La Bohème on New Year's Eve


La Bohème on New Year's Eve

Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

With the flickering of a candle, love sparks. Two hands meet in the dark and four friends' lives are changed forever.

The way that first love grabs hold of your insides and floods you with something you've never felt before. The fire that burns you the first time jealousy flares. The growing up you do in the instant you realise love can't last forever. Puccini takes these achingly human feelings and sets them to music—music that soars with the ecstacy of love, crackles with the pain of jealousy and cries with the agony of loss.

Some human emotions are too big for words alone, and for that, we have music. La Bohème exposes your soul to the feelings that only music can express, and it opens our season most years because that's an experience everyone should have in their lifetime.

Gale Edwards’ glittering production is set among the fishnets and fairy lights of 1930s bohemian Berlin.

New Year's Eve at Sydney Opera House

Put on some bling, kick up your heels and head out the door. Leave the crowds behind as you stroll towards the sails.

Enjoy drinks or a wonderful meal overlooking Sydney Harbour before you head inside to while away the hours until the festival of fire, watching the romantic La Bohème or a gala concert of opera hits.  

Then watch the fireworks the whole world wants to see from the best vantage point in Sydney—through the glass-fronted sails of the Sydney Opera House. 

We’ve done all the planning for you, so you can relax and enjoy the memories you’re making.

There’s nowhere in the world like Sydney on New Year’s Eve, and there’s nowhere closer to the action than Sydney Opera House.

So go on, make this your most glamorous New Year ever.


Benjamin Northey

Director Gale Edwards
Revival Director Hugh Halliday
Set Designer Brian Thomson
Costume Designer Julie Lynch
Lighting Designer John Rayment
Assistant Director Liesel Badorrek
Mimì Joyce El-Khoury

Ivan Magrì


Anna Princeva

Marcello Samuel Dundas
Colline Taras Berezhansky
Schaunard Shane Lowrencev
Benoît Graeme Macfarlane
Alcindoro Andrew Moran
Officer Clifford Plumpton
Sergeant Malcolm Ede
Parpignol Nara Lee

Opera Australia Orchestra

Opera Australia Chorus

Opera Australia Children's Chorus

Please note: this production contains partial nudity.

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 20 minutes, including one 20-minute interval

Add the Midnight Party when you book your tickets for La Bohème.

Pre-Performance Dinner $399
Midnight Party $349
Platinum Package $1,422 (sold out)

Important Times

Pre-Performance Dinner (5.30pm)

The Northern Foyers of the Concert Hall and the Joan Sutherland Theatre will open for pre-performance dinner patrons at 5pm. Dinner commences at 5.30pm.

Foyers (6.00pm)

The foyers of the Joan Sutherland Theatre will be open from 6pm.

La Bohème (7.45pm)

The performance commences at 7:45pm and runs until 10:30pm, with an interval timed for the 9pm fireworks. Please be aware that this event is very popular, so the Northern Foyer balconies will be crowded during the fireworks.

Midnight Party (10:30pm)

The party commences immediately after the performance in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre and finishes at approximately 1.30am.


Please be aware that this event is very popular, so the balconies will be crowded during the fireworks.

If you don’t have tickets to the Midnight Party, there are a limited number of outdoor viewing areas you'll be able to access following the performance. Please note that these spaces are limited and cannot be guaranteed.

Some fireworks can be viewed from the Southern Foyers inside Sydney Opera House at midnight, but you may not have a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge.


The StoryHide

A poet, a painter, a musician and a philosopher walk into a bar (no really!) to celebrate a sudden windfall in a lean winter. It’s Christmas Eve, and the poet has just felt the first pangs of great love. When a seamstress knocks on his door searching for candlelight, the pair fall in love faster than she can sing, "Yes, they call me Mimì…"

Between the ideals of love and art and the cruel realities of cold winters, bitter jealousies and empty pockets, two sets of lovers are trying to find their way.

By the time the curtain falls, you’ll know the answer to an eternal question:

Is love enough?

Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis.

Act I

It is Christmas Eve. Rodolfo, a poet, and Marcello, a painter, are freezing in their studio. Marcello is painting The Crossing of the Red Sea. Colline, a philosopher, arrives as the fire Rodolfo has lit with one of his manuscripts, flickers and dies. Schaunard brings reinforcements — food, wine and fuel for the fire, bought with unexpected money from his earnings as a musician.

A knock at the door and Benoit, the landlord, arrives demanding the rent. The four Bohemians ply him with wine and then bundle him off. Marcello, Colline and Schaunard go off to join the celebrations at Café Momus. Promising to join them soon, Rodolfo settles down to finish an article he is writing.

There is another knock. This time it is a neighbour, Mimì — a beautiful young seamstress, holding her key and an unlit candle. She begs a light and Rodolfo obliges. Mimì departs and drops her key. Together they search for the key, and their hands touch. They tell each other about themselves and Rodolfo passionately declares his love. The new lovers then set off into the night to join the others.

Act II

The square in which Café Momus is situated is the Bohemians' favourite haunt, bustling with shoppers and hawkers. Rodolfo buys his new love a bonnet.

At the café, Marcello's old flame, Musetta, appears with a new admirer, Alcindoro. To attract Marcello's attention, Musetta bursts into her famous waltz song. Marcello responds and Musetta, pretending that her shoe is pinching, dispatches Alcindoro to a cobbler. She joins in the revelry with Marcello and his friends. When they depart they leave a reminder for the hapless Alcindoro on his return — a huge bill!


