On the day Sun & Sea opened, Sydney was lashed by rain and high winds. The afternoon temperature was a low “feels like” 15 degrees. It certainly didn’t feel like summer. Seeing Sun & Sea the day after Sydney Chamber Opera’s Antarctica certainly concentrated the mind on matters meteorological, even though neither uses a megaphone to address environmental concerns. But the ideas are there. What you think about them is your business.

Sun & Sea

Sun & Sea, Sydney Festival, 2023. Photo © Wendell Teodoro

Sun & Sea isn’t a conventional opera (neither is Antarctica), but it is a highly original, memorable piece that the creators call an opera-performance. It premiered in Lithuania in 2017 and really hit its straps when it won a Golden Lion, the Venice Biennale’s highest award, in 2019. There is absolutely an aspect of Sun & Sea that fits into the category of contemporary art installation. A beach is recreated within a performance space for an audience that looks down on it from a gallery. On the sand, tonnes of it, holidaymakers...