It’s been weeks since we were in Sydney. I apologize for that. Somehow, in the rush and excitement of moving from New Zealand to Australia, I never did write about our time in that most famous Australian city. But now that we’ve been settled for a while and I’ve had time to collect my thoughts, I may as well fill you all in on our stay there.
Let me start by saying that Sydney is one of those places that I’ve always wanted to see. Always, of course, meaning since I watched Finding Nemo as a little kid. Ever since then, Sydney has been right up there with Paris, Rome, Cusco, and Athens. The Sydney Opera House was near the top of my bucket list, for sure. Not only is it an architectural masterpiece, it’s a center for some of the most famous, historical music in the world. How could I not be a fan?
And, much to my delight, it was right outside our hotel room window. Holiday Inn gave us three free nights at their hotel on the Circular Quay. The view was incredible. In the mornings, the sun rose from behind the Opera House, gilding its graceful curves with gold, and turning the pure white shells to fire. As Louis Kahn, an American architect, once said, “The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building.”
We woke to that every morning. And every night, the Opera House would glow with a warm light from its perch near the water, beckoning people and sea birds alike to come nearer. Well-dressed tourists, wanderers, and citizens thronged to it each night to listen to the opera playing there, while hundreds of gulls floated in the sky above like snowflakes against the pitch black night. Maybe they came just to listen to the music.
And oh, what music it was! I perched in my seat near the very back and fell into a blissful music-induced coma. It was like nothing I’d ever heard before. Glorious waves of pure sound, rolling through the theatre and into the very souls of those listening. In that moment, I fell in love with music all over again. It was as if raw emotion had been magically instilled into the soft tones of the cellos, the sweet insistence of the violins, the beautiful voices of the singers. One moment the music would lift you to a state of ecstasy, the next you’d find yourself plunging into despair. It could make you laugh, or bring tears to your eyes. And strangest of all, it all felt real. Beautiful, how something as natural as music can take a simple story and turn it into the masterpiece that is La Traviata.
It lasted three hours. Three incredible hours that somehow felt like the best fifteen minutes of my life. I apologize for being unable to describe it adequately. Even if I was the most gifted and eloquent writer in the world I don’t think I would be able to fully capture the experience with mere words. Better to simply say that it was a dream come true, and one of the best musical experiences of my life, and leave it at that.
In the words of Plato, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”