ABR Arts Music

'Tis Pity (Victorian Opera)

Contemporary opera doesn’t come much more innovative, vibrant or entertaining than Victorian Opera’s ‘Tis Pity: An operatic fantasia on selling the skin and the teeth, which played at the Melbourne Recital Centre from 4–8 February. Indefatigable VO Artistic Director Richard Mills has composed and arranged the music as well as writing the reliably wi ... More

The Long String Instrument (The Substation)

Dilan Gunawardana

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 of its red-bricked walls or runs along the arched tops of its ... More

Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Decca)

Andrew Fuhrmann

It was a job worthy of William himself: not only the ambitious scale of the project, but the speed with which it was completed. In just seven years, between 1958 and 1964, Argo Records, with the Marlowe Dramatic Society, released the complete works of Shakespeare in forty box-set LPs, unabridged and fully dramatised with a cast of hundreds.

This remarkable v ... More

King Roger (Opera Australia)

David Larkin

Within the Australian context, any allusion to King Roger would be taken by most to be an admiring soubriquet for the Swiss tennis maestro who, as it happens, won through to the quarter finals of the Australian Open while this review was being written. But while Melbourne is in thrall to the silky skills of the re-energised Federer, the opera-going denizens ... More

Theodora (Pinchgut Opera)

Ian Dickson

‘The Jews will not come to it because it is a Christian story and the ladies will not come because it is a virtuous one.’ George Frideric Handel’s much-quoted explanation for the lack of success of Theodora, his penultimate oratorio, may or may not be accurate, but there is no doubt about its failure. After an original run of just three performances i ... More

Götterdämmerung (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose

After the exaltation of the closing duet in Siegfried (memorably sung by Stefan Vinke and Lise Lindstrom), we had to wait until the second part of the Prologue to Götterdämmerung before meeting the post-coital lovers.

First we had the Norns (Tania Ferris, Jacqueline Dark, Ann ... More

Porgy and Bess (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Michael Halliwell

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 the late 1920s and early 1930s. Heyward was of Souther ... More

Siegfried (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose

We know that Siegfried – third opera in Der Ring des Nibelungen – had a curious gestation. Wagner put it aside after writing Act II, as if weary of Siegfried’s progress: this improbable hero’s search for love, fulfilment, individuation. For twelve years Wagner was diverted by love of a metaphysical kind (Tristan und Isolde, 1865) a ... More

Die Walküre (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose

Die Walküre, for Arts Update, is the most successful work in Neil Armfield’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, now well underway at Arts Centre Melbourne. And this is fitting, Die Walküre being, for some us, the greatest of operas, with a first act of singular perfection, some of the most beautiful passages Wagner ever wrote, and ... More

Das Rheingold (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose

Der Ring des Nibelungen returns to Melbourne three years after its première here. Those three cycles sold out quickly; these ones haven’t, understandably, but the State Theatre seemed pretty full on opening night. Some alterations have been made, but the production is largely intact. Several local singers retain their principal roles, but we have a new S ... More

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