Opera is More Refreshing than New Socks

Opera. Do I know anything about it? Nope. Do I love it anyway? Yeaaaaaasss!

Do I have a point? Am I going to stop with the self-answered questions? Should I just get on with it and write actual content? Where do butterflies go at night? When you eat a taco do you turn your head or do you turn the taco? Does pineapple belong on pizza because it was developed out of creativity or does it not because pineapple doesn’t come from Italy and pizza does?

You know what else is Italian originated? Opera, I think…

There was a little opera performance at the Dundullimal Homestead on Sunday. If you’re asking yourself what the halloumi that place is, me too. So I’m going to google it. Give me a second…

Okay, I’m back! The official website for the place says that it is “Believed to be the oldest sophisticated slab house in Australia, Dundullimal and its sandstone stables, timber church, and shed are a living illustration of rural life on an isolated property. The homestead and grounds are perfect for an extended visit for tourists, families and groups.” The website reckons that it was built in the early 1840s as the head station of a 6,500 hectare (26,000 acres) squatting run, the homestead is Dubbo’s oldest building that is open to the public.

Anyway, I was there for probably 3 hours-ish, and the only thing I learned about it is that it is really beautiful. So yes, there’s a few photos which have absolutely nothing to do with the opera. There were breaks in between performances for us to explore, so Lily got her hot chocolate, and so we did.

When I say “the opera”, I mean a bunch of snippets taken from like a million different operas (operas with actual full story lines and a theatre and stuff), but it was still high-quality, not that I have too much to compare it to. Truthfully, I was a little disappointed with the demographic it attracted. It was all Grandparents/Great Grandparents, and their God-blessed four or five-year-old grandkids who are all hopefully somewhat more appreciative and open in the name of art (whoop whoop, good luck kids!). But I don’t really blame people my age for not making an effort to show their faces in anyplace outside their comfort zone. I’m sure they’re all really busy rotting away with an enormous amount Dorito powder on their hands, refusing to admit that doing something outside the ordinary flow of life (like seeing down random opera) is about as refreshing as new socks, and really, complain all you want about getting them for presents, everyone loves new socks.

Anyway, Dad took Lily and I (because we are raised right). Lily was just utterly infatuated the whole way through (either with the music or with trying to eat her Doritos as quietly as possible). A couple of months ago, dad played Lily some songs from the Mandarin opera based on ‘Monkey Magic’ (yeah, the weird show from all your middle-aged childhoods, ask your parents kids) and she somehow figured out the whole basic story line, and just sat there, completely mesmerised. In case you haven’t caught on yet, my little sister is seven years into her life, and I don’t think there’s ever been a day where she hasn’t shocked and surprised someone with her intelligence. (Hi future Lily, thanks for reading my blog, you’re welcome).

Anyway, I didn’t know I knew that much about opera, composer-wise that is. For all you classical music nerds who are more informed than I, my favourite composer is Gershwin… now, anyone that knows what I’m on about, I’ll ask one more question. Did anyone know that Gershwin wrote opera??? I didn’t. But I was so pleasantly surprised.

For anyone who doesn’t know who Gershwin is, you’d honestly have to live under the biggest rock to have never come across his stuff. Let me real quick lift that rock for you (Hi Dwayne Johnson).

This one was in Fantasia (make the children watch that too please):

YouTube: George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue

He also wrote the original of this (which is what was performed at this thing, by the way, because it was written for a opera that he wrote called “Porgy and Bess”):

YouTube: Ella Fitzgerald – Summertime (1968)

Aaaaand my personal favourite, “Someone to watch over me”, which he wrote accidentally-on-purpose with his sibling. It accidentally ended up being in his first musical, which led to his accidental and apparent gaining of a very famous fan (that’s right Ella Fitzy, I see you there with all those covers). It ended up dancing into my earholes when it was covered in the movie “Fame” (the 2009 version, I know, I’m a peasant).

YouTube: Ella Fitzgerald Someone To Watch Over Me

And this was the original if anyone was wondering:

YouTube: Someone To Watch Over Me – George Gershwin plays his own composition on the piano (1926)

But the actual performances themselves were pretty well organised, considering they only had the piano, not that they needed any more sound coming from those speakers. They put so much energy and passion into what they were doing, as you’d have to obviously. One of the three performers (evidently my favourite because I don’t remember the other people’s names) was Rachel. She was undeniably a master of stagecraft. More than the other two, she seemed to be able to put her entire being into whatever character she was playing and mind you, they sang in Italian, Polish, German and French before they got to sing in English. The whole way through, she just seemed to break the language barrier with her voice control and body language. She just embodied the entire point of art, to express what someone feels and to make others feel the same way, no matter the barrier… and yeah… (casually tries to end a blog post the same way you end a speech that you completely stuffed up) “and yeah”.