Carmen on Sydney Harbour


Carmen on Sydney Harbour

Opera on Sydney Harbour, Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point


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.

Take a harbourside 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 as dusk settles over the harbour.

Powerful voices sing those famous Spanish tunes, filling the night air with Spanish rhythms and fiery passion. Soldiers patrol, factory girls seduce shamelessly, glittering bullfighters parade and dancers pirouette their way across the stage as the captivating Carmen walks fearlessly towards a fate written in the cards.

Travelling to Carmen on Sydney Harbour?

Qantas Holidays have domestic travel packages available from $290* per person, twin share.
* Price correct at 3 February 2017. See for full terms and conditions.

CANCELLED PERFORMANCE: Thursday 30 March 2017

The performance of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour — Carmen on Thursday 30 March 2017 was cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. Ticket holders have the opportunity to exchange into a future performance of Carmen on Sydney Harbour or receive a refund for the ticket purchase price. To arrange your exchange or refund, please contact the customer service centre where your tickets were originally puchased: Opera Australia 02 9318 8200 | Ticketmaster 1300 723 038 | Sydney Opera House 02 9250 7777.

Conductor Brian Castles-Onion
Director Gale Edwards
Revival Director Andy Morton
Assistant Director Trent Kidd
Set Designer Brian Thomson
Costume Designer Julie Lynch
Lighting Desinger John Rayment
Sound Designer Tony David Cray
Choreographer Kelley Abbey
Fight Choreographer Nigel Poulton
Carmen Josè Maria Lo Monaco *
  Sian Pendry †
Don José Andeka Gorrotxategi *
  Arnold Rutkowski †
Escamillo Luke Gabbedy *
  Michael Honeyman †
Micaëla Natalie Aroyan *
  Stacey Alleaume †
Frasquita Jane Ede
Mercédès Margaret Trubiano
Remendado Nicholas Jones
Dancairo Christoper Hillier
Zuniga Adrian Tamburini
Moralès Simon Meadows

Opera Australia Chorus

Opera Australia Orchestra

* 24, 26, 29, 31 March; 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 18, 20, 22 April

† 25, 28, 30 March; 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 16, 19, 21, 23 April

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 45 minutes, including one 35-minute interval.


Strategic Partners

Destination NSW

Principal Partner

 Event Partner


Opera Australia Principal Partner


Opera Australia Government Partners

Australia Council & Arts NSW logo




Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour thanks its partners 

The StoryHide

Small-town boy Don José is serving with the army far from home. His fellow soldiers — indeed the whole town — are captivated by the strange allure of a gypsy woman, Carmen. He thinks only of home, his mother, and the pretty Micaëla, a young girl who comes to deliver a letter from home.

Carmen has no patience for the men that fawn at her feet, but she is intrigued by the shy Don José.

Arrested for beginning a fight, Carmen seduces Don José to win her freedom, and convinces him to desert the army to join her in the gypsy life of liberty.

But her wandering eye has already found another lover: the dashing bullfighter, Escamillo.

Don José’s jealousy is fierce, Escamillo’s passion is determined, Carmen’s fate is set in the cards…

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is located at Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney.

Venue map (pdf)

Surrounding Area map (pdf)

When walking from the train, bus, or ferry remember that access to the venue via the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is only possible prior to 6:30pm in March and 6pm in April.

Mrs Macquaries Road, leading into the venue, is likely to experience traffic congestion. We highly recommend avoiding this road by catching public transport or parking in surrounding car parks and then catching our free shuttle bus.  Or, be delivered right to the Point in style by catching a water taxi.

Public transport

When walking from the train/bus remember that access to the venue via the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is only possible prior to 6:30pm in March and 6pm in April. After this time, the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is closed from all entrances and not possible to walk through.

The nearest train stations are:

St James: approximately a 16-minute walk* (1.3 km)

Martin Place: approximately an 18-minute walk* (1.5 km)

Circular Quay: approximately a 29-minute walk* (2.3 km)

*These linked maps and estimated walk times use routes outside of The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. If you're walking before the Garden gates close (prior to 6.30pm in March and 6pm in April), using a route through the Garden will save time.  

Bus route 200 stops on Macquarie Street. View the timetable.

