Island opera

Opera on Cockatoo Island launches in November.

Photography by Opera Australia

06 October 2022


Opera Australia’s brand-new, Sydney-exclusive open-air event launches this November with a gritty new production of Bizet’s much-loved Carmen, giving visitors a thrilling opportunity to experience world-class opera under the stars with stunning harbour views.

Set in the industrial surrounds of Sydney’s historic Cockatoo Island, this edgy production had been created by celebrated director Liesel Badorrek and set and costume designer Mark Thompson.

Premiering on 25 November 2022, this will be an exciting and immersive production of Carmen, with motorbike stunts and nightly fireworks plus music that even first-time opera-goers will recognise and enjoy. This unique Sydney summer experience is an all-inclusive night out, with customised dining offerings and pop-up bars onsite at one of the most unique locations in the city.

The adventure starts and finishes with a leisurely ride on one of Sydney’s famous ferries or water taxis. Guests can arrive early for a tour of the world-heritage-listed island, dotted with industrial relics of its ship-building history and architectural marvels of Sydney’s convict past. Or, just relax by the water and indulge in a beverage and bite to eat while the sun goes down over the harbour.


For a truly memorable experience, stay overnight in one of Cockatoo Island’s many accommodation options; a heritage apartment, holiday house, or camping under the stars surrounded by dramatic cliffs and sweeping harbour views. Presenting one of the world’s most famed operas in the middle of Sydney Harbour is an innovative new addition to Opera Australia’s annual program by OA Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini AM.

“This Carmen will be like none we’ve ever staged before and we’re excited to bring something new to audiences. Complete with some of the world’s best singers, a dance troupe and even a motorbike stunt rider, we invite people who’ve never seen an opera to come along and experience something different.

“Opera Australia is always looking for ways to create awe-inspiring experiences for audiences and this new outdoor venue presents so many new possibilities,” said Terracini.

Minister for the Arts and Tourism Ben Franklin said he was thrilled to see a new event like Opera on Cockatoo Island added to Sydney’s cultural events calendar.

“Experiencing Carmen against the unique industrial backdrop of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cockatoo Island will be a breathtaking experience. This will be a highlight of Sydney’s summer events calendar and a major drawcard for visitors to Sydney,” Franklin said.

“The NSW Government is committed to delivering world-class events like Opera on Cockatoo Island to achieve our goal to make Sydney and NSW the major events capital and premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”

Opera on Cockatoo Island is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

    • Performance tickets: adults from $79 (+ $9.80 booking fee).
    • Ferry tickets: can be booked separately when you purchase performance tickets.
    • Opera Australia Box Office, phone: (02) 9318 8200.



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