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'Amadeus' Starring Michael Sheen Leads Sydney Opera House's 50th Anniversary Lineup

The 'Masters of Sex', 'Tron: Legacy', 'The Queen' and 'Twilight' star will play Antonio Salieri in this Australian-exclusive season in the Opera House's revamped Concert Hall.
By Sarah Ward
July 12, 2022
By Sarah Ward
July 12, 2022

The most famous building in Australia is about to hit a huge milestone, with the Sydney Opera House turning 50 when October 2023 rolls around. Over those five decades, the iconic arts venue has hosted a dream lineup of shows, productions and gigs on its stages — and it has another in store to help mark its massive anniversary.

An occasion this huge was never going to pass without plenty of celebrations, so the Opera House is planning a hefty lineup that'll serve up just that. Kicking off in October this year, the 50th-anniversary season will run for an entire 12 months. And while the bulk of it won't be announced until later in 2022, the venue has just revealed its first show: Amadeus starring Michael Sheen.

The Welsh actor boasts a resume spanning everything from Masters of Sex and Tron: Legacy to The Queen and TwilightFrost/Nixon, the Underworld flicks, Alice in Wonderland and Good Omens, too — and, from 1998–99 in London and also on Broadway, this very play. Back then, he took on the role of Mozart; however, this time he'll step into Antonio Salieri's shoes, aka the Italian composer posited to be the titular figure's bitter adversary.

Amadeus by Peter Shaffer. Directed by Peter Hall, with David Suchet as Antonio Salieri and Michael Sheen as Motzart. Performed at The Old Vic in London in 1998. Credit: Geraint Lewis / ArenaPAL.

Sheen's stint at the Opera House comes as part of Amadeus' Australian-exclusive season, which'll take over the site's newly revamped Concert Hall from Tuesday, December 27, 2022–Saturday, January 21, 2023. He'll play opposite Rahel Romahn (Here Out West) as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, plus Lily Balatincz (Constellations) as Constanze Mozart, all bringing a fierce — and fictitious — classical music rivalry to life.

If you're new to Amadeus, which first hit the stage in 1979 in London — six years after the Opera House opened its doors — it reimagines Mozart and Salieri's lives as the latter struggles to come to terms with the former's talent. In 1981, for its first Broadway run, it nabbed the 1981 Tony Award for Best Play. In 1984, after being turned into a movie, it also won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. And, Baz Luhrmann also mentioned it to Concrete Playground as one of the influences that helped him on the path to making Elvis.

Including Sheen, Romahn and Mozart, the Sydney cast will feature 40 performers, spanning actors, opera singers and musicians from The Metropolitan Orchestra who'll be worked into the onstage drama. Director Craig Ilott (Smoke & Mirrors, American Idiot, Betty Blokk Buster Reimagined) will be on helming duties, while Australian fashion house Romance Was Born is directing the costumes.

Daniel Boud

And, for theatregoers keen to turn a night watching Amadeus into quite the special occasion, the Opera House is also doing impressive — albeit expensive — dinner-and-show option called Amadeus: Primo Atto. Starting at $440 per person, it includes a three-course dinner with paired wines in one of the venue's most intimate spaces, plus a private tour beforehand, and then tickets to the production.

As for what else will be on the 50th-anniversary lineup, watch this space. Based on this first announcement — and the fact that the full program of events and performances is supported by the NSW Government's Blockbuster Funding initiative — the Opera House's year-long festivities looks set to be big.

Hamilton Lund

Amadeus will play Sydney Opera House's Concert Hall from Tuesday, December 27, 2022–Saturday, January 21, 2023. Pre-sales start at 9am on Wednesday, July 13, with general ticket sales from 9am on Monday, July 18. For more information, head to the Sydney Opera House website.

For more information about Amadeus: Primo Atto, also head to the Sydney Opera House website.

Top image: Faith Healer by Brian Friel, rehearsals, Michael Sheen as Frank Hardy. Directed by Warchus, set designed by Howell, lighting designed by Lutkin and Brown. Old Vic Theatre, London, UK; 21 September 2020. Credit: Manuel Harlan / ArenaPAL.

Published on July 12, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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