ARETHA – A Love Letter to the Queen of Soul

SOH ArethaA powerful memoir that celebrates the life and music of one of the greatest voices in history, ARETHA will have its world premiere in the Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall on 17 and 18 June.

Through soulful storytelling, this unforgettable night of music and memories will honour the legacy of global superstar Aretha Franklin, who broke down barriers and paved the way for generations to come.

In a showcase of 32 songs and spoken narration, it will chart not only her music but the ups and downs of the Queen of Soul’s extraordinary career – from her early gospel roots and rise to fame, to her legendary hits and lasting impact on music.

Narrated and directed by multi-talented First Nations actor Jada Alberts (Wentworth, Cleverman), with musical direction by Joe Accaria (Velvet Rewired), ARETHA features a line-up of outstanding Australian vocalists:

  • Emma Donovan – legendary ARIA-nominated, award-winning, Gumbaynggirr and Yamatji singer/songwriter;
  • Montaigne – celebrated singer/songwriter and unique art pop musician, who has evolved from young indie leader to one of Australia’s most individual and dynamic voices;
  • Thandi Phoenix – a vocal powerhouse with a unique tone, magnetic energy and commanding stage presence, Thandi has both a deep love of electronic music and artistic beginnings rooted in soul and R&B;
  • THNDO – actor and singer/songwriter with range so rich and delivery so buttery and soulful she’s considered Australia’s ‘First Lady of Soul and R&B’; and
  • Ursula Yovich – multi award-winning actor, singer and writer who starred in Belvoir’s Barbara and the Camp Dogs and is a recipient of The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award.

“The spirit and fire behind Aretha Franklin’s voice earned her many accolades over the years, from 18 Grammy awards, to more than 75 million records sold and even taking the crown as number one on the Rolling Stone’s recent Greatest Singers of All Time,” said Sydney Opera House Head of Contemporary Performance, Ebony Bott.

“Her music connects so genuinely with audiences – we’ve all experienced heartbreak, longing, and love through her voice and lyrics. ARETHA promises to bring this together in an incredible evening of entertainment that pays homage to the icon, her extraordinary catalogue of songs and gets audiences on their feet.”

ARETHA – A Love Letter to the Queen of Soul
Concert Hall – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Performances: 17 & 18 June 2023
Information and Bookings:

ARETHA will also be presented Concert Hall – QPAC, Brisbane (20 & 21 June) and Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne (2 July).

Image: Aretha Franklin (supplied)