This post was going to be called “Night at the Opera.” But then I let the cat out of the bag in my last post and so figured that I had to change the title. Anyway, the whole thing began on the day after I landed in Oz, when I went for a wander in the city. After a meeting with a friend at the State library, I walked down toward the harbour via the botanical gardens, entering near or rather over the conservatory and ending at the Opera House. That iconic structure, which depending on your perspective and perhaps mood seems to resemble a flurry of sails or a collection of oyster shells, and the silhouette of which has come to symbolize Sydney and it’s harbor all over the world.

Here are some of my shots of the place – from within and without and from different angles:

The standard pic

IMG_0440

Looking out from within

IMG_0455

Concert Hall ceiling

IMG_0460

Opera house from whaling boat

IMG_0548

At the Opera House I signed up for an architectural tour and learned some fascinating tidbits about the history of the place. It was then that I found out that Aida had just opened, and I couldn’t resist telling our guide that I was in fact a visitor from Aida-land. AND that I had seen her in her homeland at the Cairo Opera just a few months ago. Which delighted him and lead to a long conversation about Egypt and tourism (for his benefit) but the bait was hooked. After our conversation I wandered back to the ticket counter and found out that there was a show on the day after I was getting back to Sydney after my conference. And that there were a few seats left. So after a quick phone consultation with my host(ess) Sapna, who was a good sport and thought that she might enjoy the experience once, I got us a couple of tickets. After all, I figured it was my birthday a few days after the show. I figured I’d indulge myself.

But the real indulgences came later! First, later the same evening that I bought the tix, Sapna and her husband Ananth, joined me in the city and took me out to a marvelous dinner at a classic Sydney venue complete with with a view of the night-lit Opera House. With a half dozen fresh oysters on my plate and the view of the oyster shells against the night sky, it was a a lovely time. Then on the actual night of the opera, we got there early enough for me to inquire about the possibility of an upgrade. And got the absolute best seat in the house. Center of the balcony front row which meant not only more leg room (by the way I have to hand it to the architect, this is the first time I went to a concert or Opera Hall where my knees wouldn’t cramp in excruciating pain midway through the concert no matter where I sat) but no heads to obstruct my line of vision. Cost me a pretty penny but it was worth it!

The performance itself was a Grand Spectacle as all good operas should be. There were unfortunately no live elephants or other animals as I’ve been told performances of Aida often have, and it is an unfortunate fact of opera that the characters can’t look their parts. No Soprano can truly look like Aida who is supposed to be a waifish Ethiopian slave girl – they are just too plump and buxom (deep chested ?) but then they need to be so in order to sing. But the visuals were interesting, and quite lavish, though not as golden and kitsch as the ones in the Cairo Opera House. The costumes and jewelry were everything one could have hoped for. The music was outstanding, and in this respect both singers and orchestra in the Sydney AIDA far outdid the my Cairo experience. As was the experience of stepping out when it was all over into the balcony with it’s stunning view of the harbour. So to sum it all up in one word – Magic!

And with that I’ll take my bow and bring the curtain down on this post.

Advertisements