Top 10 Sydney Culture On this week 12/01/2020

A poet, a painter, a musician, a philosopher and a hell of a lot of giant puppets.


10) Opera Open Air

18th January

What: Enjoy an artful, elegant evening with a quality performance by Sydney’s opera stars. Gather on the green and be seen, bring to share light bites, wine or cheese to please. Have a blanket, friend or dish if you wish…as you enjoy opera under the stars.

Why: You read the awful rhyme. “Gather on the green and be seen”. Even the organisers of the event know the only reason people see live opera. And it’s not the horny hats.


9) Exhibition Opening – Wansolwara: One Salt Water

16th January

What: Wansolwara: One Salt Water is a series of exhibitions, performances and events from across the Pacific and throughout the Great Ocean. Wansolwara reflects not a single ocean, but rather a connected waterscape and exhibiting artists present customary practices alongside contemporary articulations in moving image, design, writing and art.

Why: A perfect evocation of the unity of artistic practice defined by its complexly intricate variability. As boring in manifestation as it is interesting in potential. You know. Contemporary art.


8) Book Launch – Planet in Peril: Photography, Art and Poetry

18th January

What: The Garden Lounge Creative Space is delighted to launch the new eco-poetic anthology Planet in Peril. There has never been a more critical moment in this planet’s history. Ecosystems and species stand upon the precipice of extinction and await human action. When the sciences and the arts begin to work together, a powerful force is created. This anthology was founded upon the belief that words have the power to change. Through poetry, photography and art, creatives across the globe, from the age of 8 to 80, have united to express the urgency of global warming, facing the facts but never losing hope. “Planet in Peril” combines beautiful photography of endangered species and delicate ecosystems, with poetry designed to increase public awareness of the complex issues surrounding climate change, alongside leading climate change research.

Why: Everything you need in terms of an anecdote to morally and intellectually win any conversation for at least the upcoming two week period.


7) Shrek the Musical

12th January-9th February

What: Shrek the Musical, based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film, brings the hilarious story of everyone’s favourite ogre to life on the stage. Join Shrek, our unlikely hero, and his loyal steed Donkey as they set off on a quest to rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona from her tower, guarded by a fire breathing love-sick dragon. Add the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad, a gang of fairy-tale misfits, and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got an irresistible mix of adventure, laughter and romance, guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages! Featuring a terrific score of 19 songs, big laughs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery, it’s no wonder The New York Times called it ‘True Happiness’ and The Daily Mirror said it’s ‘the most fun you’ll ever have’.

Why: If ‘Smash Mouth as interpreted by musical theatre’ is your version of true happiness, welcome, Satan, we think you’ll really love it here. The weather is right up your alley.


6) Carmen

18th January-26th March

What: In the colourful streets of a colonial city, Carmen is a red hot spark. She sings her siren song, and suddenly, Don José’s world is alight with a volatile fire. This vibrant production features glamorous girls and bullfighting boys in eye-popping colours. There are smugglers in suits, parades and punches, lust and loathing aplenty. Irresistible Spanish tunes include the famous Toreador Song and flirty Habanera. Underneath those infectious rhythms, the dark undercurrent of fate pulses. Carmen knows she is dancing with death. John Bell’s production is a bold look at the intense relationships at the heart of this opera. It hones in on the wild love that promises freedom, while binding the lovers in an unbreakable web of fate.

Why: Carmen. The Beatles’ canon of the opera genre. You won’t get any kudos for having seen it, but you will be judged for not having seen it.


5) Randwick Puppet Festival 

17th-19th January

What: Come and meet the puppets big and small and VERY big when they descend on Randwick for they first ever Randwick Puppet Festival. There are a number of events across three days in three different locations in Randwick.

Why: Your waking nightmare is accessible by the new Sydney metro!


4) La Bohème 

15th-30th January

What: First time at the opera? You can’t go past this dazzling story of friendship and first love in La Bohème. A poet, a painter, a musician and a philosopher walk into a bar 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?

Why: We’ve seen the production at the Opera House, so we can answer that question for you: no. Clearly, love isn’t enough. Not when a single bloody Cornetto costs $10.


3) School of Rock: The Musical 

12th January-16th February

What: After 3 years on Broadway and 2 years on the West End, along with sell-out shows in China and rave reviews from Melbourne, it’s your turn next Sydney to see the show called “Incredibly fun… hilarious and heart-warming” (Beat) and “An unalloyed delight – a slick, family friendly musical with a big rock sound”. (The Age) With a 2019 Helpmann Award nomination under his hat, Brent Hill will be leading the Australian cast in the role of Dewey Finn – a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a supply teacher at a prestigious prep school. Alongside him is Amy Lehpamer, the strict headmistress with a penchant for Stevie Nicks songs and a group of supremely talented young rockers.

Why: We often feel that Jack Black’s irrepressible charm and energy held up the flimsy pretext of School of Rock. But perhaps the man behind “The Jellicle Ball” can provide the necessary believability and charm.


2) Illawarra Folk Festival

16th-19th January

What: The annual Illawarra Folk Festival is four exciting summer days of folk, world, roots, bluegrass, gypsy and Celtic music, as well as poetry, comedy and dance. With superb music from 160 international, national and local artists performing in over 400 concerts there’s also a colourful array of international food stalls, craft stalls and the festival bar. In 2020, the Illawarra Folk Festival will celebrate 35 years of presenting of live music in the Illawarra region.

Why: Because what Australia really needs this summer in a dry, bushy area is more excitement.


1) Flickerfest 

12th-19th January

What: Over 10 thrilling days, Flickerfest, a beloved Sydney summer institution will once again delight audiences with the very best in short films from Australia and around the world, screened under the stars at the iconic Bondi Pavilion in January. A record 3,500 entries from over 100 countries have been received for Flickerfest 2020; a testimony to the fact that Flickerfest is one of the world’s leading and most respected platforms for short film. From this large entry field only around 200 of the very best most creative and inspiring shorts will be screened at the Festival across 17 competitive programmes and four showcase programmes all guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and gasp with delight.

Why: Yes! You’ll laugh, cry and gasp with delight! And that’s only 40% due to the the errant needle full of heroin you just stepped on that you thought was a seashell.

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