Peter Rose

After two hapless ventures into the world of Verdi in 2013 (his bicentenary year), Opera Australia has given us an entertaining new production of Rigoletto – one that will probably stay in the company’s repertoire for as long as its lucrative predecessor.

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The cult of Wagner

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20 November 2013

So here we are, talking about the so-called Cult of Wagner. No wonder some people recoil from the German composer, given such terminology. It’s not a new coinage of course, but it’s a fairly dubious one. One old acquaintance of mine, on hearing about this event, sent me an email demanding to know: ‘You are not besotted with it, are you??? Are you one of those ...

The Frozen Sea

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20 August 2013

There was a real sense of occasion at the State Library of Queensland on 15 August when Tony Burke (Minister for the Arts and for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs, and Citizenship) – representing Kevin Rudd – announced the winners of the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Well there might ...

Opera Australia’s spring season in Melbourne opened with two masterpieces by Verdi in his bicentennial year. It was a decidedly rocky pairing.

La Fura dels Baus’s production of Un Ballo in Maschera was first seen in Sydney in January. La Fura is open about its intentions. Assistant director Valenti ...

Nixon in China

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16 May 2013

There was a real buzz in the foyer of Her Majesty’s last night before the Victorian Opera’s latest offering. At last Melbourne was seeing John Adams’s masterly opera Nixon in China, first performed in Houston twenty-six years ago and later seen in Adelaide, during the 1992 Festival.

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Opera Australia’s spring season, after an impressive autumn one (with the well-received Lucia, Butterfly, and Salome), opens with two masterpieces by Verdi in his bicentennial year. It is a decidedly rocky pairing.

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January 5

Dmetri Kakmi has landed himself in hot water with his Age article on the disgraced cricket writer, Peter Roebuck, who committed suicide late last year because of his penchant for spanking African boys. The Pharisees are livid because Dmetri sug ...

It was David Marr who commented that the key character in Gore Vidal’s first memoir, Palimpsest (1995), was not Jimmie Trimble, the boy whom Vidal loved when they were at school and who died, aged eighteen, at the battle for Iwo Jima; nor Vidal’s blind and adored maternal grandfather, Senator Thomas Pryor Gore, whom young Gore would lead onto the floor of the Senate; nor his life partner of half a century, Howard Auster; not even the audacious and polymathic Gore himself. The star of the book was in fact Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, who was dying when Vidal began to write Palimpsest.

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Royals, it seems, have their tenacious uses, often fictive. Contemporaries such as Alan Bennett and Edward St Aubyn have deployed them. One hundred years ago, Ford Madox Ford wrote his singular trilogy (1906–08) about Katharine Howard, The Fifth Queen of Henry VIII. Now the esteemed novelist and memoirist Hilary Mantel returns to the Tudor world, again wi ...