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Meet me at the House

Watch the full series now

A new video series exploring relationships, memories, experiences and love stories shared at the Opera House.

Episodes

A photo of Pedro and Ebru smiling in front of the Opera House sails, episode 1 of video series Meet me at the House

Episode 1

Ebru & Pedro

 

A photo of Chris and Dot, two elderly people, in front of the Opera House sails, for episode 3 of video series Meet me at the House

Episode 2

Dot & Chris

 

Gill, an elderly woman, smiling, from episode 4 of Meet me at the House video series

Episode 4

Gill

Episode 4

Gill

Gill Croft’s first memory of music was her father playing Beethoven’s sonatas on their battle-scarred baby grand piano while she sat at his feet enchanted by the music.

Later on she married an Australian who played the violin. When they were in their fifties, they bought a violin shop in Brighton, England and they lived above the shop and ran it for about twenty years.

“Rick was extremely good at knowing instinctively whether somebody liked a violin just by the way they held it,” Gill said. “Even if it sounded like an old tin can, he could see whether they truly liked it.”

Gill Croft’s first memory of music was her father playing Beethoven’s sonatas on their battle-scarred baby grand piano while she sat at his feet enchanted by the music.

Later on she married an Australian who played the violin. When they were in their fifties, they bought a violin shop in Brighton, England and they lived above the shop and ran it for about twenty years.

“Rick was extremely good at knowing instinctively whether somebody liked a violin just by the way they held it,” Gill said. “Even if it sounded like an old tin can, he could see whether they truly liked it.”

The combination of his ability to make a violin sing for somebody with a talent for selling things made their little business a success. Now that music was their livelihood as well as their passion, it held an tremendous importance for them both.

When they retired they moved to Sydney to live in Pittwater. Gill still lives here and she often makes the long trip to the Opera House to see her favourite performances. Rick has been in a nursing home for the last two years. At 87 years old, the journey along the wobbly foreshore path and the little boat became too difficult for them to manage.

We invited Gill to the Opera House for a performance from the Utzon Music program and her usual glass of prosecco at Portside Sydney in the Western Foyers.

Episode 3

Steve, Marina & Serena

When Steve Tsoukalas first sailed into Sydney harbour in 1964 as a Greek immigrant he caught sight of the Opera House decorated in scaffolding and knew he wanted to work here.

Four years later he was helping to build it. Once it was complete he took a job in maintenance and there he stayed for fifty years until retirement in 2018.

He gifted the building a tip inspired from his Greek grandmother, tending to the building’s bronze with olive oil and the concrete with bicarb soda, chemical-free and environmentally sustainable.

For this episode of Meet me at the House, we invited him back to the Opera House with his twin granddaughters, Marina and Serena.

For Steve it was an emotional day; his love for the building is a lifelong passion and this sentiment is echoed in his love for his family.

“I can't describe the love I've got for these beautiful creatures,” he says. “It's a blessing from the gods. I feel so happy and so proud and so young to be together with these beautiful girls.”

His whole life has been dedicated to family, to making their lives more comfortable and providing them with security and opportunity.

“Family is the big word, especially for migrants. My dream was to make good citizens for this country. Well, I think I was one of the luckiest ones,” he tells us. “I'm going to thank the Opera House, they gave me the opportunity to create family and to educate family, and today I feel like one of the happiest fathers and grandfathers in this country.”

Steve, Marina, Serena and their family joined us for a Junior Adventure Tour, discovering mysterious secrets and unusual facts about the Opera House, followed by a family lunch at Opera Kitchen. 

Episode 2

Dot & Chris

Seventeen year old Dot Waterhouse met Chris at orientation on her first day of university. He persuaded her to go waterskiing, then took her home to meet his grandfather for dinner.

“I wasn’t looking for anything, I was really hoping to have a bit of fun for a while, “ she says. But they were meant to be.

“The other day, I found all our letters to each other. We were a bit of hot stuff, I have to say!” she laughs, then turns to Chris, “How long have we been together now?”

“That will be fifty years next February,” he replies.

“He’s the mathematician,” she jokes.

Their secret to a long relationship started right at the beginning. Even as teenagers when they married, they chose to embody non-stereotypical gender roles. Dot worked for a while to put Chris through university and they shared parenting and household tasks. This, they tell us, enabled them to grow together rather than apart.

“We haven’t always agreed but our lives have agreed. Even though we’ve changed hugely over the years, we haven’t changed away from each other,” says Dot.

Chris was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years ago which affects his speech and facial expressions. Grappling with the changes to their lifestyle, they joined a Dance for PD class, a programme offering specialised dance classes to people with Parkinson’s, their families and care partners.

For them it’s an escape; a moment to revel in the music and dancing, shifting their focus from the debilitative aspects of the disease.

The couple came to the Opera House in June 2019 for an accessible Dance for PD workshop held in the Utzon Room as part of Vivid LIVE, followed by a lunch date at Portside.

“Today was special because we’re doing it together, we’re performing,” says Dot as she smiles. “While we’re very mobile, a lot of our friends in the group aren’t, and yet they were able to go as well. It’s marvelous that the Opera House has been able to make events like this accessible.”

Episode 1

Ebru & Pedro

Ebru Sumaktas and Pedro Gonzales first locked eyes while she was shopping for leather pants in a New York department store where he was working at the time.

She was travelling with a friend to attend the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their meeting sparked an attraction that they couldn’t let pass them by.

After a year of long distance communicating, the pair became closer and closer. Long distance was hard. “I think it’s why I loved her more, because we got to know each other better,” Pedro says. “I got to fall in love with who she was, with her mind, with everything about her.”

He decided to leave his New York home and move to Sydney to be with Ebru. Over the years, some of their fondest memories have been made at the Opera House.

Now they’re smitten, married and preparing for a new baby.

“We’re expecting a baby boy and we’re talking about what our lives will be like when one parent is sighted and one is not, preparing for that,” says Ebru. “Pedro is really an enabler as opposed to a disabler. That’s empowering for a woman with a disability.”

Pedro and Ebru visited the Sydney Opera House during Vivid LIVE 2019 for a dinner at Portside overlooking the harbour and the bridge. After dinner, they took part in an audio-described Lighting the Sails, which allows people with no vision or low vision to experience the magnificent Opera House projections through a live description with tactile elements.


Stories from behind the curtain

Go Backstage and discover more from the people, shows and stories that bring the Opera House to life.