Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

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lennygoran
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Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by lennygoran » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:36 am

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Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate: Is All Australia for Sale?


By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore

Oct. 11, 2018

SYDNEY, Australia — The Sydney Opera House will celebrate its 45th anniversary this month with global dignitaries, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But this week, its gleaming white sails became the focus of a bruising local debate over culture, sports, misogyny and national identity.

On Tuesday night, thousands of people turned up to protest a six-minute light projection on the Opera House’s tiled sails. Put on by Racing NSW, the governing horse-racing body for New South Wales, the projection was designed to promote the Everest — Australia’s newest, and richest, horse race.

Racing NSW’s chief executive, Peter V’landys, backed by the prime minister and one of Australia’s most infamous conservative radio hosts, said the projection would increase tourism. Many, however, including the Opera House’s chief executive, felt the move was a tone-deaf commodification of the building — a World Heritage site — the equivalent to turning Stonehenge or the Statue of Liberty into billboards to promote gambling.

“Even Donald Trump wouldn’t get away with putting advertising onto the Lincoln Memorial, but it’s akin to that,” said Ben Oquist, executive director at the Australia Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. “It was a step too far for everybody.”

The conflict, which played out over the past week with slights and insults that are likely to linger, has resembled the kind of dramas regularly seen in the Opera House theater.

It was a promotional gimmick that badly misfired, but the backlash has revealed deeper fault lines in Australian society. Sydney’s conservative old guard collided this week with a younger, more diverse electorate. The latter is frustrated over a city and a country that in its view have become enslaved to big corporations at the cost of shared values, and where sports, the right-wing media and rich insiders can dictate policy to politicians.

“The Opera House represents art that has never been biased to color and age and money,” Carlos Lara, a 27-year-old musician, said at the protest Tuesday amid a crowd chanting “not for sale” and “our house.” “That’s why people feel so passionate,” he said, “this represents so much more than a horse race.”

Built on a former island now known as Bennelong Point, the Opera House was designed by the Danish architect Jorn Utzon. After a conflict with the government over rising construction costs, he resigned in 1966 and left Australia before its completion in 1973.

Helen Pitt, author of “The House,” a book about the building and its history of discord and tragedy, has called it “our great Shakespearean story.”


In 2013, a report by Deloitte said the Opera House had a so-called national identity value of 4.6 billion Australian dollars, or about $3.25 billion. Every year, over eight million visitors come from around the world to see it, drawn to the dazzling white sails (some say clouds; others shells) that overlook the water.


The Opera House is the youngest member of Unesco’s list of World Heritage sites, and it hosts everything from pop concerts to classical music.

“It’s an everyman building,” said Eoghan Lewis, an architect who runs tours there.

It is also a building that stands for diversity. Constructed largely by postwar migrants — about 10,000 workers from 90 different countries — the Opera House was “very much the product of a new reimagined Australia,” Ms. Pitt said.

Critically, she said, it propelled Sydney from a provincial small town on the far side of the world to a global player. And while it is officially run by a trust overseen by the state government, in the public’s mind, the house belongs to all.

Reflecting that sense of shared ownership, a petition on Change.org, “Defend Our Opera House,” has racked up more than 300,000 signatures since Sunday. A survey conducted this week by the market research firm Micromex also showed that 80 percent of residents surveyed in New South Wales were opposed to the decision by the state premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to allow the advertisement.

Much of the anger has been aimed at Alan Jones, a right-wing radio host, whose withdrawal of support for former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull helped contribute to Mr. Turnbull’s ouster in August.

During an interview on his show Friday, Mr. Jones shouted down the Opera House’s chief executive, Louise Herron, who opposed the racing promotion.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” Mr. Jones asked Ms. Herron. “You don’t own the Opera House, we own it.”

Mr. Jones, who has since apologized, said on air that Ms. Herron should be sacked if she did not revise her stance and “come to the party” and that he would be speaking with Ms. Berejiklian about it.

Ms. Berejiklian later overruled Ms. Herron’s decision and allowed the ads.

To many, Mr. Jones represents an old world Australia: one that is white, wealthy, conservative and male. He lives in a luxury apartment block nicknamed the Toaster that looks over the Opera House and owns his own race horses.

