Carmen on Cockatoo Island is a Contemporary Modern Opera Marvel

Carmen on Cockatoo Island is an electric and tantalising experience the rebel in you will seek to discover. The absolutely eccentric and reimagined performance of Carmen is perfect for a new audience to experience in the middle of Sydney Harbour […]

Carmen on Cockatoo Island is an electric and tantalising experience the rebel in you will seek to discover. The absolutely eccentric and reimagined performance of Carmen is perfect for a new audience to experience in the middle of Sydney Harbour at the start of Summer.

I cannot rave enough about the overall experience Carmen on Cockatoo Island has to offer its audiences. From the beginning of the night, you set out on a journey to first make your way onto the island by ferry. The ferry ride is an experience in itself with the stunning views of the harbour it’s the perfect photo opp and a joyous boat ride across the water for a short 12-minute journey. Who doesn’t love a boat ride in the summertime, there’s no better backdrop than Sydney Harbour.

The Cockatoo Island Experience 

Once you make it to the island the mood shifts to excitement for the immersive pop up bars and eateries surrounding the waterfront views with string lights, music and drinks flowing from the bars along the island. It’s the perfect venue to transport yourselves for the evening. Whether it’s a night out with the girls to enjoy some pre-show pizzas and drinks, chit chat and snap photos or a romantic evening with a partner to soak in the atmosphere under the stars. Carmen breathes life into the opera experience with this immersive venue on the Harbour and a reimagined contemporary production of a beloved and well-known opera.

The industrial setting of Cockatoo Island is perfect for the contemporary production inspired by Carmen’s outsider status mixed with a bit of rock’n’roll and rugged characters and charm throughout the show. You may even be surprised to hear that Queen B herself (yes, Beyoncé) was even inspired by opera having been used in countless adaptations through the ages including Beyoncé’s 2001 movie called Hip Hopera! Talk about a throwback in pop culture, but if it’s good enough for Beyoncé then we’re onto something special here!

About the Story 

The story of Carmen, a beautiful cigarette factory worker is one of the ultimate femme fatale and juicy in all the best ways! With men literally falling at her feet and swooning for the beauty, fellow soldiers and the whole town are captivated by the strange allure of Carmen, including, Don José.

Carmen, of course, used to the attention has no interest in all the men falling at her feet but takes an interest in the shy but alluring soldier Don José. Ever the rebel, Carmen finds herself in some trouble and is arrested for starting a fight, she then seduces Don José in order to win her freedom (as a rebellious beauty would) and convinces him to desert the army to join her in the gypsy life of liberty.

But, in the true style of opera, there is drama in the cards. Carmen’s wandering eye is set to delve into her passionate love affair fumbling into despair when she finds a new lover, a bullfighter, Escamillo.

Less than pleased Don José’s jealousy escalates, while Escamillo’s passion is real, and Carmen finds herself in the middle of a fiery love triangle that can only end badly for the rebellious beauty.

The opera is filled with eccentric costume designs, loud and intricate hair and makeup and the characters even adorning contemporary costumes and tattoos. It’s an opera for this era and one young adult can see themselves in. It’s truly such a privilege to see and a production not to miss.

The bullfighting scenes were replaced with motorbikes roaring through the crowd and front of the stage with flags flying high in the air and a full fireworks display lighting up the night sky as audiences watched in awe.

Dress Comfortably 

The outdoor stage is the perfect setting under the stars for the ultimate summer evening, but remember to dress comfortably.  You can choose to get in touch with your inner opera diva, or glam rock star, or keep it casual. Opera Australia advises you to bring a jacket as it can get cool on the water in the evenings. And please wear sensible footwear as Cockatoo Island is a former industrial site with uneven grounds and some trip hazards.

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, opt for a poncho if it should rain. Ponchos will be available to purchase at the event for $5 with Opera Australia donating any profit from the sale of ponchos to Clean Up Australia.

Getting there – Opera on Cockatoo Island Shuttle Ferry

The pre-performance shuttle service starts at 4.30pm and runs from King Street Wharf to the Camber Wharf Visitor Marina on Cockatoo Island. The ferry takes approximately 15 minutes and does not stop at any other wharves. Pre-Booking is essential.

The post-performance shuttle service starts from 10.30pm, with the last ferry leaving Camber Wharf Visitor Marina at 12.15am. Please note: the ferries will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, and it may take some time for audience members to leave the island at the end of the performance.

You can purchase tickets to the shuttle service when you book tickets to Opera on Cockatoo Island by adding the service while in your cart. Alternatively, you can sign in to your account and add tickets to the shuttle service to your Opera on Cockatoo Island tickets. Tickets are $20 return.

Buy your tickets 

Carmen on Cockatoo Island is located on Bolt Wharf, Cockatoo Island and the show runs from 25 November to 18 December 2022. Book your tickets today to avoid disappointment! You won’t want to miss this ultimate Sydney summer experience. It may be your first opera ever, and Carmen is the perfect one to start with the contemporary setting and production. Plus tickets start from $79, book here today.

Images provided by Opera Australia