Beethoven struggled with his only opera, Fidelio, for more than a decade, composing, rearranging, and composing anew until, in 1814, he declared that the opera would earn him a ‘martyr’s crown’. This tale of Leonore, who infiltrated a Spanish prison disguised as a man to liberate her husband, Florestan, allowed the composer to express his deepest thoughts on justice and freedom. ... (read more)
Elizabeth Kertesz is a Research Fellow at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne. She is co-author, with Michael Christoforidis, of Carmen and the Staging of Spain: Recasting Bizet’s Opera in the Belle Époque (Oxford University Press, 2018).
ABR Arts • 22 July 2019
Midwinter Melbourne resounded last week to Igor Stravinsky’s promise of spring, in two works that trace the seasonal drama of life, death, and rebirth. The Rite of Spring (1913) is a young man’s spectacular evocation of the exhilaration and terror of spring in ancient Russia, while Perséphone (1934) is a more reflective response to the endless cycle of the seasons, written by an older and mor ... (read more)
On 24 May 2019, an excited Melbourne audience witnessed a night of spectacular entertainment and magnificent music in the Australian première of Rossini’s 1825 opera Il Viaggio a Reims, exuberantly reimagined by Damiano Michieletto. Il Viaggio is an opera with multiple backstories. It was Rossini’s first commission when the superstar of early-nineteenth-century Italian opera took up his new ... (read more)
ABR Arts • 18 March 2019
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Season Opening Gala last night was billed as part of their curated ‘East Meets West’ experience, and featured violinist Lü Siqing, with whom the orchestra toured China in 2018. It opened with a short welcoming address from MSO Board Chairman Michael Ullmer, which gave way to an awkward video exhorting the capacity audience to donate to the MSO, discon ... (read more)
More than two centuries after its first performance, Gioacchino Rossini’s Otello (1816) has finally been staged for Australian audiences thanks to the inspired selection of director Bruce Beresford and the enterprise of Melbourne Opera. But beware, if you come to the theatre expecting a faithful adaptation of Shakespeare’s play or with Verdi’s 1887 opera in mind, you are likely to be disappo ... (read more)