HANDA OPERA ON SYDNEY HARBOUR
When the heroic top notes of ‘Nessun dorma’ ring out, your soul stirs. It's impossible to resist — the climax of an exotic adventure, captured perfectly in music.
In 2016, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour presents Turandot: a story of a death-marked love told with salt in the air, light on the sails and the city skyline reflected in your glass. It's the best of Sydney in a single evening: singing, sunsets and sparkling wine, in perfect harmony. Join us at the water’s edge in a pop-up opera house with purpose-built bars, restaurants and a grandstand under the stars.
Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng's take on this Chinese fable will be one for the history books.
As a child of the Cultural Revolution, Chen Shi-Zheng grew up in a China where cruelty and beauty coexisted. Taken in by a Chinese opera troupe, he grew up surrounded by music, but witnessed great suffering. It’s a duality he finds utterly compelling, and a juxtaposition that ties in perfectly with the ice-hearted, impossibly beautiful princess at the heart of Puccini's Turandot.
As a director, his work forms a bridge between Chinese and Western artistic approaches, drawing on the Hollywood film tradition, theatrical acrobatics and traditional Chinese opera to create works that thrill visually and cut to the heart.
A powerful lust meets an icy heart.
In a land of executioners, riddles and fear, can love conquer death?
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Watch the trailer for Turandot on Sydney Harbour
Listen to 'Nessun dorma' from Turandot
Constructing a dragon for Turandot on Sydney Harbour
Dan Potra's costume design sketches for Turandot
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: the experience
|Director & Choreographer||Chen Shi-Zheng|
|Set & Costume Designer||Dan Potra|
|Lighting Designer||Scott Zielinski|
|Video Designer||Leigh Sachwitz / flora&faunavisions|
|Sound Designer||Tony David Cray|
|Site Designer||Adrienn Lord|
* March 24, 27, 29, 31; April 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23.
† March 26, 30; April 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24.
Running time: approximately 2 hours & 20 minutes, including one 35-minute interval.
Performed in Italian with English and simplified Chinese subtitles.
Opera Australia Principal Partner
Opera Australia Government Partners
"The ultimate Sydney experience."
"From tree-top restaurants with delicious food; to lantern-lit eating areas; to the view of the stage and Sydney Harbour, be swept out of the reality and into a magical world."
"A bold, sumptuous vision"
Sydney Morning Herald
Turandot is a beautiful and brutal princess, who challenges her many suitors to answer three riddles on pain of death. No one has ever succeeded.
Calaf is a brave, selfish prince from a different land, who watches the princess behead a rival suitor and falls instantly in love.
Despite the wishes of his exiled father and the pleas of a slave-girl who loves him, he rings the gong and declares his suit to the princess.
She presents her riddles, and in triumph, the unknown prince answers. Turandot despairs and the prince takes pity – offering the ice-cold princess a riddle of his own. But Calaf’s riddle risks more than his own life – everyone else’s hangs in the balance.
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.
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 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 transportnsw.info.
The Domain Car
Park is the closest undercover car park. From 4:30pm, a flat rate of $10
applies. The carpark will be open until 1am during the performance season. A free
shuttle bus is available to guests who park in the Domain Car Park. Parking spots
for those with disability parking permits are located at the northern end of the ground
There is metered parking along Mrs Macquaries Road, Hospital Road and Macquarie Street. Meters accept cash, credit card or payment by mobile phone. You need to register to pay with your mobile phone at mpark.com.au.
Art Gallery Road, leading into the venue, is likely to experience traffic congestion. We highly recommend arranging an alternative drop off/meeting point.
The pre-performance shuttle service starts at 4:30pm until 7:30pm and loops from
the Domain Car Park (departing from Sir John Young Crescent on the ground floor) to
the venue entrance on Mrs Macquaries Road.
The post-performance shuttle service starts from 10:15pm until midnight and stops at both the Art Gallery of NSW and the Domain Car Park.
The Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour shuttle bus departs from the ground floor of the Domain Car Park and is wheelchair accessible.
Yellow Water Taxis run a special service during the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour performance season.
Taxis will depart regularly from pick up points at Man O'War Jetty (next to Sydney Opera House) and Milsons Point, 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. After the performance, taxis will recommence at 10:15pm for the return trip and make an additional drop-off stop only at Circular Quay. Tickets are $10 each way.
