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Robyn Archer

Robyn Archer AO FAHA is a multi-award-winning singer, writer and artistic director. Her professional career spans sixty years and in 2023 Robyn Archer: An Australian Songbook toured nationally, including the two-hour performance in hometown Adelaide on her seventy-fifth birthday. Her back-catalogue, including the re-released Brecht specialty Songs for Bad Times recorded at Abbey Road, is accessible online. She is currently working on a new program of French chansons for 2025, and in daily doubt about whether her memoir is worth publishing. Robyn is a proud ABR Laureate, has been honoured by France, Belgium, and the International Society of Performing Arts, and holds honorary doctorates from six Australian Universities.

Robyn Archer reviews ‘Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The jazz singer who transformed American song’ by Judith Tick

May 2024, no. 464 22 April 2024
My one-woman show A Star Is Torn was a sung catalogue of the great women singers who had ‘taught’ me via their recordings. Having assembled a list of twelve, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday among them, I realised that they had all died young. The original draft also included a bunch of survivors, including Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald. My assessment of Ella was based on scant information. Wh ... (read more)

‘On living in a time of Covid-19' by Robyn Archer

May 2020, no. 421 27 April 2020
Listen to this essay read by the author. Closeted but not isolated, everyone will have a story, so there’s nothing special here. But the common difference is clear. When it’s about Brexit or Trump there, it’s us to them; when it’s bushfires here, it’s them to us. We have been globally entwined for decades, but the economic and political truths are mostly covert. It’s taken Covid-19 ... (read more)

Epiphany: 'Braving Glyndebourne' by Robyn Archer

June–July 2019, no. 412 23 May 2019
It was during the still relatively tentative explorations I was making into the world of international arts festival direction that I swallowed hard and made my first visit to Glyndebourne. I had lived in London throughout the 1980s, had performed there many times in various venues from the National to the Drill Hall to Wyndham’s in the West End, and had sung in Paris, Vienna, and Amsterdam. I ... (read more)

'Kindness by Numbers' by Robyn Archer

November 2015, no. 376 27 October 2015
Robyn Archer debated Peter Singer during the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival; their topic was 'Is Funding the Arts Doing Good?'. This is an edited version of her paper. I hear that in New YorkAt the corner of 26th Street and BroadwayA man stands every evening during the winter monthsAnd gets beds for the homeless thereBy appealing to passers-by It won't change the worldIt won't improve relations ... (read more)