I can personally report that the newly refurbished Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House is acoustically vastly improved. You can now hear things you never heard before and there is a warmth to the hall; the nasty edges have been softened. I was there conducting a concert called East Meets West – a mix of Chinese and Western classical music featuring the Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto (played by the wonderful 25-year-old Amanda Chen) and the Yellow River Piano Concerto (featuring the technical wizardry of Tony Lee.)

Taryn Fiebig Andrew Jones

Taryn Fiebig and Andrew Jones in The Magic Flute. Photo © Branco Gaica/Opera Australia.

The funniest thing about the beginning of the rehearsal was when the stagehands brought out a series of blue absorbent pads and put them under the brass players in the orchestra, in case the drips of the moisture from their instruments damaged the newly minted floor of the stage in any way. They are easily seen from the auditorium. After $150 million, you’d think the Opera House could have invested in some...