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Live Music Set For a Huge Opera House Return for Vivid LIVE

Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House returns from May 26th-June 17th with a compelling program of live music. Here’s some highlights…



Spencer Ostrander

Following COVID-19 enforced cancellations in 2020-21, Vivid LIVE returned last year with record attendee numbers and award recognition) winning the Achievement category for Best Public Event at the 2022 Australian Event Awards and Symposium).

For music lovers, the Sydney Opera House’s centrepiece contemporary music event, Vivid LIVE 2023, is the only time of year that the iconic building gives over all of its venues to live music in a whole-of-house takeover.

This year, the Opera House lineup features over 45 artists, including 19 international artists, six Australian exclusives, three orchestral collaborations and four party collectives – showcasing a curated series of bespoke projects celebrating iconic and ambitious artists that defy expectation and break new ground.

One of this year’s international highlights will be José González’s Veneer 20th Anniversary Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House shows in the Concert Hall (May 26th-28th). The Swedish singer-songwriter’s plaintively recorded debut album went platinum in Sweden and the UK, selling over a million copies worldwide. Its lead single, a cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats”, has attained over 409 million plays on Spotify.

“An ethereal, sometimes-aloof troubadour, González will sing you to sleep and then dash off under cover of night, leaving only cold-sweat nightmares and an unopened bottle of sweet vermouth,” gushed Pitchfork’s review at the time of release. González will showcase the entire album in three intimate solo performances.

Now based in New York, New Zealand born singer/songwriter Kimbra performs her first ever headlining show in Sydney at the Sydney Opera House Joan Sutherland Theatre on May 26th. Her return to the Australian stage comes after a five-year absence that ended upon the release of her new album, A Reckoning, produced by Oscar-nominated Everything Everywhere All At Once composer Son Lux.

In a Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera Australian Exclusive, multi Grammy-nominated Melbourne outfit Hiatus Kaiyote will bring their fearless future soul to the Concert Hall backed by the might of the Sydney Symphony for one night only on May 30th.

“Hiatus Kaiyote’s music stretches and bends every parameter; dancers trying to stay with its pulse risk dislocated joints,” The New York Times once raved. The band’s genre-defying neo- soul is both acclaimed and notorious.

Atlanta singer/songwriter Chan Marshall aka Cat Power has for several decades crafted amazing albums from her uniquely individual take on the world. In that time she has also released two acclaimed albums of songs covering other artists and with this in mind will perform Bob Dylan’s infamous Royal Albert Hall show from 1966, the moment that the folk icon controversially went electric. It’s an event that Power has described as “this precipice of time that changed music forever.” Following an acclaimed debut of the show in the UK last November, Power returns to Australia for a single Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House performance on May 31st.

Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods will make their Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House debut, taking over the Joan Sutherland Theatre on June 2nd. The razor-sharp punk/hip-hop/electro pair have just released their 12th album, UK Grim, and let’s just say that age has not wearied them.

Grammy-winning LA native Stephen Bruner – better known as Thundercat – will lay down his scorching fusion of funk, R&B, psychedelic jazz and hip hop for his first Australian show in five years. he virtuous bassist who has collaborated with artists including Childish Gambino, Janelle Monáe, Haim, SZA, Travis Scott, George Clinton, Gorillaz and, famously, superstar Kendrick Lamar, and many others, will deliver his stunning musicianship and whimsical philosophy in equal measure.

The Opera House will also host the Sydney debuts of Max Richter’s majestic, moving Ambient Orchestra – an odyssey through ambient sound, performed with conductor Matthew Lynch and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and acclaimed American singer-songwriter Ethel Cain – a.k.a Hayden Silas Anhedönia – brings her haunting Gothic pop to Vivid LIVE in her first-ever Australian appearance.

Other highlights include The Necks at the Sydney Opera House Drama Theatre (May 30th-31st), Budjerah at the Sydney Opera House Studio (May 31st); Weyes Blood at Sydney Opera House – Joan Sutherland Theatre (June 1st); Squarepusher at Sydney Opera House – Joan Sutherland Theatre (June 3rd); and Ella Mai at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall (June 12th).

There’s also a fantastic (under $30) program in the intimate Utzon Room, with local luminaries such as: cousins and musical brothers from the Butchulla Nation, rapper Birdz and Songman Fred Leone; Kamilaroi-Samoan singer-songwriter Becca Hatch with her infectious brand of dance-pop; New Jersey-born, Western Sydney-based singer-songwriter Ashli brings her hypnotic mix of R&B, pop and soul; the sound of Sydney’s booming young R&B scene Maina Doe with her soulful vocals merging futuristic hip-hop, pop and jazz. Meaning ‘moon’ dance-pop quartet, Pirra will treat audiences to their irresistible rhythms, silken melodies and powerful vocals by Luritja woman Jess Beck: West Melbourne, R&B up-and-comer PANIA will take over the Utzon Room for her second ever Sydney show and teenage soul sensation JACOTÉNE with her powerful take on classic soul sounds.

The above is but a smattering of selected highlights, for full details head to www.vividsydney.com https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/vivid-live