Cockatoo hosts Carmen

The sun burst through to welcome Carmen on her opening night at Cockatoo Island.

08 December 2022


What a way to see an Opera: a ferry ride, a drink and a snack looking out over the Harbour Bridge and a stroll amongst history.

Who would have thought an opera would begin with the sounds of revving motorcycles? The sound followed various wheelies on stage that combined with a set of old oil drums, milk crates in rainbow colours and old cars to create a grungy feel. There really is something here for everyone from a classic rock playlist, colourful costumes and fireworks closer than most have ever seen on Sydney Harbour.

Costumes are my thing, and Mark Thompson created something more at home in a psychedelic 80s pop video. It was divine and complemented the delivery of Carmen’s song in Act Two, which was sung from what could have been a night club stage with two backing vocalists just below.


The surrounding sounds of seagulls who wanted to get in on the act and a passing disco boat added to the rock and roll feel of the opera.

Carmen was played by Carmen Topciu on opening night. (Her parents must have been able to see into the future.) Danita Weatherstone was wonderful as Micaela. They were complemented by the male soloists of Roberto Aronica as Don Jose and Escamillo played by Daniel Sumegi, who was reminiscent of Billy Mack in Love Actually. His delivery of Toreador Song was a highlight, and he had many groupies on stage (in the cast) – one even throwing their underwear at him. (Definitely something for everyone, here.)

The chorus was excellent in their bright streetwear and cigarettes and worked well with the edgy dancers.

Carmen on Cockatoo Island is a spectacle, and whether you love or hate opera, you will be entertained on arguably the world’s best harbour with a chardy in hand and a parcel of hot chips in true Aussie fashion – the epitome of a brilliant night out in Sydney.



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