Ep 49 – Handa Opera La Traviata, The Power of the Dog

Hello and welcome BACK to Across the Aisle. It is episode 49! And as with all things everything has changed, and we are no longer performing arts monogamous. We are arts with a capital A polyamorous. So, please watch Handa Opera’s 2012 production of La Traviata on the Opera Australia website and The Power of the Dog on Netflix (or in the cinema if at all possible). During Intermission we talk pandemic specific changes to our arts consumption and in Coming Soon we pick a few highlights to think about for potential future episodes.

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Ep 49 – Handa Opera La Traviata, The Power of the Dog Transcript

Carla: Hello and welcome back to Across the Aisle. That’s right, we’re back in your ears for a special episode testing the waters, or flood waters as it were, to see how we feel during pandemic times about being in booths, talking into mics and connecting with each other. And you, dear listener. It is episode 49. And as with all things, everything has changed, and we are no longer performing arts monogamous. We are arts with a capital A polyamorous. This brings many benefits. It’s not safe for many to be in the theatres at the moment, myself included, but it also means our hyperlocal site-specific show is now global. You can watch, read, and listen along with us. So, if you would like to do so, please hit pause and watch Hand Opera’s 2012 production of La Traviata on the Opera Australia website, we’ll have a link in the show notes and The Power of the Dog which is on Netflix but it will likely still be at the cinema wherever you live. So highly recommend seeing it in a cinema. Do all that and then return and be ready to connect with our conversation. Now, Phil it’s been a ding dang darn while how are you?

Phil: I’m well, which is in a way the only way I can summarize it. Everything is different. Everything is the same. Very excited to be IRL with you.

Carla: I know it’s pretty cool.

Phil: Everything is sort of bigger than it was before. Crossing a five-kilometre radius feels like an adventure to this day. I’m definitely traumatized.

Carla: Yeah, that’s so much to unpack there, which I’m sure we can unspurl unspool unfurl.

Phil: Yes,

Carla: Over many, many different, different intermission sessions. I’m the same. I think everyone’s been brutalized. There’s been I think everyone’s had a lot of personal changes except for you actually, you’ve had a lot of everything sort of say the same job, same partner, same house

Phil: I’m very stable.

Carla: But I’m sure internal revolution

Phil: And look talking about the arts, it’s going to be fascinating too, because I think even that has become unstuck in interesting ways. Destabilised, digitized. discussed.

Carla: Revolutionised. And for me, everything has changed. I knew I was one of the people who moved to Geelong. Well, I moved out of Melbourne.

Phil: Sea change.

Carla: I built a house. Like many people. Yeah, levelled up in a lot of ways, but still just grappling with what is my life and I feel like now I’ve sort of drawn this line in the sand of like what was and what will be is moving forward.

Phil: Amazing.

Carla: So here we are. But it’s wonderful to reconnect in this way, and I think this conversation and how we talk about culture is going to really. It’s actually very exciting for me because it’s going to really dig deep into like how these things have shifted and shaped us, you know.

Phil: Bring it on.

Carla: All right. Well. Let’s move on.

Phil: Okay. Up first, and obviously, this was my pick. We’re going to watch an online opera. And when you asked me to pick something that I had been viewing and wanted to share, I kind of chose Opera Australia’s 2012 production of La Traviata as somehow emblematic of what this art form, but also other art forms are doing in these pandemic times. So Opera Australia was already digitizing and making available a number of its productions, including some amazing vintage productions of Joan Sutherland and Pavarotti at the Opera House, for example. But what I really wanted to investigate was this more recent series called Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, because I haven’t been in real life, and sometimes when I’m up there in Sydney, the stage is set up and arbitrary fireworks are going off at 8:45 p.m. and I’m interested in what is this? So we went along virtually to the very first ever floating opera that they have done in a now annual series. So the way they filmed it is very touristy. There’s a kind of FOMO generating element to it all. Like you see the people arriving, you get shots across the landscape. There’s a sense of the orchestra tuning and the lights going down. And here we are to see an 1853 classic of all classics by the wonderful Giuseppe Verdi, who based La Traviata on a novel which was very loved in the 19th century by Alexandra Dumas Fis. So the son of The Three Musketeers, et cetera guy, and it’s a novel about a beloved and heroic sex worker.

