At its best, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is one of Sydney’s splashiest, most spectacular performing arts events, given its breathtaking setting on a huge purpose-built stage over the water, with the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and cityscape as the backdrop.

This year, with the weather gods smiling after days of destructive, torrential rain, and Stacey Alleaume in glorious form as Violetta, the revival of Verdi’s much-loved opera La Traviata, with its tragic story and beautiful score, proves to be a thrilling, emotional – and, yes, spectacular – evening.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: La Traviata, 2021 Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: La Traviata, 2021. Photograph © Prudence Upton

Based on the inaugural Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production in 2012, directed by Francesca Zambello, Constantine Costi directs and brings some of his own touches to the restaging, including an additional element to Brian Thomson’s striking set design and new choreography by Shannon Burns.

Originally scheduled for 2020, the production had to be cancelled two weeks before opening due to the coronavirus, and was postponed a year with the same performers in the...