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Transcendence: 50 Years of Unforgettable Moments at the Sydney Opera House

Thames & Hudson

Transcendence: 50 Years of Unforgettable Moments at the Sydney Opera House


The Sydney Opera House’s illustrious 50-year history is celebrated through fifty recollections of unforgettable experiences and performances.

A singer overwhelmed by his crowd. A dancer on ice above sea. A teenage girl, later to become a virtuoso conductor, jolted by the sound of a symphony.

Two filmmakers exchange vows on their opera set. A photographer hears a Cistercian echo in the sails. And one night, after a Verdi curtain call, an audience member who looks a lot like Bob Dylan receives a private singing lesson in a theatre named after Australia’s greatest opera star.

For fifty years, the Sydney Opera House has elevated the spirits of all who enter its orbit.

Here, fifty artists – from Simone Young to Nick Cave, Sylvie Guillem to Briggs, Baz Luhrmann to Carlotta – share their most indelible memories from a building that embodies the Australian contemporary experience.

About the author

Ashleigh Wilson is the editor of Transcendence (2023) and author of Brett Whiteley: Art, Life and the Other Thing (2016), On Artists (2019) and A Year with Wendy Whiteley (2022). He was a journalist and editor for more than two decades, and won a Walkley Award for a series on unethical behaviour in the Aboriginal art industry. He works at the Sydney Opera House.

Each contributing writer has a special connection with the Opera House, and their reflections illustrates this connection through a particular moment in time.

Edited by Ashleigh Wilson
Published September 2023
256 pages
165mm x 215mm
ISBN 9781760763893

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