I was a little bit dubious about this concert before going. I was worried that it would just be ‘greatest (opera) hits’, and in one sense, that was true. But it was a privilege to see the wonderful soprano Sumi Jo, and Australians Amelia Farrugia and Stuart Skelton.
I had forgotten how much I miss opera; yes, the plots are often toxically silly, but the pure beauty of the voices makes you forget that you’re listening to the nineteenth century’s equivalent of The Bold and The Beautiful. I think I may be going up to Sydney a bit more next year.
The orchestra boasted some severe sunburn on some ladies’ arms in the string section. It was 30 degrees when the concert began, and they had been rehearsing for hours, if not days, outside, no doubt.
This was my first visit to the Arboretum. As Mr Poetix said, it will be very nice when there are trees. But there are currently great views over Canberra from the site. Sitting on a seat, I envied those with picnics on the grass; and children frolicked in front of the stage until an announcement was made that they should sit down. I thought the applause following that announcement was a tad unnecessary.
The accessibility to the site is a worry for those with mobility issues, being very steep; and paths are pure gravel at best. My major gripe is that there were, I believe, more male toilets than female at tonight’s event. Easily fixed if you’re bold, but many women are not.
We had a quick meal after the concert in the round building at the top of the hill, catered by the excellent Hudson’s catering. As you’d expect, there’s a lot of wood on display, in the rather James Bond villain style building.
Here’s a photo of Sumi Jo with Chris Latham.
All in all this was a great night, and I would recommend going next year, particularly for anyone who has never sampled opera before.