Peter Rose

Peter Rose

Peter Rose is the Editor and CEO of Australian Book Review. His books include a family memoir, Rose Boys (2001), which won the National Biography Award in 2003. He has published two novels and six poetry collections, most recently The Subject of Feeling (UWA Publishing, 2015).

Die Walküre, Act One (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 27 August 2018
Die Walküre, Act One (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)
Notwithstanding the riches that follow in the final two acts (Wotan’s Farewell, the Ride of the Valkyries, the Todesverkündigung), Act One of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre offers perhaps the greatest hour of music in German opera. It is ideal for discrete, unstaged performances, and as we know from last week’s sensational WASO Tristan und Isolde in Perth, the pleasures of concert performanc ... (read more)

Tristan und Isolde (West Australian Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 20 August 2018
Tristan und Isolde (West Australian Symphony Orchestra)
Nietzsche was in no doubt: Wagner owed his success to his innate sensuality. The philosopher – most influential of the Wagnerites – began to have reservations about his hero in the mid-1870s, around the time of the first Bayreuth Festival (1876), though he never changed his mind about Wagner’s pre-eminence (‘Other musicians don’t count compared to Wagner’). It was Wagner’s decadence ... (read more)

Lucia di Lammermoor and Aida (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 30 July 2018
Lucia di Lammermoor and Aida (Opera Australia)
John Doyle’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s 1837 opera dates back to 2012 – a co-production with La Fenice and Houston. It is a rather self-important production – very dour and Presbyterian. The dark cloudage never parts. There is a radical want of props: one long table, two chairs, and a row of otiose sticks which are deployed with something like religious gravity. Every gesture, every ... (read more)

Cendrillon, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Tosca (Metropolitan Opera)

ABR Arts 02 May 2018
Cendrillon, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Tosca (Metropolitan Opera)
ABR Arts’s long day’s journey into operatic night continued with three familiar productions, one of them new to the Metropolitan Opera. Jules Massenet’s fifteenth opera (April 24, ★★★★) is largely unknown to modern audiences, but its neglect is a mystery, for this version of Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale (based on a libretto by Henri Caïn) contains much enchanting music and ... (read more)

Così fan tutte (Metropolitan Opera)

ABR Arts 26 April 2018
Così fan tutte (Metropolitan Opera)
‘When you’re young, you believe everything,’ Jonas Kaufmann muses in Thomas Voigt’s biographical study, In Conversation with Jonas Kaufmann (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2017). The German tenor, a frequent Ferrando at the start of his career, went on: ‘And now imagine: two couples who live next door to each other go off on holiday together and share everything. And at some stage the point ... (read more)

Three Tall Women (John Golden Theatre, New York)

ABR Arts 19 April 2018
Three Tall Women (John Golden Theatre, New York)
It’s easy to forget how young Edward Albee was when he wrote his first plays, The Zoo Story, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and A Delicate Balance. Perhaps it was his choice of subjects and types that obscured the New Yorker’s precocity. In a way, Albee was always middle-aged – like his great characters (George, Tobias, Agnes), with their dashed hopes and jaded marriages. Think of Harry a ... (read more)

Editorial on ABR's 400th issue by Peter Rose

April 2018, no. 400 23 March 2018
A cynic once remarked that an editor needs two things: good grammar and a long memory. But we all know there’s a bit more to it than that. As we prepare to send the April issue to press – the four hundredth in the magazine’s second series – it occurs to me that an editor’s main function is to be a recogniser of expertise, discernment, literary flair – and, more importantly perhaps, cou ... (read more)

'Victory for Equality' by Peter Rose

December 2017, no. 397 14 November 2017
As expected, the postal survey has produced a strong majority in favour of marriage equality. 61.6 per cent of respondents have voted Yes. A postal survey that few people wanted – a sop to bigots, reactionaries, and the prime minister’s enemies in his party – has endorsed the accuracy of numerous opinion polls. After a divisive and hugely expensive survey, the people have delivered an emphat ... (read more)

'Attention, Please' by Peter Rose

October 2017, no. 395 27 September 2017
‘Then there was only one: myself.’ John Ashbery, ‘The History of My Life’ Having comprehensively disposed of that chestnut,shoved it on a skip,I have more questions to put to you than the Socraticin our grocer.First, I want you to step out of those non sequiturs, comelythough they are.Donate those loafers to the nearest indigent – with a songin your heart.Don’t pout. Look what it doe ... (read more)

Thaïs (MSO)

ABR Arts 28 August 2017
Thaïs (MSO)
Equally welcome was the second opportunity to hear Massenet’s opera Thaïs (1894) within a matter of weeks. Once again it was a concert version – a ‘mid-season gala’ from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. ABR Arts wrote about Opera Australia’s recent concerts in the Sydney Town Hall and about the glamorous American Sybil Sanderson for whom Massenet conceived the luminous title-role. The ... (read more)