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Few updates ... some reasons :-)

First reason: My mother and father are visiting us. It's their first time in Australia! As you can imagine, I am enjoying their company and spending more time away from the computer.

Second reason: My job is keeping me very very busy and find little time to actually spend time keeping other people informed about what's going on or sharing thoughts outside the direct realm of interest from my job.

Third reason: I am not a good writer :)

November 13, 2005 in Australia | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sydney Opera House

On Friday night we went to the Sydney Opera House to listen to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

We heard three different works. The first one was "New Norcia" from Sculthorpe, an Australian compositor. Then the "Symphony No 5" from Schubert and finally, the main act, the musical poem "Harold in Italy" from Berlioz.

Richard Gill was the conductor and Roger Benedict the viola. Roger Benedict is also the Symphony's Principal viola.

The first impressions that we can share started actually a few hours before the concert, as we walked towards the Opera House, on a magnificent afternoon. The location that was chosen for this building is just stunning, overlooking the harbour, it really blends perfectly with its surroundings ... or maybe we just get that feeling because it's now such a symbol that we cannot separate Sydney from its Opera House and we believe that it always was there. Danielle's father worked on the site before the construction was started, in 1961. He mentioned last night that, back then, there were no Halls that could receive more than 2000 people and that was one of the main reasons why the competition for the design and construction of the building was started.

As we walked inside and had some champagne overlooking Circular Quay, all the people attending the Opera passed by, in their best gowns. You could hear people speaking different languages, some of which we can recognise because we spent 4 years in The Netherlands ;-) (dutch, german, french, etc).

The main Concert Hall is huge, it can sit more than 2,000 people. It is a beautiful hall with a very large pipe organ. I expected this Hall to be similar to the different Opera Houses I've seen around the world, with a lot of velour. This one was different, modern maybe, still a beautiful mix between noble materials like wood and more modern ones.

The acoustics were fabulous! The clarity of the sound surprised me with the first movement of the Symphony No 5 of Schubert. I was "blown away" by the surrounding sounds! It was as much of an acustic delight as visual, the lights were kept mostly on, focussing on the Orchestra.

The Symphony is mostly composed of women, which is quite unusual. You could see how different musicians had very different styles when playing the same instruments, some were more "organic" and some more "precise" in their movements. The "organic" players would balance their whole body when playing, following the movements dictated by the conductor, who looked like one would expect, crazy white hair, tall and completely into the music.

My father, a musician as well, enjoyed both the music as well as the setting. He told me that the Symphony was good but his experience was more "architectural" as it is the first time that him (and my mother) come to Australia. They had selected a concert they wanted to see by looking at the website from the Opera House from Argentina, a few months ago. Next time they come over, they are going to purchase the tickets as well :-)

When I left I had the feeling that I will come back to the Opera House, listen to more concerts and maybe educate myself a bit more so I can enjoy the concerts more than just true pleasure but also through understanding.

November 13, 2005 in Australia | Permalink | Comments (0)