Lyndon Terracini (OA artistic director), Tony David Cray OA (sound engineer), and opera star Stacey Alleaume attended the announcement on Tuesday on The Forecourt of  Sydney Opera House of unveil plans for Australia’s first-ever silent opera.

Theatre Now was at the announcement (video to come).

The Eighth Wonder 07Premiering in Sydney on 28 October with Sydney Opera House – The Opera: The Eighth Wonder, the production will use the famous landmark as an opera stage for the first time. The silent opera will be performed live with full orchestra and opera chorus, and 3000 audience members listening on headphones.

The Eighth Wonder 05Artistic director Lyndon Terracini explained, “The audience will be looking up at the Sydney Opera House while they are watching an opera about the building of the house, and hearing pure sound through the headphones.”

The principal singers will be on the steps wearing radio mikes. The orchestra and opera chorus will be inside the building. Sound feeds from the singers and musicians are mixed and transmitted to noise-cancelling headphones worn by the audience.

Opera Australia is exploring the intersection of a traditional art-form and a story about 1960s Australia with the latest in technologically advanced sound design, staging, projection, lighting and 3D printing. One of Australia’s earliest patents, the Hills Hoist, also makes an appearance. Architecture students from the UNSW will be creating some visual art installations for the site.

The Eighth Wonder 03The Sydney Opera House itself will be used as an opera stage for the first time with allocated seating set up on the Forecourt. Stage sets will glide across the 100 metre-wide steps on platforms, delivering the fast-paced action. Giant inflatable screens will unfurl to display historic photos. Giant glowing balls of paper, projections and lighting effects will complete the son-et-lumiere spectacle.

Sydney Opera House – The Opera (The Eighth Wonder) will be on at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt from October 28 to November 5

Photography and videography by Lindsay Kearney, Lightbox Photography