With its jaw-dropping fusion of operatic flourish and sacred polyphony, Verdi’s Requiem was perhaps the only appropriate work grand enough to celebrate the opening of a “modern cathedral” in an industrial, inner-city suburb – the Great Hall at Dangrove in Sydney’s Alexandria.

Arriving at the Dangrove Art Storage Facility for Ensemble Apex’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem. Photo © Jordan Munns

Designed by Tzannes and built in 2020 as an art storage facility to house businesswoman and philanthropist Judith Nielson’s White Rabbit collection of contemporary Chinese art, it is the latest unconventional venue chosen by exciting young classical music collective Ensemble Apex, under their dynamic Artistic and Music Director Sam Weller.

The audience of around 300 people had entered a ballot for a free seat at the first public concert of this scale to be held in the awe-inspiring space. They entered through an unimposing door on an unimposing street and then through a car park and loading dock. Once inside, with smoke machines adding to the atmosphere, they were greeted by a 90-metre long hall with impossibly high ceilings. The flanking walls were covered in vertical sets of colourful abstract...