ABR Arts

Thus Spake Zarathustra (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Christopher Menz
Tuesday, 01 December 2015

As if to make the point that Richard Wagner's shadow looms over all the classical music that followed him, this Sydney Symphony Orchestra concert entitled Thus Spake Zarathustra began and ended with him.

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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 fours stars, first seen in Sydney in August this year. It follows the British director's Don Giovanni

Middletown (Red Stitch)

Dina Ross
Monday, 23 November 2015

'Middletown. Population: stable,' says the cop on patrol, addressing the audience. 'The main street is called Main Street. The side streets are named after trees ... Things are fairly predictable. People come, people go. Crying, by the way, in both directions.' Middletown. Muddletown. Everytown. The cop's monologue sets up the premise for this play. For the next few ...

Ian Dickson reviews 'Orlando' (Sydney Theatre Company)

Ian Dickson
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Virginia Woolf's early impression of the aristocratic, free-loving woman of letters Vita Sackville-West was not exactly complimentary: 'Not much to my severer taste – florid, moustached, parakeet coloured, with all the supple ease of the aristocracy, but not the wit of the artist.' Her opinion soon changed, however, and she found herself falling in love with the p ...

Mary Stuart (Melbourne Opera)

Rob Holdsworth
Friday, 04 September 2015

Amongst the seventy works composed by Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848), only three, The Elixir of Love, Don Pasquale, and Lucia Di Lammermoor were regularly performed in the first half of the twentieth century, and the most popular of these, Lucia, was often presented in truncated form. After World War II, a burgeoning recording indu ...

Tom Nicholson is a Melbourne artist whose work explores the past in multiple ways, through image and textual narrative. The scale of his art is big. Last year the Art Gallery of New South Wales dedicated an entire gallery to his Cartoons for Joseph Selleny, a work commemorating the Viennese landscape painter and lithogr ...

Sweeney Todd (Victorian Opera)

Tim Byrne
Monday, 20 July 2015

In the argument over the programming of Broadway musicals by Australia’s opera companies, it is usually assumed that audiences know the difference between the two forms. But even superficial markers can be misleading. Bizet’s Carmen (1875) uses dialogue and song forms that are traditionally associated with the musical, but is classified as an

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I Puritani (Victorian Opera)

Peter Rose
Monday, 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 ...

The Barber of Seville (Melbourne Opera)

Rob Holdsworth
Monday, 29 June 2015

Writing to a friend in 1898, Giuseppe Verdi said of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville:

You may say things about Rossini and they may be true regarding the borrowings, the speed of composition and so forth, but I confess that I cannot help believing ‘The Barber of Seville’ for abundance of ideas, for verve and for truth of dec ...

Tristan und Isolde (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 22 June 2015

A music teacher in Thomas Mann’s early novel, Buddenbrooks (1900), when presented with some piano arrangements of Tristan und Isolde, recoils in terror: ‘I won’t play this ... This is not music ... It is pure chaos! It is demagoguery, blasphemy, and madness! It is the end of all morality in the arts. I will not pl ...

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