ABR Arts Music

Hamer Hall seemed close to full for the first of two performances of Hector Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was the first time in twenty years that the orchestra has performed the work. As is often the case, this was a concert version. Full productions are not unknown, but they are scarce.

In 1845 Berlioz had orc ...

Ben Brooker reviews 'Reflections on Gallipoli'

Ben Brooker
Friday, 20 March 2015

It is, of course, one hundred years since almost 9,000 Australians died on a small Turkish peninsula during a campaign that, despite its localised failure as a military operation and futility in influencing the overall course of the war, has been unalterably woven into the fabric of our national mythos. Commemorative presentations are frequent. Orchestras, televisio ...

It was refreshing, to say the least, that two sets of concerts given by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Opera House in mid-February had the symphonies of Robert Schumann as their theme. With two symphonies assigned to each program it was possible in less than a week to hear the entire sta ...

The huge Town Hall crowd who surged to their feet to applaud – and go on applauding – the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic’s twilight performance of Messiah did not do so ‘like sheep’, nor like a last-night-at-the-Proms booster crowd. Their gesture had more in common with King George II’s reputed rising in glad awe for the Hallelujah Chorus during t ...

2014 Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival

Des Cowley
Monday, 10 November 2014

Rodelinda (Melbourne Chamber Orchestra)

Peter Rose
Sunday, 05 October 2014

There were few opportunities to hear Handel’s opera Rodelinda, regina de’ Longobardi during the two centuries that followed its première in 1725. Although the opera was a great success at first (Handel said of the 1731 London revival, ‘it took’), it soon fell into obscurity, along with most of Handel’s many operas. A ...

Peter Rose reviews 'The Riders' (Victorian Opera)

Peter Rose
Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Here is a fine new Australian opera from Victorian Opera. Composer Iain Grandage and librettist Alison Croggon have taken Tim Winton’s Booker-shortlisted novel The Riders (1994) and created a highly expressive work. Marion Potts directs it on a wide but stark stage furnished only with wooden saw horses. There is a balcony and a revolve, but mostly Potts cho ...

The Magic Flute (Opera Australia)

Robert Gibson
Monday, 22 September 2014

English Mozart scholar Edward J. Dent once dismissed the libretto of The Magic Flute as ‘one of the most absurd specimens of that form of literature in which absurdity is regarded as a matter of course’. Michael Gow’s generally marvellous translation and adaptation of Emanuel Schikaneder’s libretto for Mozart’ ...

Jonas Kaufmann in Concert

Peter Rose
Monday, 18 August 2014

Six words would suffice to describe Jonas Kaufmann’s Melbourne début. He came, he sang, he conquered.

This was Kaufmann’s second appearance in Australia, after a gala in Sydney (repeated on August 17). It’s not often that an impresario or Opera Australia manages to lure a great tenor to this country. The inimitable Carlo Bergonzi visited in 1979 and g ...

Jandamarra (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Ian Dickson
Monday, 21 July 2014

For two non-indigenous artists to take a story that has deep meaning for an indigenous community and turn it into a dramatic cantata is an exploit fraught with danger. Australian culture is littered with attempts by white artists to incorporate indigenous themes into their works; works which have foundered due to their authors’ patronising assumption that they can ...

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