Sydney is one of the best places to be during the summer, with exciting outdoor events happening almost every day and many of these are free of charge.
Sydney Harbour is the star on Boxing Day, 26 December, when the yachts line up for the start of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Once the starting pistol has been fired, an exciting experience is to be on a pleasure craft following the yachts as they race under full sail, to see who is to be first trough the Heads.
The eyes of the world then turn once again to Sydney for the famous New Year’s Eve fireworks. Every inch of space around the harbour foreshores, especially those vantage points with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is claimed hours before the first fireworks are lit at 9 pm. Excitement and anticipation mounts for the countdown to the huge fireworks display at midnight, which welcomes 2015.
The Sydney Festival runs from 8 to 26 January 2015 with an array of cultural happenings and a variety of indoor and outdoor events, often featuring theatrical and circus performances. Two of the most popular annual outdoor events are Symphony in the Domain on 18 January, where the Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Johannes Fritzsch will perform classical music under the stars and Opera in The Domain, presented by Opera Australia on 24 January, where famous arias are sung, backed by a full orchestra, also under the stars.
Movie buffs will be kept busy with several Outdoor Cinemas operating over the summer, such as the St George Open Air Cinema alongside Sydney Harbour in Farm Cove and the Moonlight Cinema playing in Centennial Park.
On view until early March are two, not to be missed, major art exhibitions, “Pop to popism” at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and “Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration” at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Two free concerts have been announced to celebrate Australia Day on 26 January, which will be performed on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. “The Wiggles Australia Day Concert” in the morning features Australia’s biggest children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles. Families can sing along to their favourite Wiggle, as well as Dorothy the Dinosaur and Wags the Dog.
John Foreman, one of Australia’s leading creative and musical talents, has taken on the role of Australia Day 2015 Creative Director, bringing together a collection of Australia’s best performers, including Jessica Mauboy, Justice Crew, Sheppard and Russell Morris for “The Australia Day Concert at the Sydney Opera House” in the evening. Tickets free via ballot by 7 January www.australiaday.com.au.
Opera Australia’s Sydney Summer Season at the Opera House has a programme to delight opera lovers with La Bohème, The Magic Flute, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Faust.
Rounding off the summer is one of Sydney’s most spectacular annual events, now in its fourth year. “Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Aida” runs from 27 March to 26 April 2015. Featuring the full Opera Australia Chorus on stage together with international singers and a live orchestra beneath, audiences will enjoy the entire opera themed experience of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, with its comfortable harbourside seating, wide range of on site dining and drinking options, magnificent harbour views and lavish, fully staged opera featuring nightly fireworks.
Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond