Last night, after The Dream of Gerontius, I had a revelation.
I loathe the Opera Bar with the best of them. Too many times, after leaving some amazing (or even not-so-amazing) sonic experience in the Concert Hall or Opera Theatre, I’ve been made to feel as if I’m running a gauntlet. It really can put a sour note on the end of an otherwise lovely evening. The problem is this: the Sydney Opera House sits on a peninsula; the Opera Bar dominates the narrow neck of the approach. There is simply no avoiding it.
But this is no revelation.
The revelation is this: I have realised that it is not the music of the Opera Bar that I object to. Not one bit. Even after nearly two hours of Elgar my feelings about the Opera Bar as I passed on Wednesday night were positively, well, positive (as opposed to my usual “When the revolution comes…” mutterings). So what was the difference? The bar was relatively empty and there was next to no one in the outdoor area. The music was playing unimpeded and could, for a change, be “heard” in the true sense.
In other words, it isn’t the Opera Bar music that’s so objectionable, it’s the roar of the crowd.
Squash more than a hundred people in a confined space, arm them with alcohol and play some music (any music) and what will happen? The noise level will increase as the revellers raise their voices over each other and over the music (which they’re not really listening to anyway). I think the word is “din”. There’s a Tarpeian Way not far off – Opera Bar patrons at their lustiest could easily fill the role of furious Roman crowd, baying for the blood of the next criminal to be tossed from the heights.
There is another post buried in this, but meanwhile: When the revolution comes, the Opera Bar may continue playing its music, but I insist that it be closed to patrons between 9.30 and 10.30 on concert nights.
Septimus, am I the first person to have thought of this?
The Dream of Gerontius is a “dream”, yes? So why does the old man not wake up and find that he has only been sleeping?