First-night crowd

The scene: row C of the stalls in the Joan Sutherland Theatre of the SOH just before the opening of Faust. The row is full save for two seats in the centre.

A woman enters from the right to take one of the seats. I recognize her immediately as I have previously sat next to her in those seats at one of my rare first nights. Longe blond-ish hair tops off an outfit in a style I can only generally describe as superannuated-hippy-bohemian. A woman of similar style enters from the left. Affecting surprise, she calls out: “Oh, hello, Gretel.”

Quite a good joke really: obviously they had come together but the position of their seats dictated different doors. Also quite a good entrance.

At interval, prominent Sydney defamation barrister, Clive Evatt, who sat behind me and has a propensity to unwrap his sweets just after the music starts, engaged Gretel in conversation. What about what the Telegraph (or it could have been the Herald) had published about her? Gretel said it was a very poorly researched piece, but they had since apologised. Clive demurred: apology or not, it was worth $200,000. He, too, could have been joking.

I’m not really crazy about the first-night crowd, but it was fun to see a self-declared Sydney icon keeping up appearances.

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