Fry Festival of Fry

Uploaded by sydneyoperahouse on 06.09.2010

If I could get my hands, just for a season,
on the Sydney Opera House - which is a dream that... just can't imagine what it would do to me -
naturally, though, I would want to mount a 'Meistersinger',
as a major piece of grand opera
with a huge chorus and fantastic production values,
utilising all the hydraulics, all the tricks,
all the splendour that you can get
in a really great production-value opera.
But then I love studio works as well,
and I would love to think of a place like the Opera House
having - as indeed it has -
I'll tell you the way I'll put it.
In the days of the Icelandic Norse epic sagas, you know,
the idea was that they developed.
There'd be a battle.
And then after the battle, the victorious side would feast
and on one hillside would be the saga-maker,
who was the epic poem prose-writer,
who would tell the story of how
Hagar had slain seven men with one thrust of his sword
and, you know, how mighty and how wise he was in battle
and how cleverly he deployed his troops.
And on the other hill would be
someone who's known as the gleeman.
And the gleeman would explain how Hagar was so drunk
that he couldn't pick up his sword properly,
and accidentally knocked someone on the head with it,
and then as he tried to bring it up, he knocked two other...
He would make the satirical version of it.
And I think all the best culture,
it has a saga-maker and a gleeman in the same place.
So you could have the 'Meistersinger'
but then you would also have...
You'd build some comic anti-opera show
rather in the way that there have been some brilliant
Reduced Shakespeare Company.
I'd love to see reduced opera done,
in which fun is made of opera,
not from the knowing point of view -
you have to know the opera in order to do it -
but, you know, to make a gleeman's version
of the same story.
So you could actually have a reduced 'Meistersinger'
for those who hadn't seen it
in which the story's told with...
You know, and it's fun.
But also, I think small studio operas themselves are fun,
if you're just sticking to opera for the moment.
You've got enough spaces to do so much.
So you could have ones like...
I mean, I love Strauss.
So, I mean, 'Capriccio',
or 'Ariadne auf Naxos', for example.
Those fabulous, beautiful, smaller-scale Strauss operas -
it would be great fun to have one of those.
And particularly, perhaps, 'Capriccio',
because it's, I think, his last work,
and it's about opera - it's about which is better.
If you remember, the story of it is
"Are words better than music?"
So it's a great thing.
And so you could have that as the theme of my Fry Festival
at the Sydney Opera House would be
Words and Music, if you like.