Seven world premieres, 25 international works and 36 new Australian commissions – 2019 is a huge year for Carriageworks, and the concrete-walled former locomotive workshop will be a hotbed of groundbreaking artists, musicians, performers and markets.

“2019 will continue Carriageworks’ strong artistic growth with a program of Australian and international artists, including new commissions and world premieres,” said Carriageworks director Lisa Havilah in a statement.

Highlights include never-before-seen works by the Carriageworks’ resident companies. Sydney Chamber Opera gives Peter Carey’s acclaimed novel Oscar and Lucinda the modern opera treatment – exploring the storyline’s touchpoints of colonialism, martial relationships and gambling addiction within archetypal operatic themes of love, fate and religion.

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As part of the Sydney Festival in January, the chamber opera company will also give the Australian premiere of La Passion de Simone by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. It’s described as a “deeply spiritual work” that explores the life of French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil.

Resident company Moogahlin Performing Arts also joins the Sydney Festival program at Carriageworks, premiering The Weekend, a one-woman show on love, hope and loss by dancer-turned-playwright Henrietta Baird. In February, the Aboriginal performing arts company also presents Koori Gras, a series of creative events featuring First Nations queer artists, thinkers and communities.

Later in the year, artistic directors Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain of Marrengeku curate Burrbgaja Yalirra/Dancing Forwards, a triple bill of solo dance and performance works.

In a beautiful celebration of language and history, Jerusalem is a collaborative work between New Zealand director-choreographer Lemi Ponifasio and Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber, (he’s more famously known by his pen name Adonis, and is widely considered one of the greatest living poets of the Arab world). Their cross-disciplinary work will be performed in Maori and Arabic, and explore the contentious, complex history of the Middle Eastern city.

Experimental music nerds will delight in the news Open Frame, presented by composer Lawrence English’s label Room 40, is returning to the Carriageworks in June. This year’s program featured hard hitters from the experimental scene such as Gail Priest (Sydney) and Werner Dafeldecker (Germany) – we can only guess what’s in store for 2019. Room 40 is also bringing Japanese improv group Marginal Consort, founded by the ear-bending members of Tokyo’s East Bionic Symphonia.

And because this is Sydney, Carriageworks has its own dedicated program of food-related events. Kitchen by Mike’s Mike McEnearney continues to lead the creative direction of the popular Saturday Carriageworks markets; there’ll be more masterclasses and demonstrations from Australian and international chefs (previous guests have included Christine Manfield, Josh Niland and Brent Savage); the Night Markets in summer and winter will return; as will the food-industry events and discussions that form the Sydney MAD Mondays series.

Tickets to selected events go on sale on Tuesday December 4 at 9am.

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