Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Opera Rigoletto at MONA Museum Cinema today

A couple of years ago an art loving gambler named David Walsh built the MONA museum (Museum of Old and New Art) in Southern Tasmania to house not only his art collection but to exhibit art from all over the world. The MONA museum is anything but traditional and it is one of the best things to happen to Hobart almost ever.  People can drive to the museum, about 20 minutes north of the city or hop on the regular ferries at the waterfront and come by boat. Many tourists prefer this method as they may not have their car with them.

The view from the waterfront.
It is a beautiful, very modern building that is specifically built to house all types of art. When you walk into the main building you take an elevator down to the fourth floor, the whole building is mainly underground, to the cinema.

The cinema is great fun as the screen is very big, the chairs are comfortable, including big comfy leather arm chairs scattered around.

The museum grounds are part of a large winery, and we entered down a long driveway through the vineyards. There are several different buildings. Some for meetings and conferences, restaurants, cafes and the main museum.  The art is almost always controversial and some of it most confronting.  David Walsh made his millions through gambling around the world and as he grew up in Tasmania he wanted to give something back to the state he loves.

People within Tasmania have free entry and people from everywhere else have to pay $20.00 per person.  MONA is very much on the world stage now for modern museums and the place is always rocking with people.  It is just such a treasure.
Act I - A casino in Las Vegas
As the museum and the grounds are quite extensive, I am only going to focus on the cinema today.

We arrived at the cinema about 10:30 this morning for an 11:00 sitting.  We got there early so we could get through the doors as soon as they opened. We wanted to sit in one of the red leather armchairs that are so comfy. There is a bar just outside the entrance door and we ordered a couple of coffees to take inside.  You can also have snack foods brought into you by staff.  Today was the last performance of this wonderful opera Rigoletto and there weren't many people there because it was a Sunday morning. 

This particular performance of Rigoletto (a Michael Mayer production) has been modernised and the setting for it was Las Vegas in 1960.  It was inspired by the casinos and the lifestyle of the Rat Pack in that year.
Rigoletto's daughter 
It was performed by the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and was filmed live. We watched the film. It felt as though we were there only we thought it was even better.  The screen is very large. (The photo of the theatre inside doesn't do it justice.) The actors were from around the world and their voices were incredible.

We sat mesmerised for the two hours and the time went by so quickly.  I have never been to a film of a live streaming of opera and it was most enjoyable. The focus was so much on their faces and you could really see everything close up.  The sound system is very good and the music surrounded us.
There are more events planned in future months.  I hope to report back on some more.  They show operas, films, theatre and art exhibitions from around the world.  It is silly because we have this wonderful facility in our back yard and we haven't attended a lot of things. Yet people come from all over Australia and overseas to attend the events that MONA provides.  I don't think I'll be so slack in the future.

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