All schedules, times and dates can be viewed at the


The Domain Car Park is the closest car park. The car park will be open until 1am during the performance season. A free shuttle bus is available to guests who park in the Domain Car Park (see details below). Parking spots for those with mobility parking scheme permits are located at the northern end of the ground floor.

You can book a bay at The Domain Car Park before you arrive*. Enjoy a 20% discount when you pre-book online with the promo code OPERAAUS.

There is metered parking along Mrs Macquaries Road, Hospital Road and Macquarie Street. Meters accept cash, credit card or payment by mobile phone.

Art Gallery Road, leading into the venue, is likely to experience traffic congestion. We highly recommend arranging an alternative drop off/meeting point.

* Discount rates only apply when you pre-book online or with the app at The Domain Car Park only. Bookings will need to be made more than 20 minutes prior to entering the car park. Night parking is between the hours of 6pm and 12am. Weekend parking is from 6am–11:30pm. Casual parking rates apply if booking conditions are not met. Click here for a full list of FAQs or contact customer care on 1800 727 546.

Complimentary shuttle bus (wheelchair accessible)

The pre-performance shuttle service starts at 4:30pm and runs on a loop from the Domain Car Park (departing from Sir John Young Crescent on the ground floor) to the venue entrance on Mrs Macquaries Road. The shuttle ride takes approximately 5 minutes, depending on traffic. The pre-performance shuttle bus does not stop at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The post-performance shuttle service starts from 8:45pm and runs until midnight, or until the last patron has left, and stops at both the Art Gallery of NSW and the Domain Car Park.

View shuttle bus drop-off and pick-up points (pdf)

View shuttle pick-up point at the Domain Car Park (pdf)

The Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour shuttle bus departs from the ground floor of the Domain Car Park and is wheelchair accessible.

Water taxi

Water taxis run a special service during the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour performance season.

Water taxis will depart regularly from Man O'War Jetty (next to Sydney Opera House) from 4.30pm until 7.30pm* and drop off at The Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay, which is a 3-minute walk to the venue. Please note there is a number of stairs leading up from the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool wharf to the performance venue. 

After the performance, taxis will recommence for the return trip and make an additional drop-off stop only at Circular Quay. Tickets are $10 each way.

* This is a latecomers service and will get you to the venue AFTER the start of the performance. Note that patrons arriving late will not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance. This break may not be until interval. Patrons who are late may not be seated in their allocated seat.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is an open-air and all-weather event

The venue, audience seating, and the stage are completely uncovered. The event is an all-weather experience and Opera Australia is committed to going ahead with a performance of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour even in doubtful or unfavourable weather conditions. Please come prepared so that you are as comfortable as possible, and ready to support the performers, who will carry on singing in the rain.

Bring warm and waterproof clothing

Sydney weather is full of surprises so we recommend that you dress with this in mind and bring warm, weatherproof clothing. Please note that although umbrellas can be brought to the venue, out of consideration for other members of the audience they cannot be used during the performance.


Ponchos will be available to purchase at the event for $5.00. We'll be selling the Biowear Eco Poncho. Made of corn, soy, and sunflower starches, these ponchos are biodegradable. Once disposed of, the poncho takes about a year to break down and become a protein of the ecosystem. We'll be donating any profit from the sale of ponchos to Clean Up Australia.

Performance pauses and cancellations

We will only cancel a performance during electrical storms (within 10km radius) or during times of extremely high winds and/or rain. The decision to cancel a performance is not made until 7.30pm or later and a cancellation may be called during the performance.  So please plan to travel to the venue for a 7.30pm performance start time even in unfavourable weather conditions.

In some weather conditions Carmen may have a delayed start time or be paused for up to 50 minutes at any point throughout the performance.

Auxiliary expenses including travel, accommodation or hospitality which you have arranged in conjunction with the performance are at your own risk and not refundable by Opera Australia.

See full terms and conditions

The site opens at 5pm. Plan to arrive early and savour a drink and something delicious while you watch the sun set over the harbour.

Five different restaurant and bar areas on site serve a range of foods to suit every appetite and budget, featuring the flavours of Spain’s diverse regions.

