Opera House showdown

In an ironic programming double-up, the Sydney Opera House will face off against….. the Sydney Opera House, when two networks pit high profile programmes against one another.

On Sunday Nov 25 at 7:30pm TEN’s Australian Idol finale will air against the ABC’s Choir of Hard Knocks: Opera House special.

It is the fifth year TEN has aired a live to air finale from the Opera House, this year deciding between Matt Corby and Natalie Gauci.

But the ABC has also had fantastic success with its choir of the disadvantaged. This concert recorded in July will see its choir in a rapturous, sell-out performance. For many of the choir members it will be their first trip interstate or flight.

Thankfully both shows aim for different demographics, it probably won’t affect either’s performance that much. Of course, Idol goes for three hours, you could easily see both.

Twelve months ago Jonathon Welch brought together a group of Melbourne’s disadvantaged to form a choir, but had no idea what a sensation the choir would become. Now the 42 members of the Choir of Hard Knocks have been invited to perform in the Opera House concert hall.

Taking such a disparate group on the road is a risky venture, and the stakes are high. It’s a real show of faith in the Choir, and nerve-racking for the organisers. It’s a massive logistical operation given the varied emotional and physical needs of the choristers. For most, it will be their first time on a plane or their first trip interstate.

Following on from ABC TV’s inspirational series, this hour-long special shows the Choir of Hard Knocks as they prepare to travel to Sydney to sing on one of the world’s great stages. It’s an exciting and stressful experience for the choristers, and possibly overwhelming for some. But the Choir and the organisers are determined to make it a performance of a lifetime.

For Jonathon Welch, it’s a return to his home stage – the “office” as he calls it. As Principal Tenor with Opera Australia, the Opera House stage was his second home for many years. Now he returns with the Choir he founded last year to perform in front of a sell-out crowd in what will be a truly special performance.

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