23. August 2008 · Comments Off on It Isn’t Just China · Categories: Ramble

SYDNEY has its Opera House – but has it got a real orchestra? Within days of NSW Premier Morris Iemma making unwise cracks about Melbourne being left off the World Monopoly board, The Sunday Age can reveal that the Sydney Symphony Orchestra mimed key parts of its performance at the opening of the Sydney Games in 2000.

And it gets better – it was, in fact, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra whose brilliant playing was heard by millions around the world at the Sydney Olympic opening ceremony.

I read it here.

The musicians, of course, all knew what was going on. But see how good they were? No one told … or at least it didn’t leak over here to anyone who leaked it to the public. We can keep a secret. (I knew a few when I was younger about some performers — not musicians — that I didn’t talk about and just smiled when the news went public. See? Gossips that we are, we really can keep a secret!)

But the big thing is, people aren’t into live performance in these instances so much as they (Or should I say we? If I heard a mistake I’d probably comment, to be sure.) are into perfection. And you just can’t guarantee perfection with a live performance.

We have things pre-recorded to avoid errors. We use synthesized sound rather than real instruments. But it doesn’t stop there. We might (will we ever know for sure?) lie about our age in order to compete in an Olympic event. Heck, we might even lie about our age, making us younger than we really are, to get a job. (Naw, that couldn’t happen, could it?) We take steroids or other performance enhancing drugs to win. We hide past mistakes — or current ones — to win a place in politics or other positions of power. We lie about our education. It’s just the human thing goin’ on, I suppose.

I know there’s more to it than just those few things. But it’s Saturday morning and, well, I need to go back to the Olympics and see what’s on.

Of course the embarrassing and hurtful news about the article — and what the article is really about … I was just veering off like I do — is all about one orchestra doing the real playing and another miming. How insulting is that to the miming orchestra? Or did they care? They were, I’m sure, paid well for their acting skills. At least I hope so. And they did get to be on TV, while the “working orchestra” didn’t. So there. I guess.

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