John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John, Tina Arena, Vanessa Amorosi, Julie Anthony A.M., OBE., Human Nature, James Morrison and John Williamson will lead the performers at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Olympic organisers announced today.

Ric Birch, Director of Ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, David Atkins, Artistic Director of Olympic Ceremonies and Max Lambert, Music Director for the Ceremonies, made the announcement at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, site of Australia’s first Olympic Games stadium.

The theme songs for the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games were also announced, along with composers, conductors and artists involved in the Opening Ceremony.

‘The songs, performers and musical arrangements will showcase the rich and diverse styles and talent of Australia’s musicians and singers to the world’s biggest audience on the world’s biggest stage,’ said Mr Birch who was previously Director of Production for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Ceremonies and Executive Producer for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Ceremonies.

A global television audience of up to 4 billion viewers is expected to witness the Opening Ceremony on September 15, along with 110,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium at Homebush in west Sydney.

‘The way we worked was we chose the songs first – and then matched a performer whose vocal range and intrepretation was best suited to a particular song,’ said Mr Birch.

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Details of the songs and artists include —

‘The Flame’ : performed by Tina Arena. Words and music by John Foreman.
‘I am deeply honoured to be part of this special event in Australian history. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had many wonderful experiences in my career but this one is definitely the proudest,’ said Tina. ‘I hope that I, along with the other thousands of performers can help create an experience which is as inspirational as those which we will be seeing from the athletes of the world during the Games.’

‘Dare To Dream’: performed by John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John. Words and music by Paul Begaud, Vanessa Corish and Wayne Tester.
‘This is the biggest honour I’ve ever had – to sing for my country. I am very honoured,’ said Olivia. ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the Opening Ceremony in any capacity. As the finest young athletes on our planet gather in Sydney to test one another, to have been asked along with other Australia musicians to perform is an honour I will cherish always.’

‘Heroes Live Forever’ : performed by Vanessa Amorosi. Words and music by John Gillard and Trevor White.
‘I feel extremely honoured and excited to be involved in the Olympic Games. I am really looking forward to the Opening Ceremony, performing to the biggest television audience a performer could hope for,’ said Vanessa.

Other highlights at the Opening Ceremony will come from Julie Anthony, Human Nature, John Williamson and James Morrison.

Mr Birch said the songs and the performers would enhance the epic scale of the Opening Ceremony – the biggest in modern Olympic history.

Mr Birch said the three theme songs would have the same emotional and inspirational impact on the Sydney Olympic Games as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s ‘Friends for Life’ – performed by Jose Carreras and Sarah Brightman at the Closing Ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Games – and Celine Dion’s ‘Power of the Dream’ or Gloria Estefan’s ‘Reach,’ from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

The three Australian-composed songs were selected from approximately four thousand songs submitted from around the nation and overseas for consideration in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Ceremonies.

‘The songs, performers and musical arrangements will be part of a unique Australian welcome to the world at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games,’ Mr Birch said.

The songs will be highlights of a wholly-Australian original score created for the ceremony by leading composers of classical, popular and indigenous music.

‘The fact that the songs have been written and performed by Australians makes the Opening Ceremony distinctly Australian, reflecting our musical heritage in a contemporary fashion,’ said David Atkins, Artistic Director of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Ceremonies.

‘The official score is the culmination of three years work,’ David Atkins said. ‘Musical Director Max Lambert and his team appraised thousands of submitted songs and with Ric Birch and myself, Max and his team were responsible for the criteria, selection and development of the songs.’

Musical Director of Olympic Ceremonies, Max Lambert, said the feature Olympic Ceremony songs and arrangements would transcend cultural, linguistic and political barriers and focus attention on the athletes of the world.

‘It is the athletes who show us that we can achieve more than we believe possible. The Olympic Games help us to focus on our dreams, on who we are, what we are striving for and the songs touch on that,’ he said.

‘The songs provide an emotional connection to the content of the ceremony. When people look back on the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, it is the music that will always bring us back to the moments we shared with each other and the world,’ he added.

The songs will be performed by more than 3,500 choristers and featured performances by singers as John Williamson, Ric Herbert, Djakapurra Munyarryun and Nikki Webster.

Today’s announcement was made in Melbourne where the Australian performers are recording the official Opening Ceremony soundtrack.

Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Cast List

Principal Artists – (In Order of Appearance)

James Morrison
Human Nature
Julie Anthony, AM, OBE
Olivia Newton-John
John Farnham
Vanessa Amorosi
Tina Arena

Featured Performers

Adam Garcia
John Williamson
Ric Herbert
Djakapurra Munyarryun
Nikki Webster


Richard Mills
Bruce Rowland
Michael Askill
Elena Kats-Chernin
David Herschfelder
Paul Grabowsky
John Gillard & Trevor White
David Stanhope
David Page
Chong Lim
Pee Wee Ferris
Ian Cooper & John Frolich
Damien Halloran
Maria Millward
Paul Begaud & Vanessa Corish & Wayne Tester
John Foreman


Simone Young
Edo de Waart
David Stanhope
George Ellis


Sydney Symphony Orchestra


Members of Sing 2001 Choir
Sydney Philharmonia Choirs
Sydney University Musical Society
The Millennium Choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Sydney Children’s Choir.

Source: SOCOG