Five great shows to see in Sydney this fall

From exploring Sydney’s prominent contemporary art festival to an evening of musical theater at Sydney Harbor, the autumn season boasts a host of world – class shows, events and festivals worth highlighting.

Here are five to look forward to.

Matisse live
Henri Matisse – the subject of the landmark AGNSW exhibition Matisse: Life and spirit, masterpieces from the Center Pompidou, Paris – was a master of the twentieth century, whose radical use of color and form changed the world of art forever.

Matisse live picks up where Matisse: Life & Spirit departs. A free program of art, music, performance and community events, Matisse live examines Matisse’s legacy more than a century after his heyday – when he established his name with paintings such as Le Luxe I, Joy of life, Woman with hat.

Four contemporary artists illustrate Matisse’s enduring relevance and question his legacy in new works that form the basis of the Matisse Alice program: Nina Chanel Abney (US), Framily Slips; Sally Smart (Australia), The Artist’s House; Angela Tiatia (Samoa / Australia), The pearls; and Robin White (New Zealand NZ), Vaiola.

Until April 3. John Kaldor Family Hall, Lower Level 2, Art Gallery of NSW.

9 to 5: The Musical
If you need a reason to see 9 to 5: The Musical, we offer you two words: Dolly Parton. The Absolute Queen earned Tony and Grammy nominations for the musical’s original score when it debuted on Broadway in 2009. If You Need Another (and You Should Not), here are the cast: Marina Prior, Casey Donovan and Eddie Perfect, who plays Franklin Hart Jnr., the controlling boss who everyone loves to hate. And did we mention the music by Dolly Parton?

But in all seriousness, 9 to 5: The Musical, is a razor-sharp take-off of misogyny in the workplace, just as relevant in 2022 – hey gender pay gaps! – as it was when the film debuted in 1980. Be entertained and outraged to an equal degree.

Until May 8. Capitol Theater, 3 Campbell St, Haymarket.

Living Sydney
Oh Vivid, how we have missed you. After falling victim to Covid in 2020 and 2021, Vivid Sydney returns in 2022 with an exciting program of lights, music and ideas that spans 23 nights. The festival kicks off on May 27 and intends to be an entire city affair that includes the Sydney CBD, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Barangaroo, Darling Harbor, Goods Line and Central Station, as well as the city’s landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbor Bridge , MCA and the Customs House.

While the full program has not yet been announced, the early highlights include Light Walk, an 8-kilometer-long path that stretches from Sydney Opera House to Central Station lit by Future natives, an installation featuring a flock of 200 Sydney bird species created by Sydney artist Chris Daniel. Ken Done – a much-loved artist and national treasure – pairs with Sydney-based projection specialists Spinifex Group in To Sydney with love, a celebration of the glittering port city projected on the facade of Customs House in Circular Quay. And Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, a Sri Lankan-born contemporary artist from Sydney’s West, lights up Hickson Road in The Rocks with Earth Deitiesa monstrous fire-breathing sculpture.

May 27 to June 18. Various locations, Sydney.

Sydney Biennale
The 23rd Sydney Biennale, which runs from March 12 to June 13, has the title shake – Latin for electricity – and takes Sydney’s waterways and ecosystems as a theme. After the last few years, where we have seen severe droughts and devastating floods, it feels like a good time to meditate on our city’s rivers and wetlands.

Indigenous knowledge and culture form a central part of the Biennale program, featuring artists and performers, including D Harding, a descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples, Barkandji elder Badger Bates, Trawlwoolway artist Julie Gough and the casino collective Casino Wakeup Hour everyone contributes works.

International artists also take part in the festival, which serves as an urgent call for action to resolve the climate crisis. American artist Kiki Smith will present a series of large-scale tapestries at the MCA exploring themes of climate change and climate justice, while Colombian artist Carolina Caycedo will present a large-scale mural of satellite photographs depicting the progressive destruction of the Magdalena River caused by The El Quimbo Dam.

March 12 to June 13. Various locations, Sydney.

Phantom of the Opera
Based on a French novel from 1910, Phantom of the Opera opened in London’s West End in 1986. Since then, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s score has become one of the most famous in musical theater, as well as the world’s longest running musical and cultural touchstone.

Handa Opera’s production of Phantom of the Opera takes place on a floating stage with the Sydney Opera House, Harbor Bridge and the city skyline as a spectacular backdrop. A nightly fireworks display and themed-pop-up bars and restaurants add to the evening’s festive atmosphere.

March 25 to April 24. Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in collaboration with Destination NSW. More info here

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