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Sydney Opera House switches on the ultimate Vivid destination

May 10, 2016 Whats On No Comments Email Email

unnamed (3)Pop-up pool halls, special menus, Forecourt lights and backstage nights: Vivid LIVE will transform every part of the Sydney Opera House during Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas from 27 May to 18 June.

Inside, the world’s greatest contemporary music artists will play on the stages. Outside, the groundbreaking Songlines will showcase ancient Aboriginal stories on the sails. Everywhere, visitors to the Opera House site will be able to eat, drink and explore, bathed in the glow of this soaring animated art piece directed by the Opera House’s Head of Indigenous Programming,Rhoda Roberts.

In keeping with this year’s stunning Lighting the Sails, restaurants across the Opera House will celebrate Australia’s rich culinary heritage, from fingerlimes, lemon myrtle and strawberry gum to locally sourced oysters and yabbies.

Exclusive Vivid LIVE guided tours and VIP backstage experiences will be available each evening, offering visitors the chance to discover the Opera House’s famous theatres and spaces before taking in the illuminated sights around the Sydney Harbour.

For the first time, the Opera House Forecourt will also become part of the citywide Vivid Light Walk, with a very special installation, Flurry. The interactive space uses LED lighting to make the public the performer, their presence triggering light effects within a structure they can walk through to the illuminated water’s edge.

Meanwhile, the Deep Purple Pool Hall is back for ten nights only in the Concert Hall Northern Foyer. This hidden, harbourside speakeasy, equal parts dive bar and cantina, invites visitors to soak up the very special atmosphere of Vivid LIVE.


Director of Visitor Experiences, Jade McKellar said: “The Opera House is such a well-loved part of Vivid Sydney. To celebrate this year’s special Lighting of the Sails, we wanted to go one step further by creating the ultimate destination for people to experience this world-renowned winter festival.

“From pioneering contemporary music to ground-breaking indigenous art and interactive lighting installations, the Opera House will offer incredible artistic experiences combined with unique food, beverage and tour offerings. We want to give visitors the opportunity to linger and discover more about this unique festival.”


For thousands of years, Bennelong Point was known as Tubowgule, a rocky promontory reached at high tide via shell middens, evidencing the feasting, ceremony and celebration that took place on the site. For Vivid Sydney 2016, Opera Bar will serve oyster shots enriched with Indigenous berries and herbs for vibrant colouring, with ‘bush tucker’, including fingerlimes, lemon myrtle and smoked macadamia nuts. Colourful cocktails, a GIF photo booth, projections and lights will add to the playful Vivid Sydney festival atmosphere.

Chef Peter Gilmore’s menu at Bennelong celebrates the abundant flavours and diversity of Australian produce, and no dish highlights this more than the locally sourced Red claw yabbies from Mandandanji country in South West Queensland, served with lemon jam, cultured cream and buckwheat pikelets. ‘The Bennelong Billy’, an Aussie rum-based cocktail with river mint, quandong liqueur and strawberry gum served over crushed ice will also be on offer.

As the lights come on, the Eat Drink, Western Foyers heaters will turn up, ready to serve winter warmers featuring a selection of award-winning NSW wine and produce, carefully curated by Chef Lauren Murdoch. Sample Palmer’s Island Mulloway with roast tomato sauce, saffron potato and rouille or if you’re on the go, a pop-up on the Forecourt will serve Lozzie’s Hot Dogs, jaffles, soup and other family-friendly food and drinks.

Available from May 27 – 18 June.

The team behind Tios and The Cliff Dive are back in a perfect haze with the hotly anticipated return of the Deep Purple Pool Hall.

This hidden speakeasy is likened to a piece of Americana flotsam washed up on Sydney Harbour. Guests will follow the eight-ball up the western stairs to discover a unique festival pop-up bar, operated by Aria catering.

The venue is about juxtaposing high and low culture, bringing artisanal beer and wine from some of Australia’s smallest and best producers to the domain of Opera and sparkling wine.

After a few rounds of pool, revellers can immerse themselves in the world of Vivid LIVE with exhibitions from seminal New Order and Joy Division punk photographer Kevin Cummins and influential films and documentaries on show.

Open for ten nights only, May 27 – June 5, 6pm ‘til late.

Guided tours will be available for extended hours each night, offering visitors the chance to discover the Opera House’s famous theatres and spaces before taking in the illuminated sights of Sydney Harbour.

A two-hour Backstage Tour will explore behind the scenes and stages including the state-of-the-art recording studio as the Opera House prepares for the evening’s Vivid LIVE shows, wrapping up with dinner and drinks in the famous Green Room.

Sydney Opera House tours will run for extended hours from May 27 – 18 June, Backstage Tour  Vivid LIVE will run from May 27 – 13 June.

Flurry is an interactive ‘architectural sculpture’ that sits at the harbour’s edge, created by Australian artist Eliot Rosenberg. Its curved organic shape and arches create a vaulted tunnel on the way to the Sydney Opera House, extending the Light Walk onto the Forecourt for the first time. The structure twists in on itself, forming two interior spaces attuned to movement.

People can interact with the installation by spinning, waving, dancing and jumping, their movements and gestures delivering personalised lighting performances that transform the translucent ‘skin’ of the structure with shifting waves of coloured light.

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