Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who's Impersonating Farrelly?

REMARKABLE! Betty Farrelly writes about the Opera House, which cannot accomodate an orchestra pit, and, just for once, renders a sensible opinion in prose no worse than mildly tangled. All the same, it is a little worrying. What is they say about the end of days, when lions are supposed to crib with lambs and all those prophesied inversions of the norm?

If Betty keeps it up next week, don't bother picking up that Christmas turkey. The world will end before you can get it in the oven.


  1. There is an orchestra pit at the SOH, Opera Theatre, Prof. It aint big, but it's definitely there. That shows how accurate La Farelly is.

    Of course poor old Melbourne doesn't have the equivalent, so I can understand Melburnians trying to indulge in a bit of Schadenfreude in this instance.

  2. The vast majority of representations of Australia (at least in my preferred televisual genres) is a shot of the Opera House, just as it is destroyed from above; falling rocks, orbital laser cannon, alien invasion, etc. As such, the Opera House is one of those unmistakably "Australian" icons that even silly yanks recognise as Australia and should be rebuilt each time it is destroyed to maintain the image.

    The billion dollar price tag hopefully includes this in it's estimation.

  3. A sensible opinion? In relative terms only. Farrelly writes of “[Utzon’s] way of having the last laugh on Sydney - much as Leonardo had the last laugh on the church by secreting rude and heretical symbolism within apparently devotional works.”

    What? Does she (or anyone else) have any proof outside of a poorly written novel of bizarre “heretical symbolism” within Leonardo’s works?

  4. The bit about them needing 'smokers shelters' is especially piquant. It was government who banned smoking inside in the first place - now they have to foot the bill for sending smokers outside.

    Farrelly copped a lot of flak from the left about this column, in which she points out that Rudd and Gillard's education stimulus projects often took up a lot of space that poor suburban schools didn't have. And the right didn't seem to notice it.

    Her brief for the Fairfax papers is basically to write about architectural matters, and in my opinion she has some good insights on these matters.

  5. While the "philosophy" behind Betty's argument is compelling, her ignorance of the facts surrounding WHY the Opera Theater has no fly tower or pit, is all too expected. It was never Utzon's or Hall's problem. The problem arose when the ABC, coming to the rescue to help fund the completion of the bulding, took control over the allocation of the venues within the complex. The now Concert Hall was always destined to be he Opera Theater, hence the hugely high ceiling (there's your fly tower, Betty) and the amply sized rooms underneath the Concert Hall stage that would have provided a sumptuous pit and more besides.

    Conversely, the Opera Theater, with it's lack of pit, fly tower ot wing space was always designed to be the Concert Hall. Perfectly sized and kitted for such an application.

    The idiot bureaucrats (tautological as that is) at the the ABC, controlling the Sydney Symphony at he time, claimed the planned Opera Theater for their orchestra and relegated the Opera to the wholly unsuited, then as now, theater from which the Opera still operates.

    Not surprised that Betty and the SMH get it horribly wrong, but AM surprised that Betty seems to be turning against the very latte-sipping readership that should be supporting the refurb of the Opera House and no doubt constitute her only demographic.

  6. PhillipGeorge(c)2011December 15, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    "mmmmmmmmmmm", the reader said.

  7. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 15, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    OK, she can have a temporary pass into the ranks of the Elizabeths of Good Sense Sorority. Note I said temporary. Just for the silly season. On parole though (chivalrically honour bound by her word) to desist from writing until after the turkey festival in case Good Sense membership affects her brain and thus Sydney Morning Heralds the End of Days.

  8. The following comes from Ghostbusters, still a great movie...

    Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!

    Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...

    Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!

    Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

    Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!

  9. The Opera Theatre has an orchetra pit. How else would they be able to present opera there!

    If Farrelly can't get that right, do you need to read her article at all?

  10. Farrelly did my head in with this recent bit of knob-polishing:

    But our wilderness dreaming means that our best-known spatial poets - our Murcutts and Leplastriers - are still purveyors of Thoreau's man-alone vision.

    "Spacial poets"?