ABR Arts Opera

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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Siegfried (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Peter Rose
Monday, 28 November 2016

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 ...

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Die Walküre (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Peter Rose
Thursday, 24 November 2016

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 ...

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Das Rheingold (Opera Australia) ★★★

Peter Rose
Wednesday, 23 November 2016

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 ...

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Freeze Frame Opera Launch ★★★★

Rosalind Appleby
Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Opera is dead, scaremongers have been saying for years. Yet Perth is witnessing an operatic renaissance, and recently a company was launched, the third new one in six years. The emergence of these organic, grassroots organisations is all the more remarkable given the devastation inflicted on ...

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Anna Bolena (Melbourne Opera) ★★★★

Rob Holdsworth
Thursday, 03 November 2016

Melbourne Opera, in recent years, has established a reputation for enabling keen opera goers (especially bel cantists) to experience rarely performed works. Remarkably or not, this new production marks the first Australian professional production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, which ...

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Sydney Opera House: The Opera (The Eighth Wonder) ★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 31 October 2016

Opera and politics are closely intertwined. The commissioning, composition, and performance of opera have been used as a political instrument in many different contexts, while the actual presentation of opera has often had an overtly political dimension, with operatic performance and opera ...

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Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème has been delighting audiences (and enriching the company) since its première in 1981. Many of the world’s greatest singers have appeared in it:- since the first cast, which included Teresa Stratas, José Carreras, Renata Scotto, and James Morris ...

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Tristan und Isolde ★★★★1/2 (Metropolitan Opera)

Peter Rose
Wednesday, 12 October 2016

It was hard not to think of Tchaikovsky’s words, written during the first Bayreuth Festival (1876), at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016–17 season. Arts Update, selfless as ever, had gone ahead of the ABR US tour party, still rusticating in New Haven, for the American première of ...

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Our Man in Havana (Lyric Opera of Melbourne)

Barney Zwartz
Thursday, 22 September 2016

Ihope no one from Australia's various intelligence agencies is reading this, or they may be affronted. But for me, Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene's purported black comedy about an ingenious vacuum cleaner salesman deceiving Britain's MI6, has a marvellous ring of verisimilitude ...

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