Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is currently running a spectacular performance of George Bizet’s Carmen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cantina roll with Pedro Ximénez and olive oil
The choice of entree includes confit salmon with a salad of broad beans, spiced almonds and horseradish crème with asparagus and flowers, or
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.
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,
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).
Dessert is a choice between Spanish cheese with quince, muscatels and crackers which could do with a larger ratio of cheese to crackers,
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.
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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