It’s January, and for Sydney that means festival time!

This looks to be another sensational year, with a diverse array of events in store for arts lovers. As ever, it all began with the massive Festival First Night, during which the CBD was overrun with festival-goers enjoying the live performances on various stages dotted around the city streets and parkland.

After that opening flourish, it’s down to business, with theatrical attractions including John Malkovich in The Giacomo Variations (in which he plays legendary lover Casanova). Malkovich will be joined by vocalists and the Sydney Symphony for a three-night run at the Opera House.

There’s music for every taste, whether it’s cool contemporary sounds at the Becks Festival Bar or Philip Glass in a more formal setting. You can experience dance too, as an audience member or as a participant – Sydney Town Hall will be transformed into the Trocadero Dance Palace for four swinging nights.

And one of many top free events is Symphony in The Domain – this year, Sydney Symphony, Bell Shakespeare and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs are teaming up for Midsummer Shakespeare. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so be sure to check out the website to see what should be in your festival diary.

The Sydney Festival runs from January 8-30. For the program and ticket info visit www.sydneyfestival.org.au.