Director Michael Sturminger and conductor Martin Haselböck, will set the stage for Malkovich to bring to life the master scoundrel of seduction Giacomo Casanova at the Sydney Opera House.
He will be joined on stage by actress Ingeborga Dapkünaité, soprano Martene Grimson, baritone Andrei Bondarenko and the Sydney Symphony, as he performs excerpts from Casanova's 1790 memoir, Histoire de ma vie, interspersed with the music from some of Mozart's most beloved operas - Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi fan tutte.
Sydney will be transformed into an "epic theatre of music, drama and suspended disbelief" for the Festival First Night with some of the biggest names of the festival: country singer Emmylou Harris, rocker iOTA and US hip hop act Arrested Development performing for free.
The first night events will be held throughout Sydney venues The Domain, Hyde Park, Chifley Square and Martin Place ranging from a children's show in the afternoon with Lah-Lah's big band, circus company Circa to Nashville's The Dynamites fronted by soul man Charles Walker, iOTA and the cast of Smoke & Mirrors.
First Contact, a 12-storey high multi-media projection artwork based on Captain Cook's exploration of the South Pacific against a live soundtrack by DJ NOMAD alongside SouthPacific dancers and drummers will feature in the first night.
A series of films and music will be explored at: A Night at the Quad about the glorious chemistry between the two mediums.
Amidst the grandeur of The University of Sydney's Quadrangle the special screenings will project against live music by the soundtrack artists, such as Somersault directed by Cate Shortland with Sydney band Decoder Ring to play live before the screening and One Night the Moon a film 'opera' directed by Rachel Perkins with live music by Kev Carmody, Mairead Hannan and Paul Kelly.
Free concerts will be held on Saturday nights in the Festival in the Domain. The music and performance under the stars includes a stellar live line-up of Los Lobos and The Real Mexico, to experience whilst sprawling on a picnic rug on The Domain's grassy field.
If all that dancing, art watching and theatre going has left you hungry a range of Sydney's best restaurants offer special deals throughout the festival. Check out the participating restaurants here.
If you feel like grooving to some cool tunes and in need of some socialising Beck's Festival Bar will serve up eclectic sounds and cutting-edge music at the historic Hyde Park Barracks Museum.
Entry is free after 11.30pm until late.