ABR Arts Music

How much is too much music? What creates a successful program? The first of András Schiff’s two Tokyo recitals in the splendid Opera City Concert Hall left these and other questions in the forefront of this reviewer’s mind. Advertised under the banner ‘The Last Sonatas’, the pair of recitals ...

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Russian-born violinist Maxim Vengerov – still in his early forties and long recovered from a shoulder injury that stopped him from playing for five years – has been a welcome visitor to Australia since 1999. That year, in Melbourne, he gave a brilliant recital and also performed the Beethoven ...

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The Long String Instrument (The Substation) ★★★★

Dilan Gunawardana
Tuesday, 31 January 2017

It seems fitting that the co-opted electrical substation in Newport, Melbourne should be the site of an enterprising arts space. Formerly it was used to generate electricity for Victorian Railways (it fell into disrepair in the 1960s). Perhaps some residual energy still pulses through the concrete lattice ...

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Porgy and Bess (Sydney Symphony Orchestra) ★★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 28 November 2016

If any work can be dubbed as ‘The Great American Opera’, it is Gershwin’s genre-transgressing masterpiece, Porgy and Bess. It was based on white Southern writer DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy (1925), as well as on his highly successful stage adaptation of the novel which had been a hit in ...

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Rarely has Arts Update sensed such anticipation in a city as it did before Saturday evening’s performance of highlights from Tristan und Isolde in Hobart. Throughout the day – much of it spent at MONA, admiring the new exhibition, On the Origin of Art – we kept meeting operaphiles from ...

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A Survey of Classical Music Boxed Sets (Universal Music)

Michael Shmith
Monday, 14 November 2016

Part of the enduring attraction of CDs, is that the format is still the nonpareil of repertoire and artistry for dedicated collectors. The boxed set, which is of course not a new idea (think of Karajan’s 1960s set of Beethoven symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon), is ideally suited to CD, not just for ...

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2016 Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues

Des Cowley
Tuesday, 08 November 2016

Ahead of this year’s Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, Artistic Director Adrian Jackson acknowledged that while he had not intended to develop any specific theme for this year’s program, one had unwittingly emerged: the significant contribution of female musicians to jazz in this country ...

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In the notes accompanying this year’s Melbourne Festival, artistic director Jonathan Holloway stated that his diverse program was designed to ‘puncture the creative borders between artforms’. The concept of artistic cross-fertilisation is hardly new, nor does it always result in something worth ...

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These days a victorious homecoming is normally reserved for élite athletes, but since 2011 it has had an equivalent in the sphere of classical music, thanks to the creation of the Australian World Orchestra. The brainchild of Alexander Briger, this project-based orchestra unites expatriate Australians ...

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Missa Solemnis ★★★★★ (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

Morag Fraser
Wednesday, 31 August 2016


How fortunate was Rudolph Johann Joseph Rainer, Archduke of Austria. In his short life (he died at forty-three), he enjoyed the privileges of empire and the high positions that accrued to his noble state – including the ecclesiastical roles of cardinal and archbishop. Yet we would hardly remember ...

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