Carla: Mm-hmm.

Phil: And the connection that she has a kind of authentic and profound loving connection to one particular young man with a patriarchal father. Seeing something by Opera Australia for free is a rarity. I mean, there was something nice about getting access to this overfunded warhorse institution of the Australian Conservative arts and the way that they are tokenistic, sort of revealing a little bit of their wealth and glamour to the world was part of the appeal, I guess. But in the lead role of Violetta, we had Emma Matthews singing into a kind of Madonna microphone along with Jean-Luc Terranova as Alfredo. So my first thought as I settled in for Act One was they have Madonna microphones. What is this? It’s scandalous, because surely part of the appeal of this art form is the heaving breath and the absurd bodily strength required to reach the back of the stalls as a diva. What does it mean now that suddenly we’re able to be quite delicate with our breath work and sort of put forth a fluttery little soprano that is registered TV like by these super sensitive mics? But it immediately went into the joy of Act One pleasure as joy to life, things Violetta and the people at the party. And thank you, Sydney. Fireworks exploded, but how weird was it with all of that played out against the actual backdrop of the literal harbour and the Opera House itself? How did you find all of this?

Carla: Look, you know, I will preface this whole conversation with I grew up in Sydney and I lived in Sydney until I was 24. My whole family live there. I go there all the time, I have a very bitter and complicated relationship with Sydney. And this, I mean. Like, it’s actually awe inspiring the amount of shit they crammed into this. It’s like unbelievable, you know, it’s like, you know, Liberace would be having a conniption, you know, so I just on the one hand, I just think that’s wonderful. Like when I think of the amount of money that Opera Australia have. That’s what I want to say. I want. I want the whole city involved. I want it to this kind of spectacle. It’s actually kind of how I project or imagine how opera would have been when these operas were. I mean, not obviously on that scale, but the sentiment, you know, like people getting, you know, dressed up and everything to go to see these productions, it would have just been it’s at that scale, you know, of technology and pomp and vigour and all that kind of stuff. So greatly appreciated on that level. Yeah, I understand like your technical curiosities about it. I just I found this really gauche like and not in the good way.

Carla: And there’s a longer I think there’s a bigger conversation to have here about opera and Opera Australia and particularly Opera Australia and you know, cultural relevance of some of the operas they choose to perform. But I have never seen this, I don’t think. It was lost on me that she was a sex worker, Violeta, Violeta, the joy of watching things at home. And this is something that we can talk about more and more as I could pause. And I like looked up and did like a bit of, you know, like normally I would have my little one pager at the opera that I could sort of sneak a peek when things are on stage. But I could sort of pause and do a little bit of reading. So I feel like that was there was a little bit of fumbling in translation there. But I also think it’s like a perfect Sydney story, you know? So I don’t know, like there’s so many good axes that it hits. It’s very long. I was. You know, I think it sort of showed more than told. And normally that’s a positive, but I thought that was a negative in this instance.

Phil: It’s true that they ramped up the North Shore Aussie look and feel of it. It reminded me of Strictly Ballroom this production.

Carla: Yeah, it was very “Bazamatazz”.

Phil: It was “Baztastic”. I love that we haven’t yet officially mentioned the chandelier.

Carla: Oh my lord. Or the Coke Mirror stage. It was. Maybe it was just a huge mirror. Yes. Yes. The ten thousand Swarovski crystal chandelier on a crane,

Phil: Fireworks, chandelier and hot pink dresses equals Sydney. Yes, you know, drag queens.

Carla: They managed to squeeze drag queens in there. That’s always people coming in on ferries, fireworks. I mean, really, I mean,

Phil: It was surely ironic, right? This is Sydney looking at itself and having a bit of a laugh.

Carla: Is it? I don’t think so. Sorry, that is so generous. I think that’s this is who were are.

Phil: I almost hope you’re right. Because if this is an authentic cultural yes, set of signifiers and experiences and wishes, I love it even more.

Carla: That’s Sydney to me.

Phil: Love that. Okay.

Carla: That whole production like the taste of that, like in all senses of the word that is Sydney to me.

