If you are a music lover but not familiar with opera, than can be no better introduction than adding an outdoor stage and the magnificent setting of Sydney harbour, with the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as backdrop. The magic of opera comes through not only the classical singing but also the dramatic storylines and majestic staging.
This year Aida is being performed by Opera Australia as the third annual Handa Opera On The Harbour, following Carmen and Madame Butterfly of the previous two years.
Opera stories are always big so the magnificence of the harbour adds to staging and costuming as well as the performance. In the case of Aida it's a story of a three way love. Egyptian leader Radames has two women who love him, both the daughters of kings: one is the daughter of the Pharaoh and the other Aida the daughter of the Ethiopian King who has been enslaved to serve the Pharaoh's daughter. Opera unlike Hollywood blockbusters doesn't give usually give us a happy ending. Verdi's musical masterpiece is no exception. Get the picture?
Brava this year to diva American soprano Latonia Moore who lit the stage under the stars in her shining performance in the Aida lead.
Of course a night at the theatre demands a few things. Firstly, get dressed up; theatre of any type deserves it - particularly on opening night! But who needs a special occasion to be fashionable? My friend (and fellow Sydney Scoop writer) Marlo Perry was a glamorous companion in lilac Vivian Westwood silk under a silver sequinned jacket worn as she always does with wonderful accessories including fabulous patterned Prada shoes. She must have known something as the patterned fabric of her shoes was a pretty good match for the fabric of the dress on Aida. Just good intuition or great fashion sense or both? (Don't forget to pack your good manners too. We were gobsmacked to see some of the audience stand up and leave during the curtain calls.)
Before the performance starts and during interval there should always be bubbles. Chris Tyrrell was on hand to clink flutes of sparkling Tyrrells Wines 2011 Pinot Noir Brut as we started our evening.
Having dinner before a show is a lovely way to start a night out, and this year Fresh Catering came to the party to once again provide a marvellous dinner with a theme - this year the theme was middle eastern food to match the Aida opera setting. Sitting at white cloths with table service and that view across the water in the under cover Platinum Club Restaurant was our choice for pre-opera dining where we enjoyed three a la carte North African inspired courses. Fresh Catering are also offering a hot and cold mezze buffet at the Platinum Club Bar and have simpler choices around the grounds at the Northern and Southern Terraces, The Northern Cantina, the scenic QANTAS Garden Club and a number of satellite Sparkling and Oyster Bars.
As well as this four week pop up, Fresh Catering support a number of arts venues around Sydney including providing the catering at Carriageworks, Sydney Theatre Company, The Museum Of Contemporary Art and The Museum Of Sydney, just for starters.