ACO at Sydney Opera House

50 spectacular ACO moments at the Sydney Opera House

We’re celebrating the Sydney Opera House’s 50th birthday year with a look back at some of Richard and the Orchestra’s most memorable scenes and moments at the House – from 1975 to present.
ACO First Concert, Sydney Opera House


The Orchestra’s inaugural concert took place at Sydney Opera House on 21 November 1975. The Orchestra was led by violinist Robert Ingram, and members included John Painter and Richard Tognetti’s former teacher Alice Waten.
First ACO Rehearsal at Sydney Opera House


The rehearsal for the inaugural concert took place in the Opera House's Rehearsal Room.
Australian Chamber Orchestra in 1989


The Australian Chamber Orchestra, 1989-style, led by Richard Tognetti at the Sydney Opera House.
ACO 1989 Brochure


That same year, we made the Opera House the star of our brochure cover.
ACO projected on Sydney Opera House sails


Fast-forward to 2022: ACO StudioCasts: Love & Transfiguration is projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House, during the launch of its upcoming 50th birthday celebrations.
ACO Leaders at Sydney Opera House


Five of the Australia Chamber Orchestra’s leaders in those memorable magenta seats: Robert Ingram, Dene Olding, John Harding, Carl Pini and Richard Tognetti.
ACO Brochure Cover 1990-91


Here’s looking at you, ACO 1990-1991 Season.
The ACO performs The American, 2022


The Orchestra dazzles under the new petal-shaped acoustic reflectors in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, 2022.
ACO Stravinsky recorded in the concert hall in 1988


The Australian Chamber Orchestra has long produced recordings, including at the Sydney Opera House, where this Stravinsky Pulcinella disc was recorded in 1988.
ACO recording


The Orchestra recorded Schubert with conductor Sir Charles Mackerras at Sydney Opera House in the same year.
ACO Cello Julian


ACO Cello Julian Thompson caught on camera at Sydney Opera House during filming for the ACO 2015 Season.
Richard Tognetti conducts Beethoven


Artistic Director Richard Tognetti conducts a monumental Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 in 2012.
Australian Chamber Orchestra Beethoven 9


Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 'Choral', from the choir stalls.
ACO Bach Violin Concertos


Richard, Helena and Satu perform Bach’s Concerto for Three Violins under the iconic Sydney Opera House ‘Doughnuts’, before the Hall’s renovation that was unveiled in 2022.
ACO on stage


Joy for the Orchestra on stage at the Opera House.
Liisa Pallandi


ACO Violin Liisa Pallandi on the plush purple carpet backstage at the Concert Hall, in 2018.
Australian Chamber Orchestra


Doesn’t everybody look young!
ACO Carnival of the Animals


In 2000, we performed Carnival of the Animals, with narration by Michael Leunig, including at Sydney Opera House – for music fans little and large.
Richard Tognetti soundchecks


Sound checks in the Concert Hall.


The Orchestra performs The Crowd & I in the recently refurbished Concert Hall in 2022 – the first year it returned to full touring activity after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and disruption.
Richard Tognetti on Sydney Opera House sail


Richard Tognetti finds the Opera House’s best vantage point, during the Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary year – and Richard’s 25th year as Artistic Director.
ACO Violinist


Two decades earlier, Richard is pictured with lead violinists, from left, Robert Ingram, Dene Olding, Carl Pini and John Harding.
ACO Mountain


The ACO’s feature film collaboration with director Jennifer Peedom, Mountain, sees sell-out crowds fill the Concert Hall.
Richard Tognetti with director Jennifer Peedom and actor Willem Dafoe


Richard Tognetti with Mountain director, Jennifer Peedom, and the narrator of the film, actor Willem Dafoe before the world premiere of the film.
ACO Cello Julian Thompson


ACO Cello Julian Thompson inside the Opera House’s iconic sails.


We present our very first ACO Families production, There’s a Sea in my Bedroom, in partnership with Sydney Opera House in 2019.
Ike See


ACO Violin Ike See on the distinctive steps in the Sydney Opera House foyers.
ACO Cello Melissa


ACO Cello Melissa comes up for air, 2018.
Emmanuel Pahud and Richard Tognetti


A moment’s reprieve on the concert hall stage during rehearsals with flautist Emmanuel Pahud in 2017.
ACO The Four Seasons


The Orchestra performs sold-out shows of The Four Seasons with oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros, and his brother James on riq, in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall in 2023.
ACO backstage Sydney Opera House


Warming up backstage.
Max HomeCast00004414Still006


While Australia is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, ACO Principal Bass Maxime Bibeau performs in a beautiful new space at the Opera House – bringing a moment of beauty to you in your home.
Steven Isserlis


Cellist Steven Isserlis joins the Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House in 2018 for Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto.
Richard Tognetti in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall


The stage is set, and the seats are waiting. Now all Richard needs is an Orchestra, an audience, and his violin.
Nicole Car


Australian Soprano Nicole Car greets and runs to join the Orchestra to perform Mozart and Beethoven in 2018. You can relive the concert with our live recording, Heroines.
Sat Vanska


The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall organ towers above ACO Principal Violin Satu Vänskä.


Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto performs with ACO Collective at the House, in February 2016.
The Reef


The Orchestra performs The Reef, Richard Tognetti’s immersive concert film capturing two weeks spent at Ningaloo Reef with musicians and surfers, at Sydney Opera House in 2017.
The American


Richard leads the Orchestra in The American, including as a soloist in our new commission from Sam Adams - Echo Transcriptions - for electric violin, in the refurbished Concert Hall in 2022.
ACO The Four Seasons applause Sydney Opera House


Standing ovations and 'whoops' from all sides in the Concert Hall, during The Four Seasons in 2023.
ACO 1990


The same hall, 33 years ago – the first year Richard Tognetti was Artistic Director.


ACO Violin Aiko Goto snapped under the recognisable industrial beams in the Opera House’s foyers, in 2018.
Concert Hall Approach


Ascending to the stage, 2022.
ACO New Order


This is 2016, when the Orchestra performed with British rock and dance band, New Order, at the Opera House for Vivid Live.
Richard Tognetti and Jonny Greenwood


Richard Tognetti and Jonny Greenwood get ready for the Orchestra’s performance of Water, Greenwood’s new piece for the ACO, at the Opera House in 2017.
ACO Premiere of 'Mountain' at Sydney Opera House


The Orchestra has become known for its breathtaking film collaborations. There's nothing quite like catching them at Sydney Opera House during national tours.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partirdge


We present Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, our ACO Families show which goes on to win Best Production for Children at the Sydney Theatre Awards 2021.
ACO pre-concert talks, Sydney Opera House


One of the best settings for an ACO pre-concert talk.
ACO Violinist Mark Ingwersen


When the sun gets low and the shadows get long. This is ACO Violin Mark Ingwersen at Sydney Opera House in 2018.
Bach Christmas Oratorio


Richard Tognetti conducts Bach's Christmas Oratorio in a sold-out performance at Sydney Opera House in 2017.

Click here to book tickets to our Sydney Opera House 50th birthday concert, Celebrating Icons: From Bach to Barnes, featuring guest soloists Jimmy Barnes and William Barton, 7 May 2023. All tickets just $50, or $35 for under 35s.

Book now