Phil: What a beautiful “culture”.

Carla: Let’s talk a little bit about the singing I. I can’t comment much about the singing with the microphones, because you see opera more than I did find it quite odd. I do think they overcomp- what I feel like they balance that out with Violetta. Emma Matthews did a lot more physical work than I’ve seen opera performers do on stage shows like rolling around singing on her back. There was lots of different positions walking up and down this precarious stage, so I feel like it was. That was kind of like that added element of what’s the word.

Phil: Dramaturgy?

Carla: Yeah. Or like razzamatazz, bazzmatazz to it for your money. But Alfredo, my lord. Mm hmm. What a babe.

Phil: Good.

Carla: He’s what I think of when I think of opera singers like he the his presence and he’s projection. I felt like he could have been doing that without a mic, and I didn’t even know. I mean, he obviously was miked, but it was like, like, he was like a human firework, you

Phil: Know, totally from the chest, from the gut.

Carla: Yeah, the real diaphragm. It was like so centred and powerful.

Phil: Yeah. And I did find that by the end of the opera, the sort of tragic quality of this universal story of young love came across with a degree of authenticity. They say about La Traviata that you really need a soprano who can basically sing three different operas because the style of each act is so different. And the thing that stuck with me about this particular production was the final act. When the party has stopped, the money has run out. The world of Paris has moved on completely. And you’re just left with these young people, one of whom is dying, and a decision by the producers was to not have an interval between acts two and three. And so you go from this big sex party immediately and visibly into a death scene, which has this extended orchestral passage to shift the mood. But ordinarily you would also get a break in the foyer at that point. So we see almost in a Brechtian way, the change happening before our eyes, the lights going out. And then, of course, there is a single firework because Sydney can’t stop at the very moment when she passes away forever. Rest in peace, Violetta.

Carla: That was truly I was actually truly moving. When she’s in her fever, it’s the second. It’s the second last act or second last Aria or whatever that was that really stuck me. Like I was pretty surface, they superficially watching it, which I think is at the point, isn’t it, of that production? But all that really got me, I like and very emotional. Hmm. It was very interesting. I do have to pay. So I’m assuming that other people, I don’t know the obviously the free time, but it was only 20 bucks. So, you know, I thought that was interesting. And yeah, I really enjoyed it. And these things that are really long again with the pausing I could like, make a snack, go to the toilet. I know it’s not meant that way, but I was able to give myself that intermission, you know, and reconnect. So it’s very odd to sort of have that power, I guess.

Phil: And look, it has been my lifeline during the pandemic to be able to access these files on my screen. And so I binged along with a lot of people around the world, the daily free operas from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. I love the website Opera Vision too, which is absolutely free because it’s an EU funded celebration of that continent with a lot of quirky new works as well as some classics. So I’m pleased that we were able to have this individual example of something that is more and more available and more and more affecting for me individually. So thank you for coming.

Carla: Thank you for inviting me. It made me mad. It made me happy. It made me sad, which I think is the point of opera. Just very quickly who is Honda?

Phil: Handa!

Carla: And what is the next thing they’re doing?

Phil: Honda is a wealthy patron of the arts darling.

Carla: Holy Moly.

Phil: And so if you are wealthy enough, you get to name a whole conceptual floating stage after oneself.

Carla: Wow. So yeah, is there anything on the horizon know? Because that would be very COVID safe as well, ironically?

Phil: Yeah, good point. Well, actually, this is tragic. The next production is The Phantom of the Opera.

Carla: Oh no.

Phil: So all respect lost.

Carla: We all know how I feel. Long time listeners will all know how I feel about Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Phil: That’s a downer.

Carla: Okay. Oh, well, it’s intermission. Anyway. Let’s have it. Let’s have a drink.

Phil: It’s a ferry taxi boat.

Carla: Oh, pop a bottle Phil. I feel like we need a huge drink.

Phil: Bring it on.

Carla: Have you changed? Have you changed your drinking style in the pandemic?

Phil: Well, I just need to do it less. I mean, this is news from the past, but working from home, eating from home, not moving from home wasn’t great for my health.