His behavior has come to be seen as not just in his own interest, but also as another example of his penchant for bullying.


Jenny Leong, Greens representative for the Sydney suburb of Newtown, said of Mr. Jones: “The massive groundswell of public outrage about this was as much to do about the fact we had a conservative old school shock jock basically threatening a woman to lose her job.”

“What we have seen in the last few days is people saying, ‘This is enough, we want our city back,” she added.

Ruth Piggott, who was wearing an Opera House-shaped hat emblazoned with “Sack Alan Jones” across it at the protest on Tuesday, said she came specifically to show support for Ms. Herron.

“He verbally abused her and bullied her on national radio, and very few men have stood up and called that out, so the rest of us need to,” she said.

Adding salt to the wound, the projections occurred during Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, an annual event in New South Wales.

Based on per capita spending, Australia has the world’s most prolific gamblers. Critics say that the gambling industry is Australia’s equivalent to America’s National Rifle Association — a powerful lobby that donates heavily to political parties, giving it significant sway.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who grew up not far from where the Everest is run and who recently attended a preview of “Evita” at the Opera House, downplayed the uproar this week, calling the Opera House “the biggest billboard” in Sydney.

“It’s common sense,” he said “I don’t know why people are getting so precious about it.”

In an email interview, Graeme Hinton, chief operating officer at Racing NSW, said that the publicity that has arisen from the conflict has “certainly raised the profile of the Everest, which can only be a good thing.”

Tickets, he said, were selling fast.

But critics, including Mr. Oquist of the Australia Institute, are hoping the furor marks a turning point.

“For a relatively new country, our ethos hasn’t been about treasuring our heritage,” he said. “This should spark a bigger debate.”

Others hope the outrage will at least show that the Opera House is for all Australians — not just an elite few.

“Look around here, you don’t just see a bunch of white people,” said Mr. Lara, a second-generation Chilean-Australian, gesturing around the crowd on Tuesday. “This house has brought people together from all sorts of lives, rich and poor.”

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/11/worl ... e=Homepage

Belle
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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:26 am

This is all annoying white noise. I've been canvassed on what I think of this and my answer is straight: first world problem. The OH has been used as a screen for projected light shows for years with and without promotion/advertizing, and the most hideous rock concerts are held in the forecourt. Not only that, the walk from Circular Quay (about .7 km) is arrayed with cheap bars along the foreshore, thumping rock music, drunken people talking at the tops of their voices. The 'vibe' is particularly sleazy en route to the 'world heritage listed' Sydney Opera House so I avoid it altogether. After very many visits to the Musikverein, Vienna State Opera, Theater an der Wien and Konzerthaus the people of Sydney can have their opera house. It used to be pleasant going there a decade or so ago; not any more.

Elite few? Couldn't be further from the truth.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by lennygoran » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:16 am

Belle wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:26 am
Sydney Opera House
Belle whenever Sydney is mentioned to me I always think of that opera house-today it's raining here so maybe in the opera house's honor I'll listen to the surtitled Les Huguenots--a work I've never seen live-where's the Met when I need it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47Og7nQtWag

It's either that or the SF opera production of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia with Fleming here!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFrgN6USqlw

Regards, Len

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:13 pm

Yes, Len, it's an international icon - but I'm suiggesting it looks better from afar!!

Enjoy your wonderful operas; you're obviously a man of taste in that regard and how lucky to have all that in NYC at your fingertips.

We have our native bottlebrush flowering here on our acre of land as we've just had the tiniest bit of rain and that's set them into bloom. Coming up the driveway there's a blaze of colours - red, orange, white, pink. My husband loves Australian native flora. They are also right along our front footpath/verge, in two rows and ringing the perimeter of the property as under storey to a large number of huge trees (he planted): driving up our (steep) street to our place it looks like a Christmas tree!!