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.
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 Turandot 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.
There are five bar and restaurant areas at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. This year, complementing Turandot, they will serve food inspired by the flavours of China. The site opens at 5pm so that you enjoy a drink and some food while you watch the sun set over the harbour.
The Platinum Club
The Platinum Club is pop-up dining at its most magnificent: an undercover restaurant and bar with spectacular views overlooking Sydney Harbour. Pre-performance and interval options are available. Reservations required.
Northern Cantina, Northern and Southern Terraces, Qantas Garden Bar
These informal bar and dining areas will serve a range of food options. No need to pre-book, just purchase on the night.
Please don't bring a picnic. Only food and beverages purchased on site can be consumed within the venue.
The Platinum Club at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is an undercover restaurant and bar with spectacular views overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Sheltered from the elements while still enjoying the open night air, guests will enjoy pop-up dining at its most magnificent. Platinum Club guests enjoy menus not available elsewhere on site and beat the queues with dedicated wait staff and restroom facilities. In 2016 the Club offers an even greater range of options, so whether it’s a luxurious evening for two, or a night out with clients, pre-book the Platinum Club to choose your perfect dining experience.
Select from these pre-performance and interval options:
PRE-PERFORMANCE RESTAURANT $235 (from 5.30pm)
A three-course dinner highlighting the culinary range of northern China, prepared by The Platinum Club’s award-winning chefs and served with premium Tyrrell’s Wines. Start with a Tasting Plate, select a main from options including braised wagyu beef shortrib and finish with a Chinese inspired dessert of fresh cumquat and lychee flavours. View the full menu.
PRE-PERFORMANCE SIGNATURE BUFFET $125 (from 6pm)
Enjoy Tyrrell’s Wines with a delicious signature buffet offering a range of reinvented Chinese salads, hot dishes and sweets. View the full menu.
INTERVAL DESSERT HIGH TEA $60
Retreat to the Platinum Club restaurant and enjoy an oriental inspired High Tea with a glass of sparkling wine. View the full menu.
INTERVAL DRINK $25
Beat the interval queues with exclusive access to the Platinum Club including your choice of a beverage on arrival. 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 Turandot 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. Assistance should be booked by contacting the Ticketing Services Office on +61 2 9318 8200, Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm. Any wheelchair 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.
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.
What happens if I lose something while I’m at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour?
If you drop something when you are on the grandstand, it is likely the item will slip and fall down below the grandstand.
Please take extra care with your possessions, and if you do drop something, take note of your seat location to help Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour staff retrieve it for you.
You can report lost property at the Information Concierge Desk located in the Qantas Garden Bar, or call Customer Service during business hours on 02 9318 8200.
Can I bring a picnic to the venue?
No. The Opera on Sydney Harbour venue includes five Fresh Catering dining venues, and like any restaurant, you can't bring your own food and drink.
Fresh Catering Executive Chef Geoff Haviland has developed a Chinese-inspired menu for Turandot. A variety of options will be available across five dining venues, including the Platinum Club, with vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options available.
Will the performance go ahead if it looks like it’s going to rain?
Yes. This is an open-air venue, with a limited season. We are committed to going ahead with a performance of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour even in doubtful weather conditions. Please bring warm and weatherproof clothing. Read more about our wet weather policy.
What happens if I arrive after the performance has commenced (7.30pm)?
For the comfort and convenience of all patrons, latecomers can only be admitted into the outdoor auditorium during a suitable break in the performance. This may not be until the first interval. If a suitable break prior to interval is identified, latecomers may not be seated in their ticketed seats, but in other seating where minimal disruption will be caused to other audience members. This is at the discretion of venue staff.
Ticket refunds or exchanges are not available on the basis of late arrival.
What happens if I arrive late to dinner in the Platinum Club?
Late dinner guests will be served as much of the meal as time allows, subject to arrival time. Guests who arrive later than 6.45pm may not be served, and pre-purchased dining and beverage packages cannot be refunded or exchanged on the basis of late arrival or no-show.
Dessert may be served during interval, however this is at the discretion of our restaurant staff. Beverages during interval are no longer included but will be available for purchase.