Carla: No, no one’s. I’ve never been a very big drinker. I smoke pot and like, I was getting up to like four nights a week with a with a glass of wine, you know? Yeah, glass or two

Phil: Exponential increases.

Carla: I know. And now I’m just like, bleurgh

Phil: Happily, I’ve got a very moral husband who’s piercing gaze from across the room was also omnipresent.

Carla: Hugh lost the sense (inaudible). It’s a full circle.

Phil: Absolutely. Keeps me honest.

Carla: So talk to me. I think the thing that I’m most curious with you about is how has the pandemic changed the way you consume culture? Is there anything new that has come into your life culturally because we weren’t able to be outside?

Phil: Well, podcasting has been there all along and is becoming a more profound element, I think of my cultural consumption.

Carla: Have you found any during the pandemic that you’ve really hooked into?

Phil: Oh, it’s kind of embarrassing, but I don’t mind J’aime. The podcast is amazing. By Chris Lilly confession time! Square brackets around this. I said it.

Carla: Phil, you are cancelled.

Phil: May it be so I’m moving on as quickly as I can. Also, don’t mind The Trojan Horse Affair. This is the new Serial piece about a kind of Islamophobic meltdown moment in the UK. But look, I’m staring at my phone all the time, so Instagram Live is becoming a quirkier and more enjoyable environment, and stories by the Jordan F’s of the world and the Clementine F’s of the world. Like the Cancerians of Instagram, yes, are keeping me entertained, which I love and look, I’ve discovered going back to the five kilometre radius that going on a trip beyond the CBD has become a whole adventure. So I’m going up to Healesville, I’m going up to the Dandenongs and just enjoying the local environment of this great city.

Carla: Yeah, awesome.

Phil: Have you been consuming?

Carla: I also have a Cancerian pandemic crush Emmy Made. I am now finally a millennial, even though I’m a Gen X where I have a YouTuber that I’m obsessed with.

Phil: Who’s Emmy Made?

Carla: Emmy Made is a Chinese-American woman who was living in Japan, so the original channel is called Emmy Made in Japan, and she started off with doing like demonstrations of these. These like crazy Japanese candy packs that you can buy for children and like you, mix them all up and there’s moulds and you can make like a little candy hamburger or, you know, a candy washing machine, you know, all these kinds of things, but it morphed into there from her just. You know, typical American abroad, you know, describing her experience for other Americans because they’re so insular, you know, so and she’s, you know, very culturally Chinese, so it’s very adventurous in her eating. She does really like many different streams of stuff like eating really weird things I watched her eat a tarantula, not a live one was like preserved. And then she does like, you know, sort of like 70s retro recipes that are mostly made out of gelatine. And then just like other things like TikTok recipes, recipes that are in the zeitgeist, all that kind of stuff. And then just she’s a really generous explainer of things, but she’s, I think ultimately an incredible critic because the way that she disseminates information is incredibly respectful and not paternalistic or, you know, insulting and just starts from this beginning of people may not know, may not understand or may not know. And just really trying to be culturally appropriate and explaining cultures. So I just love her so much.

Phil: Check out made great recommend. Thank you.

Carla: Yeah, she ate Balut, do you know what that is? So many things in her like unusual foods category. It’s like this Filipino street food where it’s like a fertilized egg. So like the baby chicken is in there and it’s like half developed and like, you boil it and then it’s like. Yeah. And like, she explains, like a mouthful like texture, taste, flavours, all those kinds of things. So it’s absolutely incredible. Yeah. And I think that’s a Cancerian moment in here. Like people can say, Cancerian is the sign of the home, absolutely bringing the world to their home and their home to the world.

Phil: Hence, my aforementioned stability, I mean my element permanently now as the water cascades down outside the window.

Carla: All right, quick. You better, better down your drink.

Phil: All right. More go to the movies. Hurray.

Carla: Ok. My pick is The Power of the Dog. I saw this in November and now it’s nominated for a billion Oscars. Rightly so. It’s continues its life in the cinema, so go and see it. It’s based on the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage and is the latest film by Kiwi auteur Jane Campion, and it’s described as a domineering rancher responds with mocking cruelty when his brother brings home a new wife and her son until the unexpected comes to pass. What a great, succinct description.