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=aust ... 20&bih=938

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by lennygoran » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:48 pm

Belle wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:13 pm
> My husband loves Australian native flora.<
Belle we've seen documentaries on Australian gardens-beautiful-we always wanted to get there. Gotta keep those kangeroos out of them though! Talk about keeping critters out of a garden one of the neighbors is raising chickens-quite a few--somehow one got on our property-I'll have to ask the neighbor what he wants to do-we keep our gates closed to keep the deer away so I don't even know if this hen can back on the other side of our fence. I like the rooster's looks-first time for such a ceature to get in our garden! Regards, Len :)

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:06 pm

I am very fond of the people of Australia, Canada, and England (half my genes come from the latter!). An opera house is an opera house. Yes, it is used for operas, concerts and other non-classical music events, perhaps. As someone mentioned, I cannot see anyone advertising on our great monuments of America: Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and many other similar edifices ... all these places belong to the American public. I am not averse to horse racing (I've been to a few over my lifetime), but my personal opinion is that the famous Opera House of Sydney is not the place to advertise. I have no problems with light shows that entertain people as long as they are not selling a message for commercial purposes. And I have observed such light shows. In the end my vote in Australia doesn't count, but I do care!
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Belle
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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:13 pm

Lance wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:06 pm
I am very fond of the people of Australia, Canada, and England (half my genes come from the latter!). An opera house is an opera house. Yes, it is used for operas, concerts and other non-classical music events, perhaps. As someone mentioned, I cannot see anyone advertising on our great monuments of America: Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and many other similar edifices ... all these places belong to the American public. I am not averse to horse racing (I've been to a few over my lifetime), but my personal opinion is that the famous Opera House of Sydney is not the place to advertise. I have no problems with light shows that entertain people as long as they are not selling a message for commercial purposes. And I have observed such light shows. In the end my vote in Australia doesn't count, but I do care!
Plenty of people share your sentiments, Lance. Thanks for sharing them.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:15 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:48 pm
Belle wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:13 pm
> My husband loves Australian native flora.<
Belle we've seen documentaries on Australian gardens-beautiful-we always wanted to get there. Gotta keep those kangeroos out of them though! Talk about keeping critters out of a garden one of the neighbors is raising chickens-quite a few--somehow one got on our property-I'll have to ask the neighbor what he wants to do-we keep our gates closed to keep the deer away so I don't even know if this hen can back on the other side of our fence. I like the rooster's looks-first time for such a ceature to get in our garden! Regards, Len :)

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Well, they say that 'possession is 9/10ths of the law'!! Time for some Rimsky-Korsakov perhaps?

Our neighbours over the road are raising chickens and they have 2 roosters which crow at ungodly hours and all during the day. I feel like I'm back on the chicken farm, to be honest, and it doesn't please.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:36 pm

I agree 100% with these comments from Brendan O'Neill about the 'advertising' on SOH: as I said previously, it's been done many times before.

Opera House outrage all about the Left’s control of public square
BRENDAN O’NEILL
COLUMNIST

If you want to see what hypocrisy looks like, look no further than the fury over the Sydney Opera House being used to advertise a horse race. Listening to the hundreds of people who descended on the Opera House to register their rage about the ad, you’d think this previously had been an entirely neutral building, never polluted by anything so vulgar as propaganda or commercialism.
It is outrageous to reduce this place of art and music and serious discussion to a billboard for the gee-gees and gambling, people cried. This iconic place must “never again” be used as a “billboard”, said Bill Shorten. On the more radical sections of the Left, there was much tut-tutting over this crass display of “corporate” messages on “our house”.

The impression we’re left with is that hitherto the Opera House had been a morally pristine place, never defaced by messaging, and now we urgently must get the building back to that pure, churchlike state. If this were true, there might be some merit to the heated response to the Everest race promo. But it isn’t true. At all.

The Opera House has been used as a billboard many times. Yet the kind of people losing the plot over the Everest promotion said diddly-squat about those earlier treatments of it as a political or corporate soapbox.

Why didn’t these protesters kick up a storm when Samsung took over the sails of the Opera House to launch its Galaxy S4 smartphone in 2013? Its website boasted about “using (the Opera House) as a canvas”. It projected all sorts of colourful images on to the building.

Was that not a corporate takeover? Is it more acceptable when big businesses say they’re using the Opera House as a “canvas” rather than as a “billboard”?

I guess the word canvas is a bit more artsy and maybe that’s why it didn’t rile Sydney trendies.

Then there are the political messages. The Opera House is frequently plastered with these.

It was lit up in the gay-flag colours last year when parliament approved same-sex marriage.

