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Handa Opera on Sydney HarbourMarch 24 - April 23

Enjoy world-class opera in a spectacular setting.

By Ellie Schneider

This is opera, but not as you’ve ever seen before. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour offers an unforgettable evening of song, dance and fireworks, with the sparkling Sydney Harbour as its backdrop.

Fast Facts

Where: Sydney
When: 24 March - 23 April
Price: $$

Opera Sydney Harbour highlights


Experience the world’s best loved operas
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has become one of the most highly anticipated events on Australia’s cultural calendar. 2017 sees the arrival of Bizet’s well-known opera Carmen, in an original production by Australian theatre director Gale Edwards. A monumental set, colourful costumes inspired by 1950s Hollywood glamour, and powerful Spanish music combine to tell the story of Carmen, a vivacious gypsy girl who seduces men instantly with her charm. The production sets Carmen to mid-20th century Spain and is a must for opera lovers.

See the harbour from a unique perspective
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is located at Mrs Macquaries Point, at the tip of the Royal Botanic Gardens. The stage floats above Sydney Harbour, with a spectacular backdrop that includes the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and city skyscrapers. One of the most brilliant aspects of the open theatre’s design is the housing of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra underneath the stage: they have a complete sound ‘shell’ with the music projected out into the audience via hundreds of hidden speakers.

Drink and dine in style
Essentially a pop-up opera house, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour includes bars and restaurants where you can dine pre-show. These range from cheap and cheerful to fine dining, and will serve delicious Spanish fare to complement the theme of Carmen. For the ultimate indulgence, book the Fiesta Dinner Package, which includes a three-course banquet, interval drinks and tapas, served in the exclusive Platinum Lounge.  


Extend your night and take a short taxi ride from the Botanic Gardens to one of the elegant bars in the city centre after the performance. Palmer & Co is a 1920s-style bar serving an extensive menu of spirits and specialty cocktails. Let the barmen whip you up a Manhattan Cooler – Havana Club aged rum, lemon sherbet, citrus and red wine. And there’s a good selection of charcuterie if you’re hungry.  


By far the most glamorous way to reach the opera is by water taxi: a shuttle service operates from Circular Quay East wharf, Circular Quay West wharf, the wharf near the Park Hyatt Sydney, and Man O’ War Jetty near Sydney Opera House. The closest train station is Circular Quay. A flat fee applies, with bookings essential.