Seen+Noted: Sydney Opera House launches special ‘don’t play it safe’ musical tribute to celebrate 50 years of bravery, creativity and wonder

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The Sydney Opera House has just released a special musical tribute via The Monkeys and Revolver to mark 50 years of bravery, creativity and wonder at the world’s most celebrated cultural landmark. The musical tribute by Tim Minchin features a cast of Australian artists reminding us of the endless possibilities when you don’t Play It Safe


Made in partnership with creative agency The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song, directed by award-winning filmmaker Kim Gehrig and produced by Revolver x Somesuch, the epic music video features a collection of extraordinary Australian artists and arts companies who share an enduring connection with the Opera House.

Play It Safe was written and composed by Australian singer Tim Minchin as an ironic salute to the bold, visionary experiment that became the Opera House. The song is a musical homage to a building that tested the limits of engineering and design, forever changing the face of Sydney. Minchin has crafted a wry, potent message about the importance of defying conventions and taking risks.

Minchin’s playful lyrics are richly illustrated in sequences featuring Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Ziggy Ramo, Zahra Newman representing Sydney Theatre Company, John Bell representing Bell Shakespeare, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Elma Kris representing Bangarra Dance Theatre, Kira Puru, Cathy-Di Zhang representing Opera Australia, William Barton, Courtney Act, Jimmy Barnes, Sydney Dance Company Pre Professional Year Students and Associate Artists, Lucy Guerin dancers and Minchin himself, in a stunning visual journey through the Opera House’s stages, on its steps and at the peak of its soaring white sails.

Says Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM: “Imagine if the creators of this magnificent building had played it safe, imagine what we would not have. Their bravery forever changed our nation. We set out to create a tribute to the Opera House 50 years on – to inspire the community and to remind us all of the incredible moments that have taken place here over the past five decades. With the help of the brilliant Tim Minchin, Kim Gehrig and a wonderful cast of Australian artists, this song celebrates what’s possible when you think big.”

Says The Monkeys Group CEO and Accenture Song ANZ President Mark Green: “We’ve had a long history with the Sydney Opera House since creating the Ship Song in 2010, and we are proud to play our part in championing creativity and the arts in celebration of an icon. It’s been a pleasure working with such a talented group of people.”

Says Minchin: “I adore the Opera House – playing in and around this beautiful building has been one of the great honours of my creative life. So I was hugely flattered when I was invited to write something special for the Opera House’s 50th that celebrated it as a monument to what is possible when we think big. To remind us that our not-entirely-mythological ‘larrikin’ spirit is the same spirit that allows us to be bold and brave and not care too much what other people think.”

Tourism Australia also teamed up with the Opera House to support the stunning music video that invites the world inside the iconic building and positions ‘Everyone’s House’ as a place for contemporary culture and art.

Says Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison: “We are thrilled to support the 50th anniversary of one of Australia’s most globally recognisable icons, the Sydney Opera House. Taking prominence on the shores of Sydney Harbour, it is a building that has inspired millions of visitors from all over the world to travel here to admire this stunning architectural masterpiece up close, highlighting its central role in international tourism to Australia. Synonymous with Australia and Sydney’s stunning harbour and modern skyline, it has featured prominently in our international tourism marketing campaigns over five decades, including our latest campaign ‘Come and Say G’day’, helping to inspire international travellers to visit our country.”

Client: Sydney Opera House
Joanne Been, Brand Lead
Jade McKellar, Chief Customer Officer
Stephen O’Connor, General Manager Marketing
Kate Huish, General Manager Communications
Dan Ingham, Creative Director
Rebecca Munro, Head of Brand and Marketing Campaigns
Paayal Dharmani, Head of Digital Marketing
Julia Kenny, Senior Creative Content
Natalia Scherer, Production Manager – Creative Studio
Amelia Jang, Video Content Specialist
Melanie Wellington, Senior Communications Manager
Nicola Whiteside, Content Marketing Manager
Jack Woodward, Paid Media Manager
Event Account Manager: Daniel O’Connell
Production Coordinator: Emma Paterson

Creative Agency: The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song
The Monkeys Co-founder & Group CEO, Accenture Song ANZ President: Mark Green
Co-founder & Group Chief Creative Officer: Scott Nowell
Chief Creative Officer: Tara Ford
Executive Creative Director: Barbara Humphries
Senior Art Director: Alex Polglase
Senior Copywriter: Jake Ausburn
Head of Production & Senior Producer: Penny Brown
Producer: Izzy Robertson
General Manager: Kezia Quinn
Senior Business Director: Fizzy Keeble
Experience Strategy Director: Tim Wilson-Brown
Strategist: Raghav Iyer

Production House: Revolver x Somesuch
Director: Kim Gehrig
Producer / EP: Pip Smart
Managing Director / Co-Owner: Michael Ritchie
Director of Photography: Stefan Duscio
Choreographer: Lucy Guerin
Production Designer: Steven Jones Evans
Costume Creative Director: Vanessa Coyle
Costume Stylist: Olivia Simpson & Nicchia Wippell
Editorial: TRIM x ARC Edit
Editor: Elise Butt & Tom Lindsay
Post Executive Producer: Daniel Fry & Noreen Khan
Post Producer: Kani Saib & Tatyana Alexandra
Colourist: Trish Cahill
Online: Eugene Richards

Music & Audio Post Production
Music and Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Music Production: Turning Studios
Executive Music Producer/Arranger: Elliott Wheeler
Turning Studios Producer: Carla de Menezes Ribeiro
Music Mix Engineer: Jamieson Shaw

Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra & Sydney Philharmonia Choirs
Bass: Jonathon Schwartz
Drums: Hamish Stuart
Guitars: Ben Hauptmann

Recording Engineers
Band and main vocal recording: Rose Mackenzie-Peterson
Assistant Engineer: Brad Hasiuk @Studios 301
ACO and SSO recording: Bob Scott
Sydney Philharmonia Choir recording: Carlos Arango
Individual Performers: Joshua Craig

Recording Assistants
Keens Brewer, Will Lobb, Benjamin Cauduro & Brianna Salisbury

Single Release Mastered: Leon Zerves at 301
Audio Post Production: MassiveMusic
Sound Design: Simon Kane
Foley Artist: John Simpson
Executive Producer: Katrina Aquilia