Last month it turned green to celebrate its achievement of carbon neutrality. Using electricity to boast about how eco-correct you are — what a strangely contradictory act of environmentalist virtue-signalling.

The Opera House also has plunged itself into darkness to commemorate Earth Hour, that annual miserabilist event in which institutions switch off their lights for one hour to show how much they care about the terrible impact humans are having on the planet.

These are all propaganda displays. Some people will say there is nothing political about supporting gay marriage or being environmentally aware — these are just good, decent positions. But in truth, these are contested issues, behind which there lurk serious tussles over moral values and political outlooks. The Sydney Opera House is absolutely turning its sails into political billboards when it projects those kinds of messages.

It is galling to watch house chief executive Louise Herron pose as a defender of the building from logos and slogans when under her leadership it has been used frequently to push political sloganeering.

One of the concerns raised by the protesters against the Everest projection is that it degrades the idea of “the public”. Such promos invade public spaces that belong to ordinary people and that should not be co-opted by the powerful and filthy rich.

A writer for Guardian Australia says the Everest projection is part of a broader “right-wing assault on the idea of ‘the public’ ”.

But it isn’t only the Right that uses “people’s spaces” to advertise its wares and beliefs.

It is of course true that some corporate types view even iconic public buildings as little more than arenas in which they shout at the rest of us and try to sell us stuff.

But on the other side, among the apparently more community-minded leftish types, there is also a tendency to view the public square as just a space for messaging.

Only the thing they want to foist on passers-by is not ads for phones or horse races but non-stop “correct” messaging; political declarations from on high; directives about the right way to think and the virtuous way to live.

Sure, horse race bosses want to colonise the public square with adverts for their events. But is that real­ly any worse than the new PC set that wants to colonise the public square with adverts for their own political and cultural virtue and ceaseless nagging about the right way to live?

Both sides tend to view ordinary people as little more than receptacles for messages from the cultural or corporate gods. And this is where the extraordinary double standards over the use of the Opera House for non-artistic purposes starts to make sense.

The people freaking out over the Everest projection aren’t really opposed to the use of public buildings as “billboards”. They’re just mad that the Opera House has become a billboard for what they consider to be an immoral pursuit: racing and gambling.

There’s a strong whiff of snobbery to all this. To those people who took to the streets over at the Opera House but didn’t say anything about the Samsung promo: could it be that you aren’t as anti-capitalist as you think, and really you just consider horseracing a vulgar pastime? Maybe you’re more moralist than Marxist.

The New Left’s disdain for advertising, especially advertising related to gambling, reeks of Victorian-style paternalism. Their belief seems to be that if people catch a glimpse of a horse race display on the Opera House, they will descend into the hell of a gambling habit and maybe even gambling addiction.

As The Guardian columnist Owen Jones put it, “aggressive gambling” like that on the Opera House is “bad for our health (and) also the health of society”. Why? Because it cajoles us into doing things that can be “life-ruining”, such as gambling.

In short, people are utterly lacking in agency. As if adverts invade our minds and reprogram us, turning us into the obedient robots of corporate bosses. Indeed, Jones sarcastically mocks the “libertarian” belief that people “can make their own decisions”.

This is what lies at the root of the Left’s fury with the Everest advertising and with corporate advertising more broadly: they don’t think we can make our own decisions. They think people are witless saps who suck up every message they hear.

And that is why they love it when places like the Opera House are coated in politically correct messages but hate it when they are decorated in corporate pleas: because they see the public as little more than a blob to be controlled, ideally by “us”, the virtuous elite, rather than by “them”, the greedy corporations.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Lance » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:47 pm

Interesting, I was not aware of the use of the "sails" other than the non-commercial light shows. It will be interesting to see how, in the end, it all turns out. Who can actually make a final decision about this?
Belle wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:36 pm
I agree 100% with these comments from Brendan O'Neill about the 'advertising' on SOH: as I said previously, it's been done many times before.
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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by barney » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:33 pm

