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Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point, Sydney


Sung in Italian, with English surtitles

Running time

approximately 2 hours & 30 minutes, including one interval

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Duty! Youth! Honour! Beauty!

Ernani is an outlaw, ready to fight for his honour and die for his ideals. But our hero is caught in a love quadrangle. Can he win the hand of the beautiful Elvira, who is already promised to her elderly uncle de Silva and coveted by the King of Spain?

This opera has intrigue, disguise, betrayal and adventure, like all the best medieval tales. Love can triumph over almost anything, but in this story with a surprising ending, honour has the final say.

Ernani was Verdi’s fifth opera. Seventy years after its premiere, it became the first complete opera ever recorded. That’s testament to the rousing music. You’ll hear all the composer’s trademark colours on display: passionate choruses, emotional arias and flawless ensemble writing.

In this co-production with La Scala, director Sven-Eric Bechtolf embraces the melodrama of the story and creates a play within a play. It’s an excuse for lavish period costumes, masks and headdresses.

Verdi specialist Renato Palumbo conducts the stunning score. We’ve assembled an exciting cast, led by Diego Torre as the brave Ernani and Natalie Aroyan as Elvira. Baritone Vladimir Stoyanov sings the role of the King of Spain, with Vitalij Kowaljow as Elvira’s Uncle.

Co-production by Teatro alla Scala and Opera Australia.

Cast & Creative

Revival Director
Scenic Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Video Designer
Assistant Director
Don Carlo, King of Spain
Don Ruy Gomez de Silva
Don Riccardo

Opera Australia Orchestra & Opera Australia Chorus

A performance of Ernani at La Scala Opera House in Milan

Cheat Sheet: Ernani

Everything you need to know about this medieval melodrama.

What happens in the story? Who was the composer? What should I expect from the music? Here’s everything you need to know…

Read the Cheat Sheet

The Story

Elvira is young, beautiful, and promised to her elderly uncle Silva in marriage. But she is in love with the brave outlaw, Ernani. They plan to elope. To complicate matters, the King of Spain, Don Carlo, is also in love with Elvira. Oh, and Ernani is plotting to kill the King, whose father killed his father.

Ernani arrives at the castle in disguise, fleeing from the King, who has discovered his plot…

In a world where a man would rather die than lose his honour, can anyone find their happily ever after?

Duty! Youth! Honour! Beauty!

Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis
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Keeping you safe at the theatre

COVID Safety at Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House and its food and beverage venues are registered as COVID Safe businesses with the NSW Government. To ensure a safe and comfortable environment for everyone, the Opera House has made some changes to the way it operates.

Read our plan

Enjoy dinner before the opera

Overture Dining at Sydney Opera House

Allow us to make your dinner reservation for you: 6pm at Overture Dining in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre. You’ll be served a themed three-course menu for just $75, including a glass of NV First Creek ‘Botanica’ Sparkling Cuvee on arrival.

See the menu

Ernani at La Scala (2018)

Photo: Brescia e Amisano

Ernani at La Scala (2018)

Photo: Brescia e Amisano

Ernani at La Scala (2018)

Photo: Brescia e Amisano

Ernani at La Scala (2018)

Photo: Brescia e Amisano

Ernani at La Scala (2018)

Photo: Brescia e Amisano

Ernani at La Scala (2018)

Photo: Brescia e Amisano

Ernani at La Scala (2018)

Photo: Brescia e Amisano