Phil: There’s the blurb,

Carla: So it’s set in, I think, like 1920s Montana, a couple of rancher brothers. It is Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons, and the other characters are a widow in town who is Kirsten Dunst, who plays Rose Gordon and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The always token Australian in any amazing film is Peter, her very frail looking son, fey son, and hilarity continues. But what I really see this is, you know, it’s a Western. It’s set in the plains, its new frontier. The themes of a western is, you know, stranger comes to town and changes everything. But I and I’ve talked to you about this before Phil, and I can’t tell whether the stranger is modernity or femininity as we move from a feminine, a feminine Gaia type understanding of the natural world to, you know, the that’s like 1920s is like Ford is like the production line. It’s like slightly post-industrial revolution. Anyway, that’s where my thoughts are going. Tell me your thoughts and feelings a bit about the film.

Phil: Well, Cumberbatch’s character certainly fears both of those things or the exposure of the way that both of those things have impacted him. And I seem to be in a kind of saying everything as ironic mode because the chaps in this film where the queerest thing I’ve seen coming over the horizon since Mardi Gras, of course. So the idea that this was a kind of authenticity versus the encroaching, performative city of the feminine and the queer and the modern didn’t quite work for me, but the film did work because the whole thing was circus like and elevated the work, the labour that a character like this has to put into his own masculinity is so tiring for him and he’s mastered it. Right. So I found that character, this sort of hyper masculine but very self crafting figure. One of the most interesting elements of this story, and I think that Campion is questioning and querying what it means for the cowboy to be the cowboy. What is behind the scenes of that act that is so costumed and self quoting and iconic in the American sense?

Carla: Wow, that’s so interesting because I saw it in such a different way. I saw the arrival of Rose, who ends up marrying George, Phil’s brother. I saw the arrival of Rose as that pivotal point where he had to. He was exposed. I feel like up until that point, his homosexuality was able to be completely concealed because it wasn’t really a thing that anybody would really think about much. And he could live a life entirely surrounded by men and not have his sexuality in any way questioned. Because I mean, I guess they go right in the beginning of the film. They go and they go into town and have a meal and see the sex workers and all that kind of stuff, and he doesn’t partake. So that might be obvious. But yeah, I saw that, as you know, the stranger, the woman, the feminine coming to town, exposing him.

Phil: Mm hmm. Ok, which is why he would be able to project a kind of misogyny towards Rose that doesn’t necessarily question his ostensible heterosexuality and is in fact the standard element of that patriarchal version of heterosexuality whereby you need to diminish women. That’s what they’re for. Yeah, okay. I see that too.

Carla: Or in competition of homosocial binds as well. Like, it’s very complex.

Phil: Absolutely.

Carla: Because he doesn’t recognize his femininity. He doesn’t. And this is where I think it’s so fucking interesting because the scenes where you know, he’s, you know, being like, essentially like a fairy in the forest, you know, and these natural gays, you know, it’s like very much projected that he is a feels connected with the natural world and this was their secret place him and his lover. You know, it is obviously like it was a spiritual thing for him, and he feels it very spiritually. So I think that I feel like there’s a commentary here that, you know, nature is divine. And I think that he really felt that. Mm hmm.

Phil: You’re bringing me around powerfully because if you’re rating of that expression of homosexuality is accurate, then there is diversity within that identity. Even in the 20s, even in Montana. Hmm. And I want that to be true, and I believe it to have been true. And so instead of the more basic reading that I was applying, whereby he’s sort of always going to be closeted, including to himself and always protective of any outing risk instead? No, no, no. He knows how to do it. He knows how to feel and connect and be alone or with another person in a beautiful environment. But it’s a secret because of how precious and profound it is for him.

Carla: Hmm. Well, there’s obviously an understanding that that’s not socially acceptable.

Phil: Well, you need to go through a tunnel to get there. Yeah.

Carla: And that it was concealed. But I think that I think ultimately the area that this film is really talking about talking into is, you know, that all nature is divine. Nature is divinely ordained into all of us. We are all a part of nature, and it’s when we question. It’s when we bring our ego, it’s when we bring our selves, our masculine identity into the try to position that in a way that is above the natural order of things. That’s when everything falls apart.

