Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

Carmen at Gosford

May 19, 2017

It’s been a long time since we watched an opera. A good friend suggested we join up and see Carmen. Of course Carmen was the one we used to tap our feet with many years ago. I could never get enough of ‘Oh Toreador’ which is one of its main operatic attractions. Off we went a couple of days ago in our Peugeot. The car our daughter returned when her stolen car was finally able to get re-registered in her own name again. There is an opera waiting to be written just about that saga alone.

The last time we watched a real-life opera was Wagner’s ‘The dance of the Valkyries’ whose whole opera, the ambitious Ring Cycle takes a complete week-end to watch. I think that takes a lot of operatic keenness which I am still working towards. Some people find Wagner a bit moody and heavy but we loved the dance of the Valkyries. Perhaps sunny Australia isn’t the place for moodiness in music. I am sure Bizet’s Carmen would fall on better and more eager ears.

The Carmen production was held at a small 400 seat theatre in Gosford’s Laycock theatre.  Gosford used to be a small sleepy village in the fifties when I used to drive my parents there in my first car. This first car was a light blue Ford V8. A single spinner. It had brown leather seats. The front seat had a build-in ashtray and held three adults. People would buy a block of land around Gosford and work towards building a nice week-end retreat. Retirees would flock from Sydney to Gosford. It had a milk bar and its own railway station. On a quiet day you could hear sheep bleat.

Gosford isn’t a sleepy village anymore. It is huge. There are more traffic round-a-bouts than people or New York City.  The theatre itself is surrounded by so much traffic chaos we felt like giving up. Helvi even suggested we might have to go home. No bleating sheep anymore in Gosford. It wasn’t just the traffic and round-a-bouts. The visual assault with so much signage, a blur of gaping car sales yards. Big McDonalds. How can people even think of eating ?  It was next to a white severe looking building which had ‘Endoscopy’ written on it. Do people have a Big Mack and then go for a colonoscopy next door? What an amazing world we live in!

The theatre remained a distant prospect. We could see it as we drove around and around. Screaming tyres. Huge exhausts belching out smoke from road trains gone berserk. My hand gripping the steering wheel of the Peugeot as if  at any moment I would be dragged to the hangman’s scaffolding. I needed a good Carmen. We finally hurled ourselves from the round-about and parked next to the Endoscopy building. It felt safe.

The theatre itself an oasis of calm and serenity. Peaceful retirees. Lots of grey hair and muffled sounds. It was packed and the performance ready to start. An electronic buzzing indicating we should take our pre-booked seats. The theatre was fully booked. Amazing when you think this was Wednesday at 11 am. The Carmen production was just brilliant. A huge cast with the orchestra well hidden below the stage. Rousing responses from the audience after each song or performance. We enjoyed it thoroughly and it was well worth the drive and manic traffic and chaos. Isn’t it wonderful that despite the spiritual barrenness of the surroundings with all that blatant exposure of crass commercialism one also get those jewels of art and creativity?

The world isn’t as bad as we might sometimes believe.

Thank you Bizet.

Rhubarb; a Crumble or Pudding?

January 11, 2014


Excitement is mounting in this Bowral household. The rhubarb is on the ‘cusp’ of turning into a ‘crumble’. We have had the debate about what the differences are between the delights of puddings and cakes. There is now a new girl on the block; the ‘crumble’. (The word ‘cusp’ seems to have sprung up suddenly and conquered the world within days. In 2012 it was all the rage with ‘new paradigm’. Everyone all of a sudden wanted to ‘find’ their ‘new paradigm’. I lost mine in George Street, Sydney. No one has found it even though it had my name scribbled on it with Mob phone nr.)

Apropos pudding, cake, and now crumble, the debate still rages around the world from Gibraltar to NY city, Mexico to Sydney what the differences are. It is now generally conceded, even acknowledged, that one is steamed or boiled while the other is baked. A Christmas pudding is steamed or boiled in a cloth like other puddings. What about Yorkshire pudding? (steamed in a cloth 😉 ) There is black pudding in a net or cloth, and in the case of G getting an invitation years ago in Whitby to go ‘out for pudding’ this meant a cup of tea with a muffin in a sea-side Tea establishment. Kippers at Whitby was something totally different, it was neither. For a Europhile it remains all a bit like cricket, very esoteric.

The stalks of the rhubarb in our garden are still green. Helvi reckons not all rhubarb turns red. Last year it was green too. I then made a delicious crumble with apple, some muesli and lots of butter. The apples were the green ones, very tart but snappily juicy. The addition of cinnamon and a couple of cloves did add some spice although H reckoned the cloves were a bit over the top.

Anyway, the word crumble must indicate the looseness of it all. It crumbles. I am sure no-one could call it a pudding or cake. I have seen it being called a pie. I don’t know. I suppose there are meat pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, mince pies, why not rhubarb pie?

Yes, I googled rhubarb and the stalks can be green, green fading into pink or bright red. It is a fact of varieties and not of age or soil. Anyway, all stalks turn green when cooked. What a revelation!

untitledrhubarb crumble

I am struggling trying to make this tale amusing but I am not sure if rhubarb lends itself to humour as in lost socks or the profoundness of Pierre Cardin’s lost pyjamas, the pathos of a little boy’s lost train ticket.

Last night we had dinner at the local Royal Hotel. My favourite was on the blackboard ‘fresh pepper calamari’ with H’s choice being the ‘flat-head fish fillets and stringy chips’. A bottle of fine white ‘The Royal Chenin blanc’ in an ice bucket made it to our table as well.

Both meals were honest without pretence or concerns if they were puddings or cakes. I now will look at my rhubarb cooking results tomorrow and will call it either a cake or a crumble depending on its consistency. A cake, if it stays together, or crumble, if it crumbles. However, if it is all runny I leave the option open to call it a ‘slushy’
The RHUBARB SLUSHY.
It will take the world by storm. Phew…I made it!