By Mary Finsterer & Tom Wright

Tasmanian Premiere
Sydney Chamber Opera and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra perform Antarctica in concert.

The South Pole is a realm rarely touched by human footsteps, shrouded in an aura of mystery and inaccessibility. Yet, within this frozen landscape, lie untold tales and forgotten histories, waitig to be unearthed.

Antarctica, a collaborative endeavour between Mary Finsterer, Tom Wright and Sydney Chamber Opera company, delves into the complex dimensions of the southern continent, blending historical, mythical and scientific narratives into a captivating musical odyssey. Through the outstanding compositions of Australian Finsterer, audiences are taken to an ethereal realm, where the allure of Antarctica unfolds through a fusion of classical and contemporary musical elements, weaving together the exploits of a cartographer, a natural scientist and a philosopher, each driven by their own aspirations and curiosities.

The genesis of Antarctica was a symposium at the University of Tasmania in 2017, where Finsterer and Wright collaborated with scientists from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, through the Creative Antarctica Program.

First performed at the 2022 Holland Festival and in Australia at the 2023 Sydney Festival, this is a rare opportunity to see this groundbreaking work for the first time in Tasmania with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jack Symonds.

Jack Symonds

Sound Design
Bob Scott

Anna Fraser
Chloe Lankshear
Simon Lobelson
Jessica O’Donoghue
Michael Petrucelli

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Antarctica is commissioned by Asko|Schönberg, with the generous assistance of the Julian Burnside AO Trust for Mary Finsterer and the University of Tasmania. It has been supported by Carriageworks and Create NSW.

It was first performed on 5 June 2022 in Holland Festival, Amsterdam in a co-production of Sydney Chamber Opera and Asko|Schönberg, conducted by Jack Symonds, directed by Imara Savage and designed by Elizabeth Gadsby, Mike Daly and Alexander Berlage.


Date & TIME

April 18, 2024
7:30 pm


Theatre Royal


110 minutes (no interval)

TICKET prices

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"This magnificent musical portrait of mankind’s slowly-shattered geopolitical dreams gives us an important opportunity to meditate on the relationship of our belligerent and expansionist civilisation to the only continent we have left uninhabited... Without doubt a milestone for Australian opera, and may also prove a landmark for the genre of chamber opera."
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"Asko|Schönberg and Sydney Chamber Opera go all out to produce a florid, epic performance... a clear, impressive aesthetic ...[where] music and text fit together seamlessly."
Het Parool
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"Finsterer expresses a personal contemporary variant of early baroque madrigal art, which made the contributions of Anna Fraser as the natural philosopher in particular a great pleasure... Director Imara Savage and designer Elizabeth Gadsby portrayed it all beautifully."
De Nieuwe Muze
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"A fantastic staging... Finsterer has followed crystal clear paths in the elaboration of her icy material... an ingenious interweaving of metaphor, imagined events and mysteries... What was heard and seen resulted in a hallucinatory experience. Antarctica is food for thought."

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We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.