ABR Arts

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 ...

Bill Callahan

Doug Wallen
Tuesday, 02 June 2015

Texas-based songwriter Bill Callahan recorded for fifteen years under the name Smog but, since releasing his first album under his own name in 2007, he has gradually shed the murkier indie-rock connotations of Smog and broadened into an acclaimed bard of minimalist Am ...

Elektra (Bayerische Staatsoper)

Peter Rose
Monday, 25 May 2015

Our European summer holiday began in Munich – surprisingly cold and drizzly – perfect weather for long sessions in the Alte Pinakothek. This is one of the more forbidding of the great galleries, with its battered façade showing all the evidence of extensive bombing during World War II and a utilitarian rebuilding by Hans Döllg ...

Mad Max: Fury Road ★★★

Kim Wilkins
Friday, 15 May 2015

In a hit-driven commercial climate, creating film franchises makes economic sense. Consumers who enjoyed the first The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are likely to purchase a ticket to the sequel. Those who have committed more than eleven hours’ viewing to the first six films in The Fast and the Furious series will probab ...

Madama Butterfly (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose
Tuesday, 05 May 2015

Opera Australia’s autumn season in Melbourne with two revivals – one very familiar; the other in its second season, and its first on the bigger Melbourne stage. Each, responsibly, is on a Monday, not always guaranteed to draw a large audience, but the capacious State Theatre was well attended for the first offering, Madama Butterfly.

Moffa ...

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