A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from the (sydney) magazine informing me that I was one of three competition winners. Our prize – a backstage tour of the Sydney Opera House followed by two tickets to see the second last performance of Puccini’s La bohème by Opera Australia. What a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I had never been to the opera before – or indeed, even to the Sydney Opera House. This was the perfect opportunity for me to cross two experiences off my list!
My guest and I arrived at Stage Door at the Opera House, and met our tour guide Gabrielle, Marketing Manager (New Audiences) for Opera Australia. She took us and the other competition winners and their guests on an intimate tour behind-the-scenes of the production. We visited the Green Room, the makeup room (where we met the four male leads of the opera and had a short conversation with them!) and the costumes department. The stage manager then took us onto the stage to explain the mechanics of how they change sets for each act, as well as giving us a lot of insider information.
Following the tour, my guest and I headed to Opera Kitchen for a quick snack before the show started. Acting on a tip from Gabrielle, we ordered the fries with parmesan and truffle oil for the budget-friendly price of $10.
These fries were simply magical, with each one having the subtle intoxicating flavour of truffles infused into them. It was like a celebration in my mouth, and all the truffle fries were invited!
Here’s a tip – if you find Opera Bar a bit pricey, Opera Kitchen is the perfect budget-friendly option next door, with equally magnificent views over Sydney Harbour. Take your next out-of-town guests to Opera Kitchen on a Sunday afternoon for a few drinks and a bowl of truffle fries, and you’re laughing!
Heading back to Joan Sutherland Theatre, we took our (prime position!) seats for the show. The red curtain rose, and the show began…
I laughed, I cried, I felt my heart twinge as voices soared. Even when you don’t understand the language, the sheer intensity of emotion in opera performances touches you in a way you couldn’t imagine. I think I’ve now become an opera fan after just one performance, and am already starting to plan a group outing to Carmen on Sydney Harbour in the next month.
I definitely recommend a visit to the opera at least once in your life. It’s an experience unlike any other, and definitely one for the memory books!