That the Opera House sails have been used for tawdry advertising in the past doesn't make it right now, I suggest. I think all advertising on the sails should be banned. New Year's Eve light shows are different.
The rise of gambling ads in Australia has been a real blight and I utterly loathe them. I love sport, but anything I watch on TV or listen to on radio is constantly interrupted by gambling companies giving odds and special offers as though this were proper news, like who is in or out of the teams. The number of problem gamblers (or gambling addicts) is on the rise, partly because technology has made betting easier, and partly because of the normalising of gambling by such things as putting it on the opera house. This was crassly commercial, a group of ultra-rich elitist race horse owners (including Alan Jones), trying to steal thunder from Australia's most famous horse race, the Melbourne Cup. And he says the opera lovers are elitist. What a hypocrite.
Alan Jones is a dreadful thug, bully and misogynist. He is Rush Limbaugh on steroids. His behaviour, and the craven capitulation by the New South Wales Premier, raise serious concerns about democracy in this country (Australia). It now seems the only thing that matters is money - nothing is sacred, there are no standards, just money. The one thing I am really pleased to note is that there is a huge backlash against the cowardice of the NSW Government, and the polls are looking bad for the forthcoming election. Not that the Opposition was any more courageous.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by barney » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:35 pm

Lance wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:47 pm
Interesting, I was not aware of the use of the "sails" other than the non-commercial light shows. It will be interesting to see how, in the end, it all turns out. Who can actually make a final decision about this?
Belle wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:36 pm
I agree 100% with these comments from Brendan O'Neill about the 'advertising' on SOH: as I said previously, it's been done many times before.
As I understand it, the ads already appeared. The decision was made by the NSW Premier.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:39 pm

I think O'Neill has nailed it. And it's so typical for people to conveniently claim 'that was then, this is now'. Using the OH for propaganda, advertising OR light shows is crass. But I also regard it as a 'first world problem'! :D

As I've said before, the venue has become coarsened by its feral rock concerts and the unpleasant, bar-lined approach along the foreshore. Just comparing it with similar venues in Europe - none of this would be on for a mega-second at the Concertgebouw, Gewandhaus, Wiener Konzerthaus, Staatsoper, Philharmonie, Opera Garnier et al.

Allan Jones has a HUGE audience in Sydney and no doubt he feels the empowerment of this just as others feel empowered to do and say what they do!! Horses for courses (cough). Giddy-up!!

I wonder if we could have a special screening at the Dendy OH Cinema of "Horse Feathers" and "A Night at the Opera". I'd be up for it!!

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by barney » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:36 am

I know nothing of the feral rock concerts, but I certainly don't disagree. The opera house should be unsullied by any advertising or even light shows; I am very happy to agree with that too.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:27 pm

barney wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:36 am
I know nothing of the feral rock concerts, but I certainly don't disagree. The opera house should be unsullied by any advertising or even light shows; I am very happy to agree with that too.
These rock concerts occur on the large steps at the front, in the forecourt - facing the 'toaster' building Allan Jones lives in, which is right next to the opera house. In the past he has complained about the overwhelming noise and nobody listened to that!! At the time of its construction the people of Sydney complained about that 'toaster' residential building saying it was architecturally incompatible with the SOH. Perhaps this latest is payback for that deal breaker?!

I was last at SOH in the Drama Theatre 3 years ago to see Michael Frayne's "Noises Off" for the STC. Speaking to some of the audience members before the show and during intermission it seems many think 'the vibe' is excellent down there near the approach to the House with the boisterous bars, uncouth drinking culture and thump thump thump of music pumping endlessly and completely in-your-face. Avoid.

In 2015 I was at a concert in the Musikverein and a rock concert was taking place across the road in Ressel Park (right next to the statue of Brahms). You could hear the noise pumping during the quiet passages in the performance and the people looked askance. The age of amplification has a lot to answer for, not just industrial levels of deafness for its acolytes (although that is more than fair)!!!

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:16 pm

Belle wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:27 pm
barney wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:36 am
I know nothing of the feral rock concerts, but I certainly don't disagree. The opera house should be unsullied by any advertising or even light shows; I am very happy to agree with that too.
These rock concerts occur on the large steps at the front, in the forecourt - facing the 'toaster' building Allan Jones lives in, which is right next to the opera house. In the past he has complained about the overwhelming noise and nobody listened to that!! At the time of its construction the people of Sydney complained about that 'toaster' residential building saying it was architecturally incompatible with the SOH. Perhaps this latest is payback for that deal breaker?!

