Carmen returns for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour in 2017

OA HOSH Carmen photo by James MorganKnown internationally as one the world’s great opera events, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour returns in 2017 with one of the most well-known and loved operas of all time, Bizet’s Carmen.

Take a harbour side setting with an unrivalled view of the famous Sydney skyline. Build a pop-up opera house, complete with bars, restaurants and tiered seating. Add a monumental set, colourful, eye-catching costumes, spectacular dance and an explosion of fireworks, and you’ve got a night like no other.

This is Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: the cultural event of the year. At sunset, gather with friends over a glass of something sparkling and a sumptuous Spanish meal before settling back to enjoy our vivacious, vivid production of Bizet’s Carmen.

“This will be the sixth year we’ve presented Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. It’s an international event where tens of thousands of people fly in to experience an outdoor opera spectacle,” says Lyndon Terracini, Opera Australia Artistic Director. “It’s one of the four most important outdoor opera events in the world now, and people have responded to it incredibly.”

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is made possible due to Dr Haruhisa Handa’s International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC). 2017 marks six years of the partnership.

“Each year, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour thrills new audiences and opera lovers alike,” said Dr Handa. “The International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) is delighted to be involved in an event which brings opera to people in the most spectacular fashion; outdoors, and with the backdrop of Sydney Harbour.”

This original production by Gale Edwards brings Carmen to mid-20th century Spain and it certainly packs a punch. One of Australia’s most daring set designers, Brian Thomson brings a magic set design to the harbour-top stage for Carmen. Award-winning costume designer, Julie Lynch is responsible for the lavish costume designs inspired by 1950’s Hollywood glamour with a Spanish flourish.

Carmen stamps her feet, tosses back her hair and draws you into her world. Men fall instantly under her spell, and once you’ve heard her sultry Habanera, you’ll fall for opera’s favourite femme fatale, too.

Some of the world’s most outstanding singers sing some of the most famous music ever written, filling the night air with Spanish rhythms and fiery passion. Soldier’s patrol, factory girls seduce shamelessly, glittering bullfighter’s parade and dancer’s pirouette their way across the stage as the captivating Carmen walks fearlessly towards a fate written in the cards.

The custom-built site has an impressive range of dining and drinking options that make the most of the magnificent harbour views and nightly fireworks. The stunning ‘Platinum Club’ – a pop up dining room, bar and lounge set amongst the tree tops – offers fine dining before the show, high tea and drinks at interval and as well as post performance drinks.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen will run from 24 March – 23 April 2017. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday 2 June 2016. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Kate Wormald in Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen (2013) – photo by James Morgan