Sunday, April 15, 2018

La Boheme 1

Wentworth Avenue in Surry Hills wasn't quite as steep as I remembered from one Sydney visit when we walked back to College Street from Chinatown. We found Commonwealth Street, a shorter and less steep and more direct to get from our hotel to Museum Station. We were a bit early to check into our hotel and so killed some time with a very nice snack at the nearby Bar Stella. The hotel check in was painless and we were happy with our room once the missing tv remote was replaced and the air con control panel fixed.

We had arranged to meet Victor for a very early dinner at Rossini, a restaurant at Circular Quay and then make our way to the venue for La Boheme. While it was a good location and the service was ok, R's and Victor's meals, chicken schnitzels, were pretty well inedible. I could see how old and stale they looked when they arrived at the table. I had mussels and it was a nice enough dish.

While I had looked at options to get to the venue. Victor said we could walk through the Botanic Gardens as long as we did so before 6:30 when the garden gates close. I saw this myself on the La Bom website. But by the time we reached the gate at 6, the gates were closing. It would be a long walk right around the gardens to get there.

But I had investigated water taxis. Victor did not know about such touristy things as being transported on Sydney Harbour by a water taxi. He lives in a nice Sydney eastern suburb that was once served very well by public transport. It is not so good now, he not even being able to get a bus directly to Circular Quay, so he needs a car. Rather odd really when his local Federal member is so pro public transport and is our Prime Minister. The water taxi service we used was set up to service people like us who were attending La Bom. It left from the Man o' War Steps on the far side of the Opera House. The Harbour was choppy and the boat was a rocking, so it was moved to face another direction where it settled down enough for us to board. It cost us each $10 for perhaps a ten minute trip to the Boy Charlton Pool, close to the venue. Oh, swimmers in the pool, somebody mentioned. As we crossed over the pool on metal walkway, sure enough, a swimmer with a stunning body passed underneath. I was a little ahead and it was pointless in drawing Victor's and R's attention to the swimmer. We walked up a hill using a short flight of steps and there we were. Easy and painless. We collected our tickets and entered and we had about an hour to kill before the performance. We quaffed a drink bought at a cart and mooched around until it was time to take our seats.

Is this tower on its third name? Whatever, it a very visible Sydney building.


The photos aren't very good but give you an idea.


We would certainly stay at the The Travelodge again.




The view from our room. Mark Foys was once a department store and I assume the Griffiths Tea building was the company head office and perhaps factory. Wonderfully repurposed buildings. The hotel we were in was once the site of Dunlop Rubber.


I don't think this pub was always called Hotel Harry.


Boy Charlton Pool, named after a famous Australian swimmer who I know little about.


The stage, representing Montmartre, Paris.


In the background....


While the performance wasn't sold out, some estimations by us thought it could seat a little short of 2000 people. So say with some empty seats, there were at least 1500 in the audience, which is not a bad crowd for a Tuesday night. Weather wise, it could not have been better.


It was a great spectacle and the story was simple to follow, especially with surtitles on four different screens. Man meets woman, fall in love and have a stormy relationship, she dies of consumption and everyone is  grief stricken. It went for two hours plus a long 40 minute intermission and towards the end I was kind of wishing she would die a bit more quickly and also that I had a remote control to turn the baritone down a bit. But really,we did enjoy it. 


Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Luna Park in the background.


It had been transposed to Paris in the 1960s. After intermission these two wrecked cars with one aflame. As Victor promised, at 8.25 there were fireworks. He knew they would happen as he can hear them from his abode.


One very amusing part was when a man in a basket suspended by balloons (and a crane) floated around around from the back of the stage and across the front, to pause where a boy on the street grabbed hold of a dangling rope below the basket and floated off over Sydney Harbour. 

The performers took their bows as we viewed from the path out.


We caught the first water taxi back to Quay rather than the Man 'o War Steps and said our farewells to Victor and back to the hotel by train. We were soon dreaming of Paris but perhaps loving Paris in the springtime rather than winter. Oh yes we, had been performance snowed upon a little during the night when a brief minor wind swirl came along.  It really was quite a spectacle.

29 comments:

  1. It sounds like a lovely evening - and I am glad you got the bonus of eyeing off the swimmer.

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    1. EC, Sydney for tourists is a wonderful city. Just not so much if you live in the areas the tourist maps don't cover.

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  2. What a marvellous eveing!
    Thank you for sharing :)

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    1. Marvellous is a good word Jayne. Thanks.

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  3. Oh! That would have been a fantastic/experience/evening. I love La Boheme...how wonderful! :)

    I hope you have a good week, Andrew. :)

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    1. Cheers Lee. It was worth the effort.

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  4. Wishing for the main character to die sooner made me laugh. I'd probably be thinking the same thing.

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    1. This reminded me of a performance of The Diaries of Anne Frank in London. The girl who played Anne was so bad, that the audience were shouting out "She's in the loft" when the soldiers came looking for her.

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    2. Ad Rad, Victor seemed to enjoy it, and he knows about opera, so the actual opera part must have been ok, but just not our thing.

      Cro, that may have been in the back of mind when I wrote that. I wonder if that story is an urban myth or true.

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    3. The Anne Frank theatre story is a myth; there are references to it on the internet. Good joke though.

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    4. Victor, I too may have heard it is a myth.

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  5. Charlton was a handsome surfer kid in Sydney who won gold medals and world records for swimming at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. In the 1950s, all the boys surfing in Sydney (including my beloved) called themselves Boy.

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    1. Haha Hels, Surfer Boy Joe. Love it.

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  6. Water Taxi, a great idea but I expect many that live in Sydney don't know they exist if not having to use.
    The Hotel looks alright, often we don't know until we enter the room.

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    1. Margaret, apparently we have them here, but I don't know about ours. In recent years, we have never really been disappointed by accommodation. Just some is better than others.

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  7. Kudos to Travel Lodge, your room looks very clean and neat. I'm glad you enjoyed the performance, I don't enjoy opera at all, but an outdoor performance would be better than inside I think.
    Odd that Victor didn't know about the water taxis.

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    1. River, R's belated birthday present turned out well. Sydney is always great to see and for us, the weather was perfect. Keen to make the point that you don't know about Adelaide's water taxis, I Googled, but it seems you really don't have them.

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    2. Andrew’s theatrical licence I think River. I know that there are water taxis on Sydney Harbour but I didn’t know details of their service for the Opera program.

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    3. Victor, my tendency to the theatrical has been corrected. Thank you.

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  8. Great that you had a good time in Sydney. Opera isn't my cup of tea, so I would be wishing for an earlier death too, lol.

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    1. Sami, it was entertaining, but I am with you. I would not want to go to an indoors venue to see it.

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  9. Ahhh memories of polenta chips in the opera bar

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    1. John, Victor knows us well enough and chose the cheap for the cheap. We nearly got to the Opera Bar once, a few years ago, but ended up dining at Woolloomooloo pub.

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  10. Not a fan of Rossini. For next time? I'd recommend the cafe at MCA or Opera Bar for well priced food in the same neighbourhood.

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    1. James, Victor is readily taking the blame for the choice of where to dine. Isn't the Opera Bar very expensive?

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    2. It's not Macca's cheap, but it's also not over the top with mains in the late 20s. https://operabar.com.au/s/menu-all-day

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    3. We may dine there the next time we are in Sydney. The name makes it sound quite upmarket.

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  11. I like vie w from your room. Love from Poland

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    1. Gosia, it was a nice surprise for us.

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