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Peter Rose

Peter Rose

In 2001 Peter Rose became the Editor of Australian Book Review. Previously he was a publisher at Oxford University Press throughout the 1990s. He has published several books of poetry, a family memoir, Rose Boys, and two novels, the most recent being Roddy Parr (Fourth Estate, 2010). He edited the 2007 and 2008 editions of The Best Australian Poems (Black Inc.). His newest book of poems is Rag (Gazebo Books, 2023). Peter Rose’s long experience in publishing and the literary world complements the magazine’s history of central involvement in Australian letters.

Lucia di Lammermoor (Victorian Opera) and Turandot (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 14 April 2016
The speed with which Gaetano Donizetti wrote his operas almost defies belief, especially in our more leisurely age of composition. Don Pasquale (1843), as we know, was written in eleven days. When Donizetti, newly contracted to Teatro San Carlo, fetched up in Naples in May 1835, he had already written fifty operas. He was thirty-seven years old. Recent triumphs included Anna Bolena (1830), L'elisi ... (read more)

The Lady in the Van

ABR Arts 29 February 2016
The Lady in the Van may be a great comic character, but she is one of the unlikelier Britons ever to earn a blue plaque in her honour. Yet one now adorns the façade of 23 Gloucester Crescent, the London address that she besieged for fifteen years. Alan Bennett – her landlord of sorts – published the original story in the London Review of Books in 1989. Nicholas Hytner (who directs the new fil ... (read more)

Luisa Miller (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 23 February 2016
The gestation of some of Giuseppe Verdi's operas was more tumultuous than his often twisted plots. Luisa Miller – which is now being seen in Sydney prior to a shorter season in Melbourne – was as fraught as any of them? Salvatore Cammarano owed the Teatro San Carlo in Naples a libretto, and when he tried to renege the Neapolitans threatened him with incarceration. Verdi somewhat reluctantly ag ... (read more)

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)