, discussions, performances, talks and workshops, to complement the exhibitions. The indoor-outdoor MCA Cafe, on the Sculpture Terrace, also stays open until 9pm. It's got some of the best views of the harbour at night – assuming there aren't any cruise ships. See our hitlist of art exhibitions this month and check out where else you can enjoy art at night.
Powerhouse combo director Gale Edwards and designer Brian Thomson (HOSH's Carmen) created this production for Opera Australia's 2011 season – and it has proved a popular hit. Some love La bohème, some loathe it – but there's no doubt that there's plenty of those Puccini earworms (including the famous double-dose back-to-back arias 'Che gelida manina' and 'Mi chiamano Mimi'), and plenty of romance, sex, tragedy and comedy. To that mix, Edwards and Thomson add the sizzle of Weimar Germany (cue topless club girls, red-curtained cabarets, bedazzling frocks, and the best kind of boho threads). This is an eminently accessible, attractive production that will satisfy die-hard romantics, Puccini fans and opera noobs alike. The 2019 iteration kicks off on New Years Eve, with Lebanese-Canadian opera star Joyce El-Khoury making her Opera Australia debut as Mimi. See what else is in the Opera Australia 2019 season.
The story of Salome – the princess who demands the head of prophet John the Baptist on a silver platter in return for performing a dance – is a biblical one, referred to in the books of Mark and Matthew. But this young woman, who may have altered the course of history through the power of her dance, is never named in the text. It really wasn’t until Oscar Wilde’s controversial 1891 play, Salome, that her story became widely known and studied. The play, which forms the basis for Richard Strauss’s 1905 opera, places Salome at the centre of the action as she comes under the lustful gaze of her stepfather, Herod. In biblical versions, Salome’s mother, Herodias, is insulted by the prophet’s criticism of her second marriage, and encourages her daughter to demand his execution. In Wilde and Strauss’s versions, Salome is her own woman with her own reasons for doing so. Gale Edwards’ production of the opera premiered in 2012, and explores how male artists have constructed images of femininity over the centuries. It’s most obvious in her approach to the infamous ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’ – her version features a series of dancing women embodying male fantasies of female sexuality: innocent child with teddy, French maid, dominatrix pole dancer, Marilyn Monroe with her billowing white skirt, mother Mary as a saucy go-go dancer – but the male gaze and battles for power are unpacked in every scene. If anything, Edwards’ approach rings with even more clarity in 2019 – it constantly thro
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has been going strong for seven years now, bringing a touch of spectacle – and a boatload of fireworks – to Sydney each autumn. But things will be a little different in 2019 as the company steps away from the operatic repertoire with its first outdoor musical, West Side Story. Leonard Bernstein's score is about as operatic and sophisticated as musical theatre gets, meaning the show has long been performed by opera companies. Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini said: “I’ve always loved West Side Story, it’s one of the greatest pieces ever written, and I’ve been wanting to include it in the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour repertoire since we started the program seven years ago. “The setting is perfect, with the city skyline in the background, you won’t get a better stage backdrop in the world, and I’ve said from the start, if a piece is right, then we’ll do it, we don’t want to be bound by preconceptions.” For this new production, Opera Australia is reuniting two members of the dream team behind La Traviata, the first ever Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour in 2012: American director Francesca Zambello and veteran Australian set designer Brian Thomson (who's designed everything from the stage version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to the first ever production of The Rocky Horror Show). Tony will be played by Alexander Lewis, who recently won rave reviews in the company's The Merry Widow, and Maria will be Julie Lea Goodwin, who previo
Former Australian Chamber Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra violinist Maddy Boud will play original compositions and a mix of 15th century Spanish folk and contemporary Japanese minimalist music in this unusual sonic yoga class. YogaPlay started out in a church hall in Manly and is now branching out to more venues around the city. The concept is a guided yoga class by teacher Phoebe Carden, as Boud provides a soothing soundtrack. It’s thought we listen to music differently as we move, encouraging us to respond and play with movement and sound. The next event takes place at Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. The yoga session is suitable for all levels of yogic experience. BYO mat. Events at St Andrews in Manly and Paramount Recreation Club have been cancelled.
It probably couldn’t get more chill than a music festival by the ocean. Now in its second year, the Drop will be setting up stages by the beach to provide a good time for fans of Australia’s indie artists and a soundtrack for the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro, which is one leg of the World Surf League Qualifying Series. The evening’s tunes will kick off at 3pm, ready for a sunset dance party at Keirle Park, just a stone’s throw from Manly Beach. The line-up will have the crowds swaying and fist-pumping in equal measure. Brother-sister duo Angus and Julia Stone will surely bring a set as majestic as a big jet plane, while loveable scamps from the Illawarra, Hockey Dad, will get audiences riled up with their new era rock. Client Liaison may just arrive in an off-white limousine that’ll be pumping joyful electro-dance tracks, while the Jungle Giants will have everyone boppin’ and singing along to ‘Feel the Way I Do’ and ‘She’s a Riot’. But we won’t really be happy until we hear the folk-pop storyteller Alex the Astronaut sing ‘Happy Song’. The festival is aiming to be as green as possible – bring your empty, reusable water bottles – and will cater to all vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dietary requirements across the food stalls and bars. While they’re promising a friendly community vibe, the event is only for people over the age of 18, so don’t forget your ID.
When you’re considering a weekend escape to the vineyard-strewn countryside of the Hunter Valley, you’re not normally also in the market for a bass-heavy dance party. But if you’re as versatile and complex as an age-honeyed pinot gris, we reckon you’ll love Wine Machine. This joyful event will take place on the green grounds the Hunter’s Roche Estate winery, where you’ll be reeling from a full day of the spectacular performances we’ve come to expect from the festival’s master of ceremonies, Hot Dub Time Machine. Party starter and Sydney DJ Tom Loud will send audiences into a nostalgia frenzy with a transfixing audio-visual performance exploring decades of popular music past. The musical time travellers will be joined by a host of modern-day musicians, including lauded dance music pros like the Presets, Hayden James and Confidence Man, and hosted by former Triple j presenter, Alex Dyson. So put your dancing shoes, slug a glass of chardy and get grooving.