Posts Tagged ‘Wagner’

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.

The Hypo or Hyper-Thyroiditis? That’s the question.

February 18, 2016
The Newspaper-seller.

The Newspaper-seller.

It does no harm to sometimes give in and go see the good doctor. I don’t really have an ‘own’ doctor, but visit a community health centre. It is surely a sign of good health not having a regular doctor. However, yesterday I received a letter to get my TFT test done. (Thyroid Function Test.)

Readers of this blog might remember the good days when living on the farm while driving back from shopping and arriving home, with Helvi opening the farm gate, she used to find me sound asleep by the time she got back into the car. This caused her alarm but not to me. It is very difficult to be alarmed when in a state of total non-alarm…

Some years before I was found to be asleep up-right at a lively party. People were jigging about with Carly Simon singing away. Some were also talking in great excitement. One party person,  caught me to listen attentively about how well his retirement fund was performing. He spoke about the benefits of compound interest, and how in twenty six years he would be able to retire on $674.50 a week. His superannuation fund was as flushed as he looked, really super.  He then tugged Helvi. ‘Your husband is not well, he is asleep,’ he said. ‘ ‘It happened while I was talking to him too.’ ‘ Can you believe it?’  ‘Oh yes,’ Helvi said. ‘He is not really suited for parties.’  ‘Don’t worry, it is not you, he falls asleep willy dilly at any time.’ The friend needed lots of reassuring. He wasn’t the most confident nor the best jigger. Perhaps, that was the attraction.

Farm gates or retirement funds do not by themselves induce sleep. However, it was felt I should get this investigated. I had my blood examined. The doctor noticed that every time the tests came back they showed up differently. ‘You have a dysfunctional thyroid,’ he enthused, finally getting rewarded for his persistence.  Since then I am taking a tablet that is suppose to balance my  thyroid and avoid sleeping upright or at farm gates.

Reading up about the Thyroid gland I wonder how much we control of what and who we are.  I am beginning to believe that we are more subject to our inherited genes than generally believed. I know that modern psychological trends are very much on the ‘unique’ individual and hammer home those terrific choices of who and what we want to be, and steer us into endless avenues of selections, opportunities and changes, and eventually becoming the real person of our choice. Book shops are chock-a-block and full of titles and promises of becoming whatever we want. The world is our oyster. Just buy the book and add some lemon with insight.

I am not too sure. Yes, we can chose to stay in bed or get up, eat a boiled four minute egg or a fried one, but what about those matters of joy or gloom? The tendencies for laughter, good cheer, bonhomie or their counterpart; the moroseness, heaviness and despair? Where do they come from and is it really a matter of pure choice.

To take the simple thyroid gland with hypo-thyroiditis and its effects, just cop this! “Patients are likely to have symptoms of lethargy, low energy levels, low heartbeat, anxiety.” The opposite of those with hyper-thyroiditis. “They tend to be more excitable, over-energetic, rapid heartbeat,  suffer nervousness and have trouble sleeping.”

I can still fall asleep no matter how exciting the event. I fell asleep during Wagner’s ‘The dance of the Valkyries!’ I have enjoyed that ability since my early teen years. I don’t know how often I went past my railway station after work or be jolted awake after my head came to rest on a passenger’s shoulder. I like it and feel on top of the world afterwards.

Next time I really should write about what it is that makes me wide awake and excited beyond endurance.