Opera

I Puritani (Victorian Opera)

Peter Rose
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 ... More

The Barber of Seville (Melbourne Opera)

Rob Holdsworth
29 June 2015

Writing to a friend in 1898, Giuseppe Verdi said of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville:

You may say things about Rossini and they may be true regarding the borrowings, the speed of composition and so forth, but I confess that I cannot help believing ‘The Barber of Seville’ for abundance of ideas, for verve and for truth of dec ... More

Tristan und Isolde (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Michael Halliwell
22 June 2015

A music teacher in Thomas Mann’s early novel, Buddenbrooks (1900), when presented with some piano arrangements of Tristan und Isolde, recoils in terror: ‘I won’t play this ... This is not music ... It is pure chaos! It is demagoguery, blasphemy, and madness! It is the end of all morality in the arts. I will not pl ... More

Don Carlos (Opera Australia)

Alastair Jackson
25 May 2015

Passion and politics often go hand in hand – and never more so than in Don Carlos, arguably Verdi’s greatest opera. Based on the historically questionable play by Friedrich von Schiller, it is certainly the composer’s grandest and most ambitious work and the most demanding of his career. Because of church and state inte ... More

Elektra (Bayerische Staatsoper)

Peter Rose
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 Döllg ... More

Fly Away Peter (Sydney Chamber Opera)

Ian Dickson
07 May 2015

Of all the many projects commemorating the centenary of World War I and the Anzacs’ contribution to it, the creation of an opera from David Malouf’s magnificent novella Fly Away Peter (1981) would seem to be one of the most demanding.

The story follows the young, bird-obsessed Jim Saddler f ... More

Madama Butterfly (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose
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.

Moffa ... More

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

Peter Rose
30 March 2015

Aida (three stars) 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 a ... More

Faust (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose
23 February 2015

Scottish director David McVicar’s importance to Opera Australia – after his acclaimed Don Giovanni in 2014 – grows with this new production of his Covent Garden Faust, which is currently being seen in Sydney. The production dates back to 2004 ... More

The Flying Dutchman (Victorian Opera)

Peter Rose
16 February 2015

For many of us – those of us not in the Farnham faction – this was our first visit to the Palais Theatre in three decades. (It has mostly been used as a rock venue since the Australian Opera decamped.) So there was much anticipation before the opening night of Victorian Opera’s The Flying Dutchman, perhaps the most ambitious production in the company’ ... More

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