Peter Rose

Peter Rose

Peter Rose is the Editor and CEO of Australian Book Review. His books include a family memoir, Rose Boys (2001), which won the National Biography Award in 2003. He has published two novels and six poetry collections, most recently The Subject of Feeling (UWA Publishing, 2015).

King Lear (Sydney Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 30 November 2015
It opens with a deep black-walled stage devoid of props, but for a spotlit microphone. Instead of the feared cast change or sponsorial fealty, on walks Marilyn Monroe at Madison Square Garden, with her sequined dress and curvaceous glamour. We recognise Robyn Nevin, defying the years. Funny as Blossom Dearie, she sings 'Happy Birthday' to 'Nuncle Majesty' before yanking off her wig and yielding th ... (read more)

The Marriage of Figaro and The Elixir of Love (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 24 November 2015
Opera Australia's short spring season in Melbourne began with the first revival of David McVicars's highly resuscitable production of Le nozze di Figaro , first seen in Sydney in August this year. It follows the British director's Don Giovanni already seen in Sydney and Melbourne. Così fan tutte will follow next year – welcome programming of these three Mozart/Da Ponte masterpieces by the natio ... (read more)

Betrayal (Melbourne Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 31 August 2015
The gestation of Harold Pinter’s fearsome, hilarious plays was often as interesting as his celebrated dramatic pauses. Betrayal, from 1978, is a good example. Though Pinter was then engaged in an affair with Lady Antonia Fraser that would end his marriage to Vivien Merchant – Pinter’s muse and the creator of many of his great female characters – Betrayal was prompted (the MTC program tells ... (read more)

I Puritani (Victorian Opera)

ABR Arts 06 July 2015
‘In my Eden a person who dislikes Bellini has the good manners not to get born,’ wrote W.H. Auden in his poem ‘Vespers’ (1954). Like much of Auden’s table-talk, this may seem rather extreme, but those who attended last Thursday’s concert version of Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani may have gone away with similarly exclusive thoughts. Though it was a cold night in Melbourne, Hamer Hall ... (read more)

Elektra (Bayerische Staatsoper)

ABR Arts 25 May 2015
Our European summer holiday began in Munich – surprisingly cold and drizzly – perfect weather for long sessions in the Alte Pinakothek. This is one of the more forbidding of the great galleries, with its battered façade showing all the evidence of extensive bombing during World War II and a utilitarian rebuilding by Hans Döllgast in the 1950s. Once past the desolate foyer, the visitor is ... (read more)

Madama Butterfly (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 05 May 2015
Opera Australia’s autumn season in Melbourne with two revivals – one very familiar; the other in its second season, and its first on the bigger Melbourne stage. Each, responsibly, is on a Monday, not always guaranteed to draw a large audience, but the capacious State Theatre was well attended for the first offering, Madama Butterfly. Moffatt Oxenbould’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s op ... (read more)


ABR Arts 27 April 2015
I am often approached by young writers and reviewers. In many cases we offer them work, all part of ABR’s openness to new creative and critical talent. Two things often strike me during conversations with new contributors. First, they never raise the subject of money. Such is their reticence that I now make it clear at the outset that ABR pays for everything it publishes (print or online). My vi ... (read more)

Aida (Opera Australia) and Madama Butterfly (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 30 March 2015
Aida () is one of the great contradictory operas: grandiose in effect yet intimate in emotional content. How such an imperial chamber piece would translate onto a harbour in front of thousands of people and sundry camels remained to be seen. It was an ambitious but possibly inevitable choice for the fourth of the Handa Operas on Sydney Harbour, presented by Opera Australia. Aida was Giuseppe Verd ... (read more)

The Damnation of Faust (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 23 March 2015
Hamer Hall seemed close to full for the first of two performances of Hector Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was the first time in twenty years that the orchestra has performed the work. As is often the case, this was a concert version. Full productions are not unknown, but they are scarce. In 1845 Berlioz had orchestrated a famous Hungarian national tune. In ... (read more)

Editor's Diary 2014

Online Exclusives 04 March 2015
January 21 I am roaring through Edmund White’s memoir of his Paris years (Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris), much better than his New York memoir (City Boy). But there is a problem: one doesn’t believe a word he writes. His is possibly the laziest approach to autobiography. Still, this one is reasonably entertaining. January 24 Lunch at KereKere with my old friend and colleague Brian McFar ... (read more)