William Shakespeare - 23 April
April 23 – as if you didn't know already – marks the four hundredth anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, greatest of poets and playwrights. It was also his birthday, of course. We note this anniversary with a review of the current Bell Shakespeare production of Romeo and Juliet, by Andrew Fuhrmann. The season continues at Arts Centre Melbourne until May 1.
We also have three major public lectures on Shakespeare by two leading scholars. Professor Ian Donaldson – the renowned Ben Jonson authority, and a senior contributor to ABR – will lecture on 'The Death of Shakespeare' at the National Library, Canberra on Saturday, 23 April and at Elder Hall in Adelaide on Tuesday, 26 April. Professor Ian Gadd of Bath Spa University – who will respond to these two lectures – will then deliver one of his own at the University of Melbourne on Wednesday, 27 April.
A new Miss Julie
August Strindberg's play Miss Julie has stayed in the repertoire ever since its première in 1888. Kip Williams's new production (his first with the Melbourne Theatre Company) is a highlight of the MTC's 2016 season – especially after his STC productions of Suddenly Last Summer and Macbeth in 2015, which won him the Helpmann Award for Best Director. The lead roles are taken by Robin McLeavy (MTC début) and Mark Leonard Winter, who was so brilliant in the recent MTC Birdland and STC King Lear.
Oleg Caetani returns to Oz
Oleg Caetani – former Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra – was spurned by the orchestra in 2009 after a four-year tenure. Arts Update suspects that wild horses couldn't drag Maestro Caetani back to Melbourne, but he maintains an association with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Next month Maestro Caetani will conduct a performance of Shostakovich's mighty Seventh Symphony (Leningrad), which the MSO performed memorably under his baton in 2006 – in happier days. The SSO dates are May 4, 6, and 7.
Bill Henson at the Hellenic Museum
Bill Henson's most recent work, an installation entitled Oneiroi, is now on display at Melbourne's Hellenic Museum. The photographs – portraits and landscapes – are installed in a newly opened room on the first floor of the historic former Melbourne Mint and will form a permanent display. Henson created this new series in a rare collaboration between an artist and a museum collection. He was given privileged access to ancient gold jewellery and objects from the Benaki Museum in Athens that are on long-term loan to the Hellenic Museum, and photographed selected works with a model. The result, wonderfully displayed in the artist's own installation, presents a rich experience of artefacts from the ancient world shown in the context of the body instead of the museum showcase.