Michael Shmith

Stage Door | Michael Shmith interviews Leo Schofield

Michael Shmith
24 March 2016

In the early 1990s, after Leo Schofield was – not without controversy – appointed the artistic director of the Melbourne Festival, Clive James referred to our own emerging cultural tsar as 'Australia's Diaghilev'. Which, I guess, retrospectively makes Sergei Pavlovich Russia's Schofield.

There is an element of truth in James's witticism, especially these ... More

Michael Shmith reviews 'Sinatra' by James Kaplan

Michael Shmith
18 December 2015

Just in time for the Frank Sinatra centenary – 12 December should be a gazetted public holiday – comes the thumping second part of James Kaplan's monumental biography. Taken together, Volume I – Frank: The Voice (2010, 786 pages) – and its behemoth successor, Sinatra: The Chairman (979 pages), comprise a formidable and scrupulously detailed ... More

Arts Highlights of the Year

Robyn Archer et al.
26 October 2015

To highlight Australian Book Review's arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year's memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate their favourites – and to nominate one production they are looking forward to in 2016. (We indicate which works were reviewed in Arts Up ... More

Michael Shmith reviews 'Rules of Engagement' by Kim Williams

Michael Shmith
24 November 2014

What this is not, as Kim Williams is quick to tell us (introduction, paragraph two), is a dog-bites-Murdoch account of that nasty business in August 2013 that saw Williams summarily ousted as chief executive of News Corp Australia. Other disgruntled former Ruprechtian courtiers such as former editor-in-chief of The Herald Sun Bruce Guthrie, who sought and won ... More

Michael Shmith: A conductor's Bach pilgrimage

Michael Shmith
28 May 2014

I was a part-time pilgrim on John Eliot Gardiner’s extraordinary year-long journey, from Christmas 1999 to New Year’s Eve 2000, when he took Johann Sebastian Bach on the road. Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, with his fifteen-member Monteverdi Choir and the twenty instrumentalists of the English Baroque Soloists, performed in Britain, Europe, and the United ... More

Michael Shmith on the lettesr of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

Michael Shmith
29 January 2013

It is fitting to compare the longevity of the Queen Mother’s life with a magnificent hand-woven carpet running along a length of parquet down a torch-lit ancestral hallway: she was the embodiment of the twentieth century precisely because her life more or less spanned it. She was born on 4 August 1900 and (allowing for a bit of overhang into this century) died on ... More

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