Phil: Which makes me think of Peter, this character, who’s the son of Rose, who is studying nature and classifying nature and has that kind of museum like set of signifiers around him and wants to kill rabbits and other animals in order to see what’s inside them, ultimately to heal people. In his study of medicine. And so Campion is really laying on thick, isn’t she? There’s different ways of relating to the elements. The whole purpose of this ranch, which is at risk from going down some other business path is to just skin cattle and create hides that are then used for. Clothing. And so that is a different approach to the control of the environment and the oversight of its products, quote unquote. But yeah, this figure of Peter, who is so cerebral and so fragile physically obviously disgusts in a visceral way. Phil, because it’s more openly queer for a start and more physically fragile. And he’s worked so hard to create a sense for himself of the bigness and the strength of the male body being what desire is all about.

Carla: Yeah, it’s so fascinating, because even if you put them side by side standing up, they’re both the same build. They’re both the same height. And you know, one body is if you, you know, do physical labour all day and you, you know, actively cultivate that kind of physique and the other is the natural. So there’s the control there as well. Yeah, that’s so fascinating because there’s also stuff about science and religion. Like Peter’s father has killed himself, he was also a doctor. And so back then, to have a suicide would have been absolutely shameful for the whole family, but also like the condemnation of your soul. You know, there wouldn’t have been any other kind of thought process around where Peter’s father had gone and so Rose as a tainted woman by. It goes against society’s principle. It’s just such an egregious thing to do, and whether it was through desperation or choice or whatever it’s like to live that far outside of society is also like. It’s pretty amazing, and that’s obviously what he has. He obviously was like a free thinker, and that is what he has imparted onto Peter.

Phil: Mm hmm. Yeah. And then for Rose to be somewhat redeemed or brought into the family and the dynasty goes so badly, doesn’t it? And her breakdown and her addiction plays out in full on Kirsten Dunst iconic performance territory in ways that keep reinforcing that question around being a woman and the misogynistic male gaze of patriarchal society. I mean, she can’t even play a piano for pleasure without being intimidated by her brother in law upstairs. And as I talk about this film with you, I keep coming back to Campion, who knows her tools, I mean, she is a cinematic master of the form, but not unpopular, not avant garde. I mean, she’s using these classic ways of conveying meaning in film to create a really immersive, atmospheric and meaningful experience for viewers. This is this is film at its most um itself in a way like it’s the reason I agree with you about seeing it at a cinema is that it is so native to cinema to see these ways of conveying meaning, you know, and this started with me just remembering that Cumberbatch is upstairs when he’s playing his mandolin to drown out the sound from downstairs. And you sort of think, Well, okay, obvious symbolism, maybe. But that’s what film does. It shows us meaning and takes us on a journey, and the visual medium is just mastered to such a level of precision and detail by Campion that it’s a pleasure to look at every frame agreed.

Carla: It is such it is a masterpiece, and I think about it almost every day and the texture and the actual physical sensation I got from watching it is absolutely astounding. Like it is truly 3D. It is not, you know, I can feel my body there, you know, I want to I want to throw a theory past you. Okay, I’ve had this thought since we last talked, I think. Phil thinks Peter is the reincarnation of Bronco Henry.

Phil: Okay

Carla: So he and I think that’s the communication of the dates. So Bronco Henry died approximately 20 years previous, 19 years previous. And then you see, like his absolute amazement that he just knew where to find him in the river and that he knew and that he saw the dog in the mountains. And he’s like, How do you know that? So like, Phil is actually having this mystical awakening thinking that, you know, he’s been communicated with or connected to the other side.

Phil: This dweeb medicine student?

Carla: Yeah.

Phil: And that’s the initial disappointment that then translates into erotic charge.

Carla: And it’s the cycle of life because Bronco Henry was that person for him.

Phil: Yes,

Carla: And now he is able to.

Phil: And now that makes sense of why they all need to fondle the saddle as much as they do.

Carla: I don’t think that needs any explanation.

Phil: It’s a Western baby.

Carla: And then just to sort of wrap it up with that full circle moment with the rope, you know you’ve got the murder via.

Phil: Spoilers ahead.

