Tuesday, July 12, 2005

On Saturday we hopped upon a private train with tickets to El Jem, a tourist stop famed for its ruined Roman coliseum. This was no regular trip either, this time we were on a chartered train headed to a concert of the Vienna Opera's Orchestra with opera singers and ballet dancers. The concert was staged IN the coliseum and all this was for just 25 Dinars per person ($25 CND). The train ride took two and a half hours and we arrived just after 8:30 as the sun was falling in the sky. When the thousands of us left the train platform and followed the small parade of musicians and children down the centre street this came in to view.  Posted by Picasa

A tunisian drumming team waves the local banner as they welcome the visiters to El Jem. You can see the coliseum in the background. From this view it's still hard to tell that the coliseum isn't a ruin from a past golden age. Posted by Picasa

Entering the coliseum was beautiful. The planners timed it so well, all was still visible but daylight was quickly failing, and the torches all along the ruined wall were flickering as we went by. Posted by Picasa

This was the setting for our concert! Three levels of arched entrances lookingdown into the ring below. A modest stage, with VIP seating on the ground level and us way up in the noseblead section, getting a good earfull and a fabulous view. Posted by Picasa

Here I am just before the concert begins. Dusk behind all the little yellow flames (real torches affixed to the wall!) Posted by Picasa

What a backdrop for a concert!  Posted by Picasa

Here's the crowd in the stands with some of the ruined coliseum behind. Posted by Picasa

The stage and the crowd - to give you some sense of scale and size of the audience. Posted by Picasa

End of the concert. Everyone takes a bow. Posted by Picasa