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Humphrey Bower

Humphrey Bower

Humphrey Bower is an actor, theatre director and writer who lives and works in Perth, Western Australia. He writes about theatre, dance, opera, music, literature, art and film at

'War Requiem: The promissory note of art' by Humphrey Bower

ABR Arts 23 August 2022
Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem was written for the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral in 1962, after the old cathedral had been destroyed by German bombing raids in 1940. He dedicated the work to four friends, three of whom were killed while on active service during World War II, and the fourth of whom survived the war but later committed suicide. As an avowed pacificist who had been a c ... (read more)

Humphrey Bower reviews 'Duino Elegies' by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Alison Croggon

July 2022, no. 444 26 June 2022
Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies were begun in a burst of inspiration while he was staying at Duino Castle near Trieste in 1912. Walking along the battlements after receiving a difficult business letter, he heard a mysterious voice calling to him from an approaching storm. Their composition was then interrupted by a personal and artistic crisis that lasted until 1922, when he finished them in ... (read more)

‘Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan: A major new Australian oratorio’ by Humphrey Bower

ABR Arts 07 March 2022
Neil Armfield’s production of Watershed ­– a new oratorio by composer Joe Twist and co-librettists Alana Valentine and Christos Tsolkias about the murder of Ian Duncan by police in Adelaide in 1972 and the subsequent cover-up and campaign for homosexual law reform – is an angry, brave, beautiful, emotionally shattering, and unexpectedly uplifting work. Duncan was thrown into the Torrens ... (read more)

'Così fan tutte' (WA Opera)

ABR Arts 26 October 2020
British director Nicholas Hynter’s production of Così fan tutte premièred at Glyndebourne in 2006. WA Opera’s Music Director Chris van Tuinen programmed it for their 2020 season. The set, costumes, props, and furniture were shipped to Perth, and the season substantially sold out. Then Covid-19 struck, and theatres (and Western Australian borders) closed. Restrictions within Western Australi ... (read more)

An Evening with Gun-Brit Barkmin (West Australian Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 27 August 2019
Those of us lucky enough to attend WASO’s concert performance of Tristan und Isolde with principal conductor Asher Fisch at the Perth Concert Hall in August 2018 were blown away by German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin’s musically and dramatically riveting Isolde. She returned last week for this year’s Opera Gala Concert in two performances with the orchestra (once more conducted by Fish) in ... (read more)

Ned Kelly (Lost & Found Opera)

ABR Arts 25 February 2019
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Sadly, this might serve as a motto both for Ned Kelly himself and for Lost & Found Opera’s recent production of Luke Styles and Peter Goldsworthy’s interesting new opera. Personally, I’ve always found the national obsession with Kelly somewhat cringe-worthy. He is most famous for his armour and for the shootout at Glenrowan, where it faile ... (read more)