Set Design for 2016 Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour Revealed

Set Design for 2016 Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour Revealed

The set for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour in 2016 has been revealed. Wrapped around the edge of the major water-hovering structure will be a beautiful yet ferocious dragon stretching 60 metres long.

With a tail that morphs into a structure reminiscent of the Great Wall of China, the dragon winds its way towards a 16 metre high iridescent pagoda, making the set a visually stunning feat of engineering and design.

In 2016, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour will present Turandot– the Chinese fable of danger, love and an ice-hearted princess, and with Director Chen Shi-Zheng and designer Dan Potra on board, it will an opera for the history books.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour 2016 facts and figures

• The harbour stage is almost two and half times larger than any other Australian indoor stage

•  Sound and lighting towers have the formidable task of providing 12 tonne of rigging 

•  The stage itself can support up to 150 tonne.

•  Approximately 150 people make up the team who build the stage

• Construction will begin at White Bay and then be trucked to Fleet Steps where it will be built 
to completion. Here, two cranes will lift the stage onto pylons in the water to create the 
seemingly floating stage.

•  Throughout the performance, the stage is accessed via a floating walkway

• Surf lifesavers will keep a watchful eye over water activities of construction workers, 
performers and Opera Australia staff members.

•  220 lamps light up the performance

•  223 speakers carry the music and arias into the open night air

•  64 kilometres of power, data and audio cable power the stage and venue

•  The orchestra members are housed in a custom built orchestra studio named the 
‘Underworld’ directly beneath the stage

•  The Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour site, including the stage and venue is largely 
constructed within 15 days

•  On the 15th day of construction, cast and creatives arrive on site to begin rehearsals on the 

•  The Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour site remains a construction site for another seven 
days, with clearways marked out for cast and crew to safely make their way around the 

•  Each Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has featured a spectacular set element: a giant 
chandelier in La Traviatain 2012, a huge Hollywood-inspired sign reading ‘Carmen’ for Carmenin 2013, a giant sun and moon rising over Sydney Harbour in Madama Butterflyand the towering head of Nefertiti for Aida2015.

For more information on Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, Turandot please visit