Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Artist. Rebel. Icon.
He burst onto the international art scene, all golden curls and bravado. He was dynamic, damaged, a big idea and a bold brush. With the vivacious Wendy on his arm, Brett Whiteley was magnetic.
He abhorred straight lines, adored drugs, alcohol, women. He worked in vivid colour and ravishing curves. Heroin was both muse and merciless master. Out of this tumultuous life spilled a messy array of brilliant artworks and astonishing self-reflection.
In 2019, this Australian icon meets two of Australia’s greatest artists in a brand new work for the Australian stage: Whiteley, by Elena Kats-Chernin and Justin Fleming.
Kats-Chernin is peerless among contemporary composers, celebrated for her enormous output and music that bursts with colour, life and tenderness. Fleming is a respected playwright and librettist whose work is renowned for its warmth, wit and poignancy.
Together they’ve created an opera to honour the life and work of a man who could not extricate his talent from his demons.
Production designer Dan Potra’s technology-driven set is an immersive world created from Whiteley’s most famous paintings. Experience the works of a modern master on moving, larger-than-life screens.
Enjoy dinner before the opera 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 $69, including a glass of Bandini Prosecco on arrival. View the menu.
Simply add dinner to your cart after selecting tickets. If you already have tickets, simply sign in to your account and go to 'upcoming performances' to add a dinner reservation.
Subscribe to the opera in 2019 and come with us on an inspiring journey...
Explore a season full of highlights, charting a course through love and passion and despair (this is opera, after all). You can laugh and revel in extraordinary talent, or gasp your way through ghost stories. Our 2019 season leaves no corner unexplored. Choose three or more productions to unlock a subscriber discount, along with exclusive benefits throughout the year.
|Composed by||Elena Kats-Chernin AO|
|Libretto by||Justin Fleming|
|Production Designer||Dan Potra|
|Lighting Designer||John Rayment|
|Digital Content||Sean Nieuwenhuis|
|Fight Choreographer||Tim Dashwood|
|Brett Whiteley||Leigh Melrose|
|Wendy Whiteley||Julie Lea Goodwin|
|Younger Arkie Whiteley||Natasha Green|
|Older Arkie Whiteley||Kate Amos|
|Beryl Whiteley||Dominica Matthews|
|Joel Elenberg||Richard Anderson|
|Dark Figure/Michael Driscoll||Nicholas Jones|
|Patrick White||Gregory Brown|
|Robert Hughes||Alexander Hargreaves|
|Bryan Robertson||Tomas Dalton|
|John Rothenstein||Jonathan Alley|
|Frank Lloyd||Brad Cooper|
|Anna Schwartz||Leah Thomas|
|Biennale Judge||Ruth Strutt|
|Fijian Backpacker||Celeste Lazarenko|
|Fijian Police Officer||Sitiveni Talei|
Running time: approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes, including one interval.
Brett Whiteley (Australia; England, b.1939, d.1992)
Self portrait in the studio 1976
oil, collage, hair on canvas, 200.5 x 259 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales
© Wendy Whiteley
Photo: AGNSW, Christopher Snee
Opera Australia acknowledges that Ashleigh Wilson’s book, “Brett Whiteley Art, Life and the Other Thing” (Text Publishing, 2016) has been used as a reference in the creation of this opera.
Proudly supported by
The Whiteley Donor Circle
Dinner at Overture Dining in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre
Allow us to make your dinner reservation for you: 5:30pm at Overture Dining in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre.
You'll be served a themed three-course menu for just $69, including a glass of Viticoltori Ponte Prosecco on arrival. Simply add dinner to your cart after selecting your tickets.
A glass of Viticoltori Ponte Prosecco
Warm bread roll, pepe saya butter (gluten free available)
Escabeche of Fremantle octopus, charred corn and chilli salsa GF, DF
Pumpkin and coconut soup with coriander, lemongrass and lime leaf V, GF, DF
Roasted chicken breast with truffle polenta, cauliflower and hazelnut crumble GF, NF
Large purple eggplant with miso glaze, humus and fried chickpeas V, GF, DF
Salad of baby cos, radicchio, orange and citrus vinaigrette ($7, available on request)
Poached turmeric spiced pear, vanilla rice pudding and coconut crumble V, GF
Published menu is subject to change without notice. Specific dietary requirements can be accommodated on request with 48 hours notice; please send us an email after booking.