Carla: Murder via anthrax via leather. Death by leather. Death by, I know it’s so camp as well, you know? And then, you know, the father died by hanging by a rope, you know, I think it’s like. And, you know, literally full circle, like, the rope is a circle. So and that’s where I say this is like such a masterpiece, because every single element when you hear us talking about it, it sounds like the cheesiest.

Phil: That’s what I was saying.

Carla: Overplayed, right? Obvious operatic, ham fisted. It is the most delicate, beautiful, incredible experience I’ve had in the cinema in a very long time.

Phil: Thank you for taking me Carla.

Carla: Thank you.

Carla: All right Phil coming soon. You’re Phil, too.

Phil: Exactly. I’m triggered by characters called Phil when they’re satanic,

Carla: As you would be, of course.

Phil: Oh, have you seen that song on YouTube? I’m Afraid to Talk with Men.

Carla: No,

Phil: It ends with “But Phil’s are tough” and I’m like, I know they are and I’m one of them. Please use both syllables, anyway. Coming soon, Opera Australia is back in Melbourne with La Traviata, so if you’re interested in a classic, I strongly recommend that. Also, Lohengrin with Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, so they quadrupled the price on that one. Probably less available, but I did have tickets in advance, so that’s a humblebrag

Carla: Naturally, natch…

Phil: Looking for Alibrandi at the Malthouse, Stephen Nicolazzo… That’s unmissable and on sale to everyone now, so it seems like the kind of thing that will sell out because it has everything. Those would be my ideas. What about you?

Carla: I just had my fourth shot yesterday, so I’m thinking that I’ve probably got about a month where I can comfortably go to theatre still with a mask on, but not be terrified that I’m going to die from COVID. So, yeah, that’s a great point. I’m going to look at a few shows that I could potentially go and see coming soon for me. Yeah, there’s a movie coming out. Have you seen The Lighthouse with William Dafoe and Robert Pattinson?

Phil: Not I have not.

Carla: Dude. It is one of the most amazing movies I’ve ever seen. I should do it on here eventually. Okay? But that director is coming out with like a, a Nordic Icelandic wick, a movie called The Witch. No, no. The Witch was his first film. I can’t remember what this one is called, but it’s got Bjork in it. It’s got…

Phil: I have seen the witch, which is amazing.

Carla: Well, there you go. This is his third or fourth film. Ok. And it’s got Bjork. It’s got her daughter in it. It’s got Alexander Skarsgard. That’s going to come out in a couple of months. I’ve got my eye on that. Hmm. And the new season of Star Trek Picard has just started, so I am very excited about that.

Phil: I love that inaccessible, intriguing side of you, the Star Trek person. I mean, I perform my absurd classical music fandom so much more openly than you do on that.

Carla: I’m talking about Star Trek often on Twitter. You’re just not seeing it.

Phil: I just love how I can empathize with how inaccessible some people find my taste specifically with Star Trek and the fact that you know it, even the fact that you could say a sentence about it impresses me.

Carla: Oh my god, did you know I was living in America when it was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek? Really? And I got to go to this incredible exhibition on it at the I think it’s called AMP in Seattle. I was living in Seattle, but then I went to New York for a trip and they had a Star Trek academy set up and I got to go to Star Trek Academy for the day and do all of these exams. Oh yeah. And I’ve got a video of me being beamed up.

Phil: Oh my god, I’m so happy for you.

Carla: I’ll have to share it with you.

Phil: Thrilling.

Carla: Yeah. Now it runs deep. All right. That sounds wonderful. And hopefully more episodes from us coming soon as well on.

Carla: And that is that for this month’s episode for March 2022. Thank you for listening if you made it this far. We’d also love to hear from you. You can contact us on us@acrossaisle.com or on Twitter @acrossaisle. Making the show is a great joy and a lot of work. Please let us know you appreciate it. We’re still feeling out getting back to real life post-pandemic, so this may be a one off or there may be more. Let’s see. Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date.

Across the Aisle is recorded in Naarm on the stolen lands of the Bunurong, Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation. Sovereignty has never been ceded. We pay our respects to their elders and are so grateful for their custodianship of the land, waterways and skies we live on. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Phil: See you soon.