Watch an incredible outdoor opera performance under the lights of Sydney Harbour.
By Ellie Schneider and Joleen Booth
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.
- Where: Sydney
- When: March - April 2020
- Show Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (approximately)
- Price: $$
How to get there
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.
Things to do at Handa Opera on the Harbour
Experience the world’s best loved operas and shows
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has become one of the most highly anticipated events on Australia’s cultural calendar. In 2019 for the first time, the sounds of Broadway rang out across Sydney harbour, when West Side Story took the iconic floating stage. The program for 2020 has yet to be announced, but keeping checking in for the program so you don't miss out. Seating is limited, and many international guests travel to Sydney for the event.
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. Arrive early to watch the sun set over the harbour with a glass of champagne. The site opens from 5pm.
Make a night of it
Extend your night and take a short taxi ride from the Botanic Gardens to one of the elegant restaurants or bars in the city centre after the performance. Till midnight dine on modern Cantonese served in a lavish French-colonial setting at Mr Wong. Then head next door to Palmer & Co, 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 still hungry.