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sydney philharmonia choirs : carols at the house

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Verdi Requiem Sydney Opera House choral concerts.
Photo, Simon Crossley-Meates

How blessed are we!

To enjoy this concert of Christmas music performed by our finest choirs at the resplendent Concert  Hall at the Sydney Opera House. At interval we stepped out to get some fresh air and there was the loveliness of the harbour and the majesty of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

How blessed are we

To live in the Lucky Country where people, often  with very different viewpoints, choose to live together peacefully with each other and respect everyone’s right to exist and pursue their dreams. How great is it that on the 13th February 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a formal apology in federal parliament to our First Nations people for our appalling treatment of them and that since then we have begun to give them the respect and recognition that they deserve.

The concert was a delight.   ABC’s Vanessa Hughes was the effeverscent emcee, Dr Elizabeth Scott expertly conducted a wonderful orchestra, Opera Australia’s supreme soprano Julie Lea Goodwin was in perfect voice and beautifully attired in an. array of flowing gowns.

The program included Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, John Rutter’s Gloria and highlights from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet and Handel’s Messiah. As a special treat, the program included the premiere of a new work Summer Together by leading Australian composer Elena Kats- Chermin with words by First Nations poetess Kirli Saunders.

As brief interludes from the feast of music, John Bell, one of our National Living Treasures, neatly  positioned at the side of the stage,  eloquently read some great short stories including one by the Welsh maestro Dylan Thomas, entitled Memories Of Christmas.

At times during the concert the audience were invited to sing along and many in the audience gleefully took up the offer.

My personal highlight came straight after interval.  Choir singers were gathered at both  the left and right aisles of the Concert Hall, and with their phones lit up, delivered an absolutely exquisite, goosebumps rendition of Amazing Grace.

The grace and joy of this concert was tempered by knowledge of the misery and ‘horror of it all’ of the wars in the Ukraine and the Middle East which show  no signs of waning.

Why are some human beings so graceless?!

Verse 3 of the late American folk singer Pete Seeger’s song, Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

“Where have all the young men gone/ Long time passing/Where have all the young men gone? Long time ago/Where have all the young men gone/ They’re all in uniform/ Oh, when will they ever learn?/ When will they ever learn?”

John Lennon imagined it. Maybe one day human beings will learn to live in peace. Just maybe…

How blessed are we

that we live in a country where people respect each other

live in peace together

and where we can enjoy such heart restoring concerts

How very lucky, fortunate and blessed are we.

We should count our blessings every, every single day.

CAROLS AT THE HOUSE was presented at the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House on Friday 15th December at 8pm and Saturday 16th December at 8pm and Sunday 17th December 2023 at 2pm.



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