I was last at SOH in the Drama Theatre 3 years ago to see Michael Frayne's "Noises Off" for the STC. Speaking to some of the audience members before the show and during intermission it seems many think 'the vibe' is excellent down there near the approach to the House with the boisterous bars, uncouth drinking culture and thump thump thump of music pumping endlessly and completely in-your-face. Avoid.

In 2015 I was at a concert in the Musikverein and a rock concert was taking place across the road in Ressel Park (right next to the statue of Brahms). You could hear the noise pumping during the quiet passages in the performance and the people looked askance. The age of amplification has a lot to answer for, not just industrial levels of deafness for its acolytes (although that is more than fair)!!!
Yes, it's a horror story. When I was teaching in Maryland, I was required to chaperone two "dances" a year. (If you think that dancing was already a lost skill among people of our generation, you should see it today. It is more like frotting.) The noise was so loud that I had to stand in the cafeteria hall and watch them through the window. Once, there was an assembly given by an amputee guitarist who played with his feet. The volume was cranked up so high that, against all rules, I just walked out. My hearing is too precious to me.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:56 pm

I feel the same way. At school we used to have "Rock Eisteddfods" and this was a rock music competition between schools in the area. My daughter was in one back in 2000. I took soft ear plugs and even then it was terribly loud. At our school one day the whole school was invited to come and look at the final rehearsal. Goodie!! I leaned against a wall at the back and a colleague shouted in my ear "why do these things all sound exactly the same"? Later back in the staff room she said to me, "oh well, at least the kids could sit still for 20 minutes and pay attention; that's something we all learned to do at church once a week - a 'skill' which largely seems to have gone down the drain these days"!!

This woman was one of the finest teachers I ever knew; a wizard English teacher who got fabulous results.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:07 pm

Sue, don't tell me this is happening in Australia, too? We are living in a completely changed world!
Belle wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:56 pm
... that's something we all learned to do at church once a week - a 'skill' which largely seems to have gone down the drain these days"!!
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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:21 pm

Lance wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:07 pm
Sue, don't tell me this is happening in Australia, too? We are living in a completely changed world!
Belle wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:56 pm
... that's something we all learned to do at church once a week - a 'skill' which largely seems to have gone down the drain these days"!!
As a wily relative once said, "A change isn't necessarily an improvement". Boy, was she right!!!

I'm sounding and feeling old these days, Lance. My son is here for the day with his new bride and I've shown them a piece of comedy on U-Tube from the 1950s; they both looked blankly and askance saying "you couldn't do that these days". It was like talking to them in some strange dialect from a distant land. Tonight a crucial bi-election will decide the fate of our federal government, which employs my son as an adviser to the PM. The family will watch the count together and, the way things are shaping up, he'll be on the phone tonight to the PM (along with other advisers) to talk about 'where to now'? I don't know how my son continues to remain sanguine, level-headed and loyal!! I guess that's why he's held in such high esteem by his boss. And he and his new bride have zero life; both in politics and always at work!!

As I know only too well at the moment, none of us is going to say on our deathbed "I wish I'd worked more".

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Lance » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:43 pm

Sue, what a lovely response. I wish your son and his bride the very best. If they are happy, they have accomplished much - and at least knowing YOU from CMG, I believe you have raised your children perfectly! Governments everywhere are the cause of problems everywhere. I cannot recall when I have seen so much hate amongst people even in our very blessed USA, despite our many monstrous problems with politics, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and so much more.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:42 am

Lance wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:43 pm
Sue, what a lovely response. I wish your son and his bride the very best. If they are happy, they have accomplished much - and at least knowing YOU from CMG, I believe you have raised your children perfectly! Governments everywhere are the cause of problems everywhere. I cannot recall when I have seen so much hate amongst people even in our very blessed USA, despite our many monstrous problems with politics, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and so much more.
Thanks for your thoughts. My late father nailed the issue of politics with laser accuracy, "it's ALWAYS all about who gets what". I think the people largely get governments they deserve; how many of them know absolutely nothing whatsoever of what they're voting for in our country where it's compulsory to vote? In an interview yesterday one person complained about lack of schools in an area which is the sole responsibility of the state government. In short, he had no clue who was responsible for what and yet he and others like him decide the fate of governments.

