Some theatre each day keeps the doctor away…


with 6 comments

Saw Carmen at the Opera on the Harbour tonight.  I think I liked La Traviata better (the first Opera on the Harbour, last year).  Indeed, I did.  And that’s also because I think it’s a better opera than Carmen is – I remember my reaction to seeing Carmen, when I first did, at an Opera in the Domain a few years ago, was a bit of bemusement at the ending.

(I should apologise if I’m missing some b’s from my latest posts – my b button on my keyboard isn’t working properly at the moment.  Needs a bit of conscious effort to make it type, it does.)

Still.  Plenty of spectacle and all that (though I think, again, that La Traviata did the spectacle a bit better, perhaps – but it’s much closer than the relative qualities of the operas are).  I think I enjoyed the music  more this time around, not being as concerned with the plot as I was the first time.  (Not that I could remember all that much about it, but I certainly remembered what happened at the end.)

Took mother, with her walker (she’s only 61, in case you’re wondering, dear reader, whether she’s 87 or something; she has a bad back and bad balance), and ended up having to go around the back of one of the kitchens there to get to the lift.  (There were about five signs down this twisting corridor, and each sign had a picture of a disabled toilet and a lift on it, and pointed back the way we were coming.  Which was where the disabled toilet was, but not the damn lift!  There’s only so far one will go when one is constantly prompted that one is going the wrong way, yes?  (We asked someone, they showed us.)  The lift itself was rather interesting – almost like the kind that you’d see in a mine shaft.  It required an operator to press and hold a button, and also to manually slide the two doors shut before we could move.  It was a moving cage, basically – white-painted metal gridding, sort of.  There was much jolting at the start and end of the journey, too.  (The lift took us to the top of the Northern Terrace, such that mother only had to walk down ten rows from the top, rather than something like twenty to thirty rows from the bottom.)

And it didn’t rain.  There was a minor thunderstorm around my house earlier in the afternoon, and we passed through a shower or two or the way home, but not a drop of rain hit the stage or the seats during the run of the show (or the hour before it).  Utter miracle, it was.  The weather couldn’t have threatened any more if it had tried.

On the way out, someone was on the ground leaning against a wall/fence with either an ambulanceer (new word, just made it up, I like it) or a first aid person helping him.  Had a bandage pressed against one side of his head, and another wrapped around holding it in place.  Breath mask on.  I thought he was about thirty, thirty five – mother thinks he was more like fifty to sixty.  ‘Twas very hard to tell, as I didn’t want to stare, obviously, and I couldn’t see his face.  He sort of collapsed off a chair or something and sunk to the ground, and a bottle of water went flying and rolling off towards me, which I stopped, and returned it to them.  (My good deed for the year, then.)  I heard the ambulanceer saying “you haven’t broken anything”, so he must’ve fallen somewhere, I’m guessing.

Anyway, ’twas a long night.  And the Aboriginal guy who did the welcome-to-land thingy at the start went on for about five minutes, which made it a tad longer.  (And had virtually no charisma, methinks, so he couldn’t get away with it.)  The thought occurred to me that, if he had done the same thing at a footy match – a grand final or what have you – the crowd would’ve been booing at the one minute mark.  Like, for instance, he literally did what seemed to be a 360 degree tour of the suburbs in the area (which took about a minute).  As a critic, am I allowed to critique this?  Who knows.  I assume it does more for the cause if you’re not boring, though.

Anyway, anyway, I need my sleepies.  502/whatever in Don Quixote.


Written by epistemysics

March 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. Did you not think it might be more prudent to at least mention the singers by name, besides trying to provide a critique of the performances, and mention more than ‘spectacle’ when talking about the production?


    March 25, 2013 at 6:16 am

  2. Well, one could make the argument that – as the main selling point of the Opera on the Harbour series is that it has a spectacle that you wouldn’t get inside the Opera Theatre – the spectacle should be the main point of consideration in a critique of it…

    But this post is merely a diary entry – it’s not meant to be anything like a proper review.


    March 25, 2013 at 7:08 am

    • Hi Adam
      you may be surprised to know there has been a mixture of derision and disgust around the opera and theatre cyber scene after this “diary entry” has been circulated. What you write – given you were there on comps from OA unfortunately gets some airplay it probably doesn’t deserve. there have been a number of artists and serious theatre-opera goers who have responded by writing to OA suggesting this sort of “writing” is in no way worthy of freebies. So far OA continue to support their current policy-lucky you- but a poor reflection on their publicity dept. Is there a review that takes the experience more seriously on the way? I worked in opera education for ten years to give young people a chance to experience opera and understand what they were seeing and hearing. This sort of shallow writing shows exactly why that is still desperately needed out there. have a read of Rohan’s review for the ABC and get an idea of what can be written from a complete novice. maybe you could donate your future opera freebies to him since you clearly had a ‘failure to engage”

      sadly posted from your neighbour in the row on opening night…..

      Vicki Watson

      March 25, 2013 at 8:46 am

  3. Hi Vicki,

    Indeed, I am very surprised to learn of what you say, especially since this page has had a grand total of 18 page views since I posted it. I think you, and whoever else it is that is upset with me, have misunderstood what this blog is. I do not receive comps for my writing on this blog, nor have I ever received comps for my writings on this blog. Rather, I receive comps for my work at – among other places – a site called Theatre People.

    Here are some reviews of a few of this year’s operas from there:

    Orpheus in the Underworld (http://theatrepeople.com.au/reviews/orpheus-underworld)
    Falstaff (http://theatrepeople.com.au/reviews/falstaff)
    Il Trovatore (http://theatrepeople.com.au/reviews/il-trovatore)
    A Masked Ball (http://theatrepeople.com.au/reviews/masked-ball)

    I certainly agree that this diary entry of mine is not up to the standard that should be expected from someone getting comp tickets, but as I don’t get comp tickets for it, it isn’t meant to be. Does that answer your questions?


    March 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

    • Yes thanks- that does explain the tone and content. Sadly once you put things in print they are available to be read outside of the Blog context. I have however now read your Falstaff review for which you did receive comps. As in the other reviews I am glad to see you have given more thought and preparation to the writing. I have done a number of lectures on Falstaff this year. I might have hoped you could refer to something more about the performance than the frustrations you felt with the surtitles based on a lack of understanding of the libretto and its genesis. Whether a fontana is a fountain( which it is) or a Brook – as Shakespeare named the charcter- ( there are many changes that Boito ingeniously employed in this superb Italian libretto for which I found the translation back into English excellent) . Falstaff was the last masterpiece of the greatest writer of Italian opera writing with the librettist he most admired and felt akin to.Verdi wrote it for himself- not for commission or an audience as such- he risked that it would be misunderstood though in Italy it is revered. He loved and knew Shakespeare’s works intimately over the more than 60 years he studied them. ( in Italian translation) There is so much more to this opera than such superficial minutiae- interesting as both you I may find it! I hope your opera studies may lead you closer to the passion for the art form and its performance that might inform your reviews further. Artists and even opera scholars( occasionally;) will read your blog and your reviews. Take care as you never know where your words may end up! cheers V

      Vicki Watson

      March 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

  4. I think the fact that the writer devoted over half the entry to the conveyance of his mother and to quaint observations on the way home speaks volume.


    April 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm

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