It is daybreak just inside a tollgate. Snow lies on the ground. Mimì emerges from the throng of workers. She is looking for Marcello at a nearby inn where he and Musetta have been living for the past month. Pale and agitated, she tells him of Rodolfo's jealousy which has made their life together impossible.

Mimì hides as Rodolfo suddenly appears. He declares her to be unfaithful, but then confides to Marcello that Mimì is very ill and blames himself and his poverty for not being able to help her. Mimì's sudden coughing betrays her presence and the lovers sadly decide it is best that they part.

Their parting duet is interrupted by the sounds of a fierce quarrel between Marcello and Musetta. Mimì and Rodolfo decide to stay together until spring returns.

Act IV

The studio, months later.

Both pairs of lovers have now parted. Mimì and Musetta have found wealthy admirers.  Rodolfo and Marcello feign indifference, but neither can forget the memory of his love. Schaunard and Colline arrive with meagre food and the four sit down to a mock 'banquet'.

While they are acting the fool, Musetta rushes in with news that Mimì is desperately ill and has asked to be brought back to Rodolfo to die. Musetta explains that the Viscount has discarded Mimì and she has been living on the streets for weeks sinking further into poverty and desperation. The Bohemians rally to the cause. Musetta pawns her earrings and Colline his beloved coat to buy medicine for Mimì.

Alone for a short time, Mimì and Rodolfo recall the past, reliving their short spell of happiness and their dreams together. Mimì, seized by a coughing fit, falls back, exhausted. When the others return, she weakly thanks them for their kindness and falls asleep.

It is Schaunard who first notices that Mimì is dead. Rodolfo is the last to realise, by seeing the truth on his friends' faces.

Sydney Opera House Foyers will open from 6pm

We understand that you want to leave plenty of time to arrive at the Sydney Opera House on such a special night, however we suggest you don’t arrive before 4:30pm. The Southern Foyers will be open from 6pm, unless you have booked the pre-performance dinner.

Where do Opera Australia's New Year's Eve events take place at Sydney Opera House?

Take a look at our map of the Sydney Opera House.

Have your tickets ready to show at ticket checkpoints

All patrons should enter via the Macquarie Street checkpoint. Ticket holders are required to show their tickets at security checkpoints to gain access to the Sydney Opera House precinct.

You can collect pre-booked tickets at the Sydney Opera House Box Office marquee on Macquarie Street (up from the checkpoint near Bridge Street) from 10am.

Dress code

While there is no formal dress code for New Year’s Eve, we encourage you to dress up and make a special night of it! A cloak room is available if you wish to check your items.

Security requirements

All bags will be checked at site entry points. Please be prepared to have your bags checked. Prohibited items will be removed. There are facilities to cloak your bags inside the Sydney Opera House.

Public transport is recommended

Public transport is the best way to get around on New Year’s Eve, with main roads closed in the Sydney CBD. Please approach the Sydney Opera House on foot along the eastern side of Macquarie Street. Access may not be available from Circular Quay along the harbour front.

Train: Extra trains will be running to and from the city. The nearest train stations are Martin Place, St James and Wynyard. Please note, trains will not stop at Circular Quay between 6pm and 1am.

Bus: From 2pm to 6pm, Circular Quay services begin and end at Martin Place. From 6pm, temporary bus stops will be in place throughout the city. Extra buses will operate on some routes. Road closures in the city may mean that your bus stop will be moved.

Ferry: Extra services will run until the harbour exclusion zone is in force. During the exclusion zone, ferry services will not run.

Visit for advice and timetables.

If driving, arrive before 10am

Due to the extensive road closures around the city, we don’t recommend driving. If you drive, you must park in the Sydney Opera House car park by 10am on 31 December. You cannot exit the car park until at least 4am or later on 1 January due to road closures surrounding the Sydney Opera House. For Sydney Opera House car park information contact 02 9247 7599.

The nearest taxi rank is near Hyde Park

Taxis cannot be booked to pick up in areas where there are road closures. If you wish to travel home by taxi, the closest secure taxi rank is located approximately a two-kilometre walk from Sydney Opera House, on Liverpool Street, between Wentworth Avenue and Elizabeth Street, south of Hyde Park. Further details at

9pm fireworks

The interval has been specifically timed to coincide with the 9pm fireworks. Ticket holders can access exclusive viewing areas which take in all aspects of the world famous Sydney Harbour fireworks display.

All foyer bars will be operational at interval.

Midnight fireworks

If you are not attending the Midnight Party, there are a limited number of viewing areas you'll be able to access after the performance. Please note that these spaces are limited and cannot be guaranteed. Theatre bars will be open and a range of beverages as well as hot and cold foods will be available to purchase. 

Northern Foyer balconies

Please be aware that this event is very popular, so the balconies will be crowded during the fireworks. 

We warmly welcome patrons with mobility issues, however entry to the Sydney Opera House on New Year’s Eve can be difficult and needs careful prior planning. Any guests with access needs, particularly those with mobility support needs, must contact Sydney Opera House on 02 9250 7777 before the event to help plan their evening at the Sydney Opera House.

Patrons who require information about accessible transport should contact the Sydney New Year’s Eve Accessibility Officer on 02 9265 9333 or nyedisability@cityofsydney.nsw.

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