The Sydney Festival has released its 2014 program, unveiling a unique cultural kaleidoscope of concerts and events (many of them free) for Sydney-siders in January.

Headlining the Festival from the perspective of ‘classical’ music is an adaption of Purcell’s opera  Dido and Aeneas directed by Sasha Waltz. International soloists will include French mezzo-soprano Aurore Ugolin as the Carthaginian Queen Dido and British baritone Reuben Willcox as her unreliable lover. A giant aquarium on stage will contain submerged dancers, notably to depict Aeneas and his followers washing up on the shores of Carthage after escaping the destruction of Troy. The production will be staged at the Lyric Theatre from January 16-21.

Berlin’s premier baroque chamber orchestra Akademie für alte Musik Berlin, who accompany Dido and Aeneas, will also be presenting Baroque masterpieces including Bach’s D Minor concerto for two violins, Telemann  La Musette and Vivaldi’s  Il Giustino overture at City Recital Hall on January 18.

One of the world’s most distinguished vocal chamber groups, the Hilliard Ensemble will celebrate its 40th anniversary and final farewell tour with two Australian concert programs at City Recital Hall on January 17. The first program will celebrate some of the ensemble’s best-loved works, from early medieval polyphony to modern-day minimalism and the world premiere of  Three Japanese Songs by Toshio Hosakawa. The second...