Season Preview

Your guide to the arts in 2020


Get the details of Australian arts companies’ 2020 seasons as they launch online.

In Print

As Australia’s arts companies launch their 2020 programs, Limelight brings you an exclusive 24-page print preview in the November 2019 issue anticipating many of the treats in store.


Richard Tognetti’s 30th season with the ACO features four brand new works, four Australian premieres, Stuart Skelton singing Mahler, and, of course, plenty of Beethoven.

Marin Alsop makes her debut with an international Beethoven project, violinist Christian Tetzlaff returns, and the orchestra moves into the Town Hall.

A multi-maestro line-up features seven new works by Australian composers and a Beethoven project to address climate change.

A concert Fidelio, Beethoven’s Piano Concertos in one week, Deborah Cheetham’s Eumeralla, and some exciting debuts are on Asher Fisch’s next program.

Mark Wigglesworth conducts Beethoven’s nine symphonies over 10 days, a mini festival of women composers, and Nicholas Carter’s return to conduct Mahler’s Fifth.

Highlights include a rare symphony by Anton Eberl and Haydn’s ever-popular Creation.

Singer-songwriter Lior and Buenos Aires-based ensemble Tango Sin Fin are amongst next year’s guest artists.

Composer-in-Residence Alice Chance will write a brand new clarinet concerto for Oliver Shermacher in WSO’s 2020 season.

Slava Grigoryan, Aura Go and Sophie Rowell are among the guest soloists in next year’s season.

Harpist Xavier de Maistre returns, violinist Jonas Zschenderlein makes his Australian debut, and the orchestra celebrates Notre-Dame’s rich musical legacy.

As Alondra de la Parra’s contract comes to an end, the orchestra’s 2020 season will focus on fresh voices, with a number of young artists making their debuts with the orchestra.

A season of Germanic highlights has plenty of gems away tucked in there for the curious.

Umberto Clerici is the Artist in Focus, while audiences can expect to hear works by Ella Macens, Anne Boyd and Samantha Wolf.


Carl Vine tells us about his swansong season as Artistic Director of the organisation, which celebrates its 75th birthday next year.

The British cellist, who shot to international stardom when he performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, will play at next year’s Australian Festival of Chamber Music.

Brand new works by Sally Whitwell and Gordon Kerry are amongst the highlights in the chamber group’s 15th birthday season.

Kathryn Selby presents old friends and exciting rising stars in 2020.

The Quartet will tour brand new works by Anne Cawrse and Ross Edwards next year, alongside collaborations with Sydney Dance Company and experience design company Sandpit.

Opera & Vocal

Salome and Die Tote Stadt should satisfy opera lovers and gore aficionados, while Tommy does the rest.

Highlights include a new work by Tim Finn, the return of Emma Matthews, and a production from Glyndebourne.

Two operas never seen in Australia, four musicals, digital stagings and the future of opera – OA’s Lyndon Terracini discusses the lot.

The 2020 season also includes Handel’s Rinaldo plus concerts of Charpentier, Purcell, Monteverdi and Gabrieli.

Celebrating its centenary next year, the Philharmonia has commissioned 12 Australian composers whose works will be performed throughout 2020.

A revival of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, a Verdi blockbuster, two musicals and a visit from Les Arts Florissants.

Lorelei gets a second life, Opera Australia’s digital Aida comes to town, and Simon O’Neill stars in Tristan und Isolde.


The company celebrates its 60th anniversary year with a gala of works created and presented by QB over the years.

David McAllister’s final program as Artistic Director includes three new full-length ballets, including Anna Karenina, and a new short work by Alice Topp.

Featuring a new work by Rafael Bonachela, performed with the ASQ, the Australian premiere of a William Forsythe piece, and the return of ab [intra].


The line-up includes David Williamson’s final play, a co-production with Sydney Festival, and seven plays written by women.

In its 30th year the company revisits Hamlet, the first play it ever staged, this time with a female actor in the title role, and The Comedy of Errors.

A View from the Bridge starring Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale, a new play from Angus Cerini, and the musical Fun Home are among next year’s highlights.

Lee Lewis introduces five mainstage plays by Kendall Feaver, David Williamson, Matthew Whittet, Mark Rogers and Alma de Groen.

Mitchell Butel reveals his inaugural program as AD, with plays that he hopes will make headlines, open the door to a more diverse group of actors, provoke and entertain.

Six Australian plays, five of them new, a Tony Award-winning musical and contemporary writing from overseas – all relevant to today, says AD Brett Sheehy.

From Virginia Woolf and Caryl Churchill to brand new works by Michelle Law and S. Shakthidharan, Eamon Flack’s latest season seeks to make sense of the “bewilderment and insanity” of 2020.

Sam Strong’s final QT season includes four world premieres, among them Boy Swallows Universe, and two classics transplanted to Queensland.

Christos Tsiolkas’ Loaded, a transcript of an FBI interrogation performed verbatim, and a reimagining of Macbeth by Scott Shepherd are among the highlights.


Premiering in Aix-en-Provence earlier this month, the radical, beautiful staging of Mozart’s final, unfinished work has electrified audiences.

Concert performances of Fidelio by WASO, the return of Cloudstreet and a celebration of Gurrumul are among the shows announced.

Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek will lead the yet-to-be-named new festival, which will merge White Night and the Melbourne International Arts Festival.


The musical based on the wildly popular 2013 Disney film, best know for the hit song Let it Go, will have its Australian premiere season in 2020.

Before Sara Bareilles’ hit musical arrives, Sydney audiences will be treated to Chicago and Saturday Night Fever in 2019.

The smash-hit musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda will receive its Australian premiere in 2021.

Currently playing on Broadway, the critically acclaimed adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film will play a renovated Regent Theatre.


The summer exhibition for next year will be a major, Sydney-exclusive Matisse exhibition from the Centre Pompidou in Paris.