To celebrate the year’s memorable plays, films, television, music, operas, dance, and exhibitions, we invited a number of arts professionals and critics to nominate their favourites.... (read more)
Barney Zwartz reviews In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, homosexuality, hypocrisy by Frédéric Martel
Almost from the day Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis in 2013, he began denouncing fake devotees, whited sepulchres, and hypocrites at the Vatican. His targets, as Frédéric Martel makes clear, are the high-ranking clergy who vehemently condemn homosexuality while themselves often ...... (read more)
It is easy to overlook – this side of The Ring and Tristan und Isolde – quite how radical Wagner’s first distinctly Wagnerian opera, The Flying Dutchman, really was. Written in Paris, where grand opera was utterly dominant, the opera broke with the form, style, and subject matter of grand opera and introduced Wagner’s own concepts ...... (read more)
Barney Zwartz reviews 'Newman College: A history 1918–2018' by Brenda Niall, Josephine Dunin, and Frances O’Neill
Drive along College Crescent, the circular avenue that forms Melbourne University’s northern order, and you will see the series of sedate, handsome university colleges that line the edge: Newman, Queen’s, Ormond, Trinity, plus the newer women’s colleges of St Mary’s, St Hilda’s, and Janet Clarke Hall. The impression today of quiet élitism and learning may be just, but the weathered stone has seen some turbulent times.... (read more)
Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss consciously set out to emulate Mozart in Der Rosenkavalier, and succeeded, creating not only the last great Romantic opera but the most perfect Viennese confection, and Strauss’s most-loved opera. It was an immediate hit ...... (read more)
Tristan und Isolde, the opera in which Richard Wagner really took art in a new direction, is often described as the most important musical work of the nineteenth century. No lesser authority than Kobbé calls it the most influential opera in all musical history, while the great Wagner conductor Christian Thielemann says it is ...... (read more)
Comments from ABR readers, published in the November Arts Issue of Australian Book Review.... (read more)
George Pell is the most polarising religious leader Australia has had in recent decades, certainly since Daniel Mannix – perhaps since Samuel Marsden. For most of his career he has been loathed or adored for his sternly inflexible defence of a Catholic orthodoxy predating the second Vatican Council, his robust and sometimes ...... (read more)
Of all the stories John le Carré has invented – more than a score of novels, nearly all bestsellers – his own is perhaps the most fascinating. It is dominated by two characters, le Carré himself (real name David Cornwell) and his father, Ronnie.
Biographers naturally pay close attention to the influence of their subjects' parents, but seldom can they e ...
Often I am not proud of my profession, but there are times – usually when looking beneath the stones that shore up the established order – when journalists change the world for the better. The uncovering of the extent of sexual abuse of children, particularly by Catholic priests, is ...... (read more)