After the talk, we went and had lovely plates of dumplings. These were not quite as good as the crystal dumplings in Singapore, but very tasty indeed.
Then, walking back toward the art museum (late afternoon was spent in the Australian galleries), I came across half-price tickets to tonight's performance of Pinafore and Trial By Jury by Opera Australia. It's terrific to see these performed so well. Almost all the Gilbert and Sullivan I see is amateur -- often very talented and extremely well-rehearsed amateur, but amateur nonetheless. Now, we've been talking a lot about the pros and the amateurs lately, and in writing I'm not sure I see much difference. In Gilbert and Sullivan, though, I have to admit it matters:
- People hit their notes.
- People know they're going to hit their notes. You don't see them getting ready, you don't see them making disaster plans. That translates to acting and dancing.
- Because the singers know they're going to hit their notes, and the orchestra knows they are going to hit them too -- yes, even the brass -- the audience can relax. You don't have the shadow of the ideal score in the back of your mind, pasting over the problem points. That makes for better user experience.
- The sets don't fall down. The actors know the sets won't fall down. They can swing from the railings, they can slide at the end of the dance, they can throw things.
I don't know if it was the hearing aids or the hall or the company, but the performance was loud -- even back in row P. Again, if you aren't worried about hitting your marks and hitting your notes, you can really stand up and speak out.