Perhaps Sydney’s greatest landmark – at least that I knew of before I came here – was its Opera House, pictured here.  So for sure this was on the list of places we wanted to go and visit, or at least see.  Oh course it can be seen from a lot of places given its prime location at the tip of one of the peninsulas overlooking the Sydney Harbor. When we went in to take a look at the Opera House, I mentioned to Shirley that it would be fun to actually see an Opera there.  Lo and behold, the opera “Tosca” was having its opening night later that week, so we had a wonderful night at the opera seeing the opening night performance of Tosca!

Everything about the night was magical (well, after we figured out that that box office could replace the tickets Tim lost that is!)…

As you can see, at night they light up the Opera House in different colors that alternate every few minutes.  Before the show, we treated ourselves to a wonderful $25 dinner that we shared -- though they had marvelous looking steaks and other meals, we wanted to try the beef pot pie (which was huge) just to see how it is made when it is made well, and this one certainly was.

The Opera was magnificent.  We have seen Tosca before, but it has been a while.  Like many operas of course, it had all the dramas rolled into one – heavy romance, death, politics, religion, intrigue.  But this performance of it was rather unique, as advertised, because the director decided to set it in more contemporary time and use WWII and Nazi Germany as a back drop for the story, as you will see in the pictures below. 


So the villain was a Nazi general (pictured), and in the major dramatic moments the virtuous Tosca had to choose between her true love who was condemned to death by the Nazi general, or making love to this general. 


In one of the great moments of Opera, she sings a fabulous aria lamenting why God has put her in this position.  I don’t have a recording of course of this aria, but you can hear a recording of the great Maria Callas singing it here [
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g21UHxcasc ].  The lead actress is pictured below in a shot I grabbed form the Sydney paper with the lead actor, and her performance of this aria led to a “bravo” from the audience and huge applause.

Soon after the intermission, her lover sings another famous aria, and if anything this actor had a better voice, and brought down the house, and again of course I could not record it, but here is a recording of Pavarotti performing it I found on the web [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRtoEEURoes ].

Obviously this was one of the major highlights of our trip.