Tonight our government was consigned to minority status as it lost the bi-election and its single-seat majority. They and we will have a very rocky road ahead and this is what the people voted for. In our country we have increasing numbers of Independent members of parliament and this makes governing extremely difficult, both in the lower house and in the senate. My son left here three hours ago dejected and his wife said, "all the work you've done in the last 3 months was for nothing". Not very consoling when you work 16 hour days!! Despite a HUGE salary, it's largely a labour of love for him.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by maestrob » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:58 am

My condolences, Belle, to your son. Only three months in power: how can anything get done????

Here in the USA we're anticipating elections on November 6 (Tuesday) that may change our House of Representatives to the party against the current occupant of the White House. If that doesn't happen, I expect cuts in social programs for seniors including health care (Medicare) and Social Security, (We depend on these programs to pay our bills.), along with more tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy. Our current party in power (Republicans of the far-right variety) has threatened to eliminate Obamacare and to roll back all the gains that Democrats under Obama have made in healthcare coverage, climate regulations, you name it, not to mention continuing our destructive trade war with China and others. This really is a crucial election as it relates directly to our quality of life (I live in a coastal city, New York, which is obviously threatened by climate change.).

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:03 pm

We've had our Coalition in power for 5 years but the Prime Ministers have kept changing. That's the problem. The incumbent has had the job 7 weeks, but when I referred to the last three months it was about the previous PM's attempt to bring in a national energy guarantee scheme and my son's work on that when his boss was then Treasurer. It's complicated. But it was the only thing the former PM did which was of any consequence. He nearly lost government for them in 2016, reducing a majority of 13 to just 1 - which was wiped out yesterday in a bi-election. It would do my head in but my son keeps his cool as he prepares himself for a stunning career in corporate life post politics.

And getting back to topic; last night in the forecourt of Sydney Opera House the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games by Prince Harry and his wife. Nothing to do with opera or culture of any kind.

I write this I'm listening to the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall playing Brahms #2 with Paavo Jarvi at the helm. God, I absolutely love this symphony - and just about everything Brahms wrote, except the piano sonatas!!

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by maestrob » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:53 am

The young Jarvi is a fine conductor and I'm glad he got the opportunity to lead the Berliners. I also agree with you mostly about Brahms, except that I do enjoy his Piano Sonata III. Richter made an excellent disc of I & II, but they are not mature pieces to my ears. Worthy efforts, nonetheless.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:25 pm

Lance wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:07 pm
Sue, don't tell me this is happening in Australia, too? We are living in a completely changed world!
Belle wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:56 pm
... that's something we all learned to do at church once a week - a 'skill' which largely seems to have gone down the drain these days"!!
In Warrensburg, NY, where I play organ for the quite lovely if small Episcopal church, the local high school baccalaureate ceremony rotates among churches. Now remember, I'm a teacher and used to managing students, including at this school, but this was a different situation. The first time, I was told that few people would attend because it is a religious ceremony. Someone at the school must have persuaded them differently, because the entire senior class showed up and packed the place to the rafters. (It's a good thing I had programmed an organ processional that could go on indefinitely.) The problem was that they treated it like the beginning of graduation weekend and never stopped talking. I have a boss who is the pastor, so I can't very well just stand up and tell them all to shut up because this is church. The second time, which was last year, there were fewer, and their comportment was perfect. Someone must have gotten out the word to them.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by barney » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:03 pm

I too agree about Brahms; the second is my favourite of his symphonies.
Sue, Sir Andras Schiff, one of the greatest pianists currently playing, has one recital in Sydney tonight, with Brahms (not the sonatas), Bach, Beethoven. If at all possible, you should go.It's the first time he's visited Australia since he played the Well-Tempered Clavier, both books, over two nights at the famous 1988 Adelaide Festival (the bicentennary one that included the Kirov and moe). I was lucky enough to be there both nights.
I went on Saturday to his Melbourne recital, which was sublime. And he gave 5 encores. I missed two trains home and finally got one with a rowdy football crowd, but it mattered not - I still had the music in my ears.

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Re: Horse Racing Ad on Sydney Opera House Ignites Debate

Post by Belle » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:07 pm

Thanks for the heads up but I've seen Schiff in recital (in Vienna) quite a few times, the first being in Adelaide Town Hall back in 1988!!

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