Last night was the final piece of my 30th birthday celebrations. My partner and I hopped on a coach to Sydney to go to the Handa opera version of Carmen. We had had to book onto a slightly later coach than we might have chosen and I had a morning full of meetings, so we knew we were going to be a bit pushed for time. We were dismayed to discover on arrival at the coach station that our coach was running an hour late and that the journey was likely to take longer than usual due to an accident.

Fortunately we were able to get seats on a competitor’s coach which actually left early. We’ve asked for a refund on our previous coach tickets but apparently they usually only do that for delays over 2 hours!! The traffic getting into Sydney was pretty terrible so we ended up arriving late BUT with just, literally just, enough time to throw our belongings into the hotel room, throw on our posh(er than the leggings I travelled in!) Clothes, grab a cab and arrive at the venue as they started announcing the performance was starting in 5 minutes!

The show itself was beautiful. Although watching the subtitles alongside the singing reminded me just how crazy operatic stories and songs are! The stage was built onto a pontoon and tilted slightly towards the audience, the orchestra were secreted away under the stage- presumably bobbing with the tides! I would get so immersed in the story and singing and dancing and theatrics that I would forget where we were and then… a bat would fly across the stage or a seagul would go through the lights- it was very surreal and wonderful. The Opera House and Bridge were part of the backdrop, as well as a skyline of skyscrapers. The stage was built on the side of Mrs Macquarie’s point- on the edge of the botanical gardens, and the auditorium was edged by trees wrapped in twinkling lights- the trees themselves all heavy with lianas and tropical looking. During the intermission we had a glass of fizz and I stood and gawped at the view- without overly labouring the point, I felt extremely lucky to be there. Extremely lucky to be taking in that view, to be drinking that fizz, eating (the worlds most expensive) churros, listening to world class opera (although I’m really a dance girl at heart), in that setting.. it was all really rather wonderful.

We walked back to our hotel from the point, it was quite a trek but we only got lost once! I was surprised by how tired we both were- I had spent a good amount of time on the coach journey napping- but I think as we relaxed into the evening all of the excitement (and sometimes stress) of the last few weeks and the structures we’d built in our heads to manage it all, started to ebb away a bit. So we didn’t stop off for another drink (we did, very classily pick up some MacDonalds (as we’d missed getting any food in the rush)!) and were curled up fast asleep by midnight… so I didn’t turn into a pumpkin. Phew.




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