Thursday, January 13, 2011

Madame Butterfly was magnificent. It was an excellent introduction to the opera world. The part of Madame Butterfly was sung with such emotion and expression that I found myself riveted with her performance. Her voice would soar with happiness and then the audience would hang on her whispered entry into another musical passage. The male lead had a wonderful voice but in my mind did not put as much passion into his performance. The costumes were very colourful but the set was quite simple but effective. I had to pinch myself to think that Barry and I were actually watching an opera in the Sydney Opera House, who would have thought. After the performance was over we wandered out on the steps and took in the Harbour Bridge lit up against the night sky, magic.

We continued our efforts to immerse ourselves in culture the next day. We headed to the Art Gallery of New South Wales to see the exhibition The First Emperor, China’s entombed warriors. There were examples of the underground army of the First Emperor of China on display. This army was discovered in 1974 and they have been working ever since then to uncover it and put it back together. The pits are thought to contain over 8000 life size soldiers, 140 chariots, 560 chariot horses and 116 cavalry horses all made out of terracotta. There was an example of each kind of warrior and horse on display as well as weapons, decorative buckles, pots, etc. The scope of the discovery is mind boggling. We were not allowed to photograph the exhibit but I have some pictures of the post cards I bought. We had a bowl of very good won ton soup in the gallery restaurant and then we were lucky to be able to see a display of Chinese martial arts put on as a special art outreach on Wed. evenings. The young guys were well trained and the skill was impressive. At times they look very fierce as they shouted out while completing their maneuvers.

Yesterday we took in the Sydney Observatory. It was established back in 1858 and astronomers observed the passing of Venus here in 1878 (I think). Barry is much more interested in astronomy than I am so he really enjoyed the displays. The Observatory is in a great location and there were wonderful views of Sydney from the top of the hill. After we walked up and down the area called The Rocks where sailors and all sorts of low life's used to hang about, there are small winding lanes leading between buildings that are cut into the rocks, very unusual.

Our bus pass expires today; we thought we might head out to the North Head of Sydney Harbour and wander around there, to finish off our week of exploring. We are not sure of where we are going or what we are going to do next but I will keep you up to date.