Choose from:

Platinum Club

The Platinum Club is pop-up dining at its finest: an undercover restaurant and bar with spectacular views overlooking Sydney Harbour. The Club offers sit-down set-menu dining, a buffet, a dessert plate at interval and an interval drink option. Reservations are essential. See the menus on offer

Northern Terrace

Enjoy the delicious drama of paella cooked right in front of you over open flame. The Northern Terrace offers small bites and salads as well as vegetarian, seafood and chicken paella options. Dine with some of the best views on site as a backdrop. See the menu

Southern Terrace

Relax over drinks and a wide selection of tapas plates (small dishes of Spanish favourites designed to share). Three dishes start at a set price of $16. See the menu

Northern Cantina

Cafe-style dining on the waterfront, serving share plates, substantial mains and desserts. See the menu

Qantas Garden Bar

Small bites, street food and drinks beside the sea. See the menu

Sparkling & Oyster Bars

Sweet and savoury delicacies, including oysters and sparkling wine are available from satellite carts throughout the venue. See the menu

Please don't bring a picnic. Only food and beverages purchased on site can be consumed within the venue.

Drink and dine at the Platinum Club at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: an undercover restaurant and bar with spectacular views overlooking Sydney Harbour.

This is pop-up dining at its best: exclusive gourmet menus, table waiters, Tyrrell’s wines and dedicated restrooms. 

Celebrate a luxurious evening for two or host an impressive night out with clients at the Platinum Club.

Pre-book your perfect dining experience:

PRE-PERFORMANCE DINNER $245 (from 5.30pm)

Indulge in three courses of mouth-watering Spanish delights, designed and prepared by the Platinum Club’s award-winning chefs. Each course is served with premium Tyrrell’s Wines. View the full menu.


Try a bit of everything from a buffet laden with cured and smoked meats, empanada pastries, Spanish salads and delectable sweets. Waiters are on hand to top up your glass of select Tyrrell’s wines. This is a good value option to experience a range of Spanish flavours in the luxury of the Platinum Club. View the full menu.


Make a sweet retreat to the Platinum Club during interval for a delectable spread of Spanish-inspired desserts, paired with a glass of Tyrrell’s sparkling wine. View the full menu.


Feel like a celebrity as you waltz past the bar queues - you’re heading straight to the Platinum Club. Kick back with a glass of Tyrrell’s wine against the spectacular backdrop of Sydney Harbour. The Platinum Club Bar has an exclusive menu of beverages and snack items available for purchase.


New Bookings: Simply add your dining or drinks selection to your cart after choosing your tickets to Carmen on Sydney Harbour.

Existing Bookings: sign in to your account and go to your 'Upcoming Performances' to add pre-show dining or interval drinks or phone our box office on 02 9318 8200.

Handa Opera in Sydney Harbour has wheelchair locations, companion seats and level access seats available. 

Wheelchair accessible seats

Customers requiring wheelchair and/or companion seating should contact the Ticketing Services Office on +61 2 9318 8200, Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm. Wheelchair locations and companion seats are in sections F, G and H, Row JJ.

Level access seats

The best seats for mobility impaired audience members (who are not bound to a wheelchair) are in the first 5 rows of sections A-E. The path to these seats is downhill to seats in row 1 and then up a few stairs to seats in higher rows. On the way out, the path is back uphill and mobility impaired patrons should consider requesting the use of a wheelchair (subject to availability) and assistance in exiting the venue. Wheelchairs provided by Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour will be made available to mobilise patrons around the site, however due to limited availability, cannot be made available for patrons to stay seated in.

If you require the use of a wheelchair, please contact Front of House staff at the Box Office upon your arrival. Please also note that whilst Front-of-House do their very best to move patrons promptly, patrons requiring assistance exiting the venue may experience delays. 

Each day Carmen on Sydney Harbour is performed, 45 tickets only will go on sale for $45 at 4.00pm at the Box Office at Mrs Macquaries Point.

These tickets are available on the day of performance in person only at the Mrs Macquaries Point box office. If you miss out on $45 tickets, you’ll still be able to purchase any remaining seats at their normal price.

Seats may be restricted view. No booking fee applies. There is a limit of two tickets per person.

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