ABR Arts Opera

Dry River Run (Queensland Conservatorium) ★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Tuesday, 04 September 2018

Australian operas set in the outback are not uncommon, though urban backgrounds are far more prevalent in contemporary works. Contemporary fiction and cinema, by contrast, often have outback and regional Australia as their setting. Several operas engage with the most enduring myths ...

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Notwithstanding the riches that follow in the final two acts (Wotan’s Farewell, the Ride of the Valkyries, the Todesverkündigung), Act One of Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre offers perhaps the greatest hour of music in German opera. It is ideal for discrete, unstaged performances, and as we know ...

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Nietzsche was in no doubt: Wagner owed his success to his innate sensuality. The philosopher – most influential of the Wagnerites – began to have reservations about his hero in the mid-1870s, around the time of the first Bayreuth Festival (1876), though he never ...

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Der Rosenkavalier (Melbourne Opera) ★★1/2

Barney Zwartz
Friday, 10 August 2018

Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss consciously set out to emulate Mozart in Der Rosenkavalier, and succeeded, creating not only the last great Romantic opera but the most perfect Viennese confection, and Strauss’s most-loved opera. It was an immediate hit ...

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Stuart Skelton (Melbourne Recital Centre) ★★★

Michael Shmith
Monday, 06 August 2018
Stuart Skelton, a fine performer and strong, sensitive singer, is by nature and profession a Heldentenor. He is indeed heroic, not only in voice but in how he carries himself on stage. His Wagnerian heroes – Parsifal, Tristan, Lohengrin and Siegmund in Die Walküre – emerge as ... ... (read more)
Barrie Kosky’s production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for the famous Wagner Festival in Bayreuth (Germany) is one of the supreme artistic peaks of my long operatic-life. It had its première last year, in the first of five consecutive annual seasons; this year ... ... (read more)

John Doyle’s production of Gaetano Donizetti’s 1837 opera dates back to 2012 – a co-production with La Fenice and Houston. It is a rather self-important production – very dour and Presbyterian. The dark cloudage never parts. There is a radical want of props ...

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William Tell (Victorian Opera) ★★★1/2

Michael Shmith
Monday, 16 July 2018
It has to be said straight away that William Tell is a colossal challenge, almost as much for its audiences as its performers. People talk of Wagner’s Curse (what can go wrong, usually does, in spades), but Rossini’s operatic swansong is not far behind. What makes it especially daunting for any opera company brave or foolhardy enough ... ... (read more)
Seldom is one able to see Wagner’s first successful repertoire opera and his final masterpiece within the space of twenty-four hours. After a few anxious moments with a delayed flight from Warsaw to Munich, a high-speed taxi ride to the National Theatre in the centre of the city, this reviewer, heart pounding and blood racing, settled into the first act of Parsifal ...
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Athalia (Pinchgut Opera) ★★★1/2

Ian Dickson
Monday, 25 June 2018

Following the end of the 1733 London opera season, George Frideric Handel headed to Oxford with his first two oratorios, Esther and Deborah and the newly composed Athalia. While the first two were well enough received, Athalia was a triumph, with newspaper claims that 3,700 people attended the performances ...

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