Carmen, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: The Platinum Lounge Experience

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is currently running a spectacular performance of George Bizet’s Carmen.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Carmen, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

Set at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair with a 32m x 24m sloping stage resembling a blood-stained bullfighting ring, the set features the word CARMEN, 9m high by 25m wide with the letters spelled backwards and a neon-lit outline of a bull.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Neon-lit bull on stage

From the renowned spirited overture to the fiery rhythms and flaring passions, stellar performances come together on the watertop sloping stage with a 3,000 seat grandstand situated at the water’s edge.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Fireworks on the harbour

Starring in this production are the internationally-renowned Rinat Shaham and Milijana Nikolic alternating the role of Carmen. Dmtryo Popov and Adam Diegel share the role of Don José, and Andrew Jones and James Clayton alternate as the Toreador, Escamillo. Milijana Nikolic’s presence on stage is captivating. Voluptuous, feminine, sultry and evocative, she duly dominates every scene where she appears.

Visual highlights include two giant cranes lifting a tank, a trucks, a cargo container, even the flamboyant Toreador as he descends into his fight, along with elaborate costumes, a solo flamenco dancer with a flaring red skirt manoeuvred by male dancers and spectacular fireworks.

Solo dancer – Photo Credit: (c) James Morgan (used with permission)

To complement the experience, the Platinum Lounge has been set up with long, red drapes, mirrors and an opulent Spanish décor that transports guests to Seville.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Platinum Lounge

Fresh Catering, the exclusive caterer to Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, has developed a three course Spanish-inspired menu, cooked to order with wines to match, to complement the Opera experience.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Harbour views from the Platinum Lounge

The Fiesta Dinner Package includes a ticket to Carmen, a pre-performance three course meal, interval drinks and tapas, as well as a souvenir program.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Inside the Platinum Lounge

The Lounge also serves cocktails and tapas-style canapés during interval with tasty morsels such as butter poached prawn on saffron potatoes, pea and manchego arancini balls, chicken and chorizo savoury roll, and snow pea and goat’s cheese wrapped in pata negra.

The Platinum Lounge menu includes a choice of two entrees, three main courses, dessert or cheese with vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free options, complemented by a selection of Tyrrell’s Wines and San Pellegrino beverages.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Cantina roll with Pedro Ximénez and olive oil

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Confit salmon

The choice of entree includes confit salmon with a salad of broad beans, spiced almonds and horseradish crème with asparagus and flowers, or

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Heirloom tomato salad

what is essentially the same dish without the salmon, an heirloom tomato salad with broad beans, spiced almonds and horseradish crème with asparagus and flowers.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Pyrenees lamb rump

From the main courses, comes the perfectly cooked Pyrenees lamb rump with potato catalana, roasted brussel sprouts with mojo sauce and shaved manchego,

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Roasted organic chicken in chermoula

or the succulent roasted organic chicken in green chermoula with saffron braised shallots celeriac puree and tarragon jus. The vegetarian/gluten free option is wild mushroom and pea paella cakes with roasted brusssel sprouts, mojo sauce and shaved pecorino (not shown).

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Spanish cheese

Dessert is a choice between Spanish cheese with quince, muscatels and crackers which could do with a larger ratio of cheese to crackers,

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
Chocolate and orange tart

compared to the more decadent chocolate and orange tart with hazelnut praline. A seasonal fruit plate with kaffir lime syrup and orange sorbet is the vegetarian/gluten free option.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour
View from the Platinum Lounge

Other food offerings outside of the Platinum Lounge include Tapas share plates, a Paella food station, a Spanish BBQ and satellite Wine and Oyster bars and audiences can enjoy their food and drinks from their seats throughout the performance.

While Carmen and the Platinum Lounge setting inspire patrons to dress for the occasion, it is an open-air event with the venue and stage being completely uncovered. In case of light, intermittent showers – as it was the case on the night – the performance will proceed and patrons are given a free poncho as umbrellas cannot be used during the show. So best to dress appropriately for the weather on the night, particularly if walking back from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair to the CBD as shuttle buses run infrequently.

Carmen Opera on Sydney Harbour with the Platinum Lounge option is an experience not to be missed. For package options, visit the website below but be quick, as performances run until Friday 12 April, 2013.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.

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