Entertainment

Rahel Romahn on Playing Mozart and Performing at the Sydney Opera House

And what it's like acting opposite Michael Sheen.

rahel romahn


Born in war-torn Kurdistan, but now a star of Australian television and film, Rahel Romahn is a force to be reckoned with. Despite claiming he’s never been a winner and has suffered feelings of unworthiness throughout his life and career, Romahn came out on top when he won the coveted 2022 Heath Ledger Scholarship, which saw over 600 candidates in the running. Since then, he has played a small role in Shantaram — an American drama thriller television series, and is set to take the stage at the Sydney Opera House as Mozart. 

“I’ve been an actor for 16 years and have done around ten plays. I feel as though I’m ready and pumped for this experience,” says Romahn.

The experience Romahn is referring to is his role as Mozart in the upcoming production of the 1979 play Amadeus. The play, by Peter Shaffer, sees Romahn play Mozart opposite his musical adversary, Antonio Salieri, played by the acclaimed Michael Sheen. For those unfamiliar with the play, the momentous production reimagines the lives of Salieri and Mozart. It uncovers Salieri’s inner torment as he grapples with Mozart’s genius and sets out to destroy him.

Romahn says rehearsing alongside Michael Sheen has been inspirational. “I feel privileged to share the stage with him, and he’s brought out the best of me,” he says.

This play is Romahn’s first time performing in Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall. “I’m looking forward to bringing one of the best pieces of theatrical writing to the stage,” he says. 

To prepare for the role, Romahn poured over Mozart’s biography. “There are lots of operatic moments in the play. They’ve taken some of the best parts of Mozart’s music and intelligently woven them into the story. I get to conduct; I get to sing. There are even parts where I get to speak the language of what Mozart would have spoken,” he says. 

“I want to understand the moment-to-moment of what happened in his life so that it can inform me of all the moments that are not in the play and how that shapes someone’s body and physicality and voice and experience.”

Though Romahn loved the movie and play, he says he never realised he himself could bring the musical genius to life. “I’m used to playing a certain type of character,” he says. “A darker, more criminal character, the opposite of Mozart’s light, bright and ethereal nature.”

“You kind of see your own identity based on how people cast you, he says. “So if I’m always getting the really complex and troubled roles, then I feel like that’s my essence, but playing Mozart has revealed there’s another side to me.”

This is the perfect opportunity to be able to portray the more dynamic nature of what I can do as an actor, says Romahn. “It wasn’t a dream role because I didn’t think it was a reality. In the process, it has become a dream role.”

Book your ticket to Amadeus here.

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Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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