ABR Arts Opera

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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Tannhäuser ★★★1/2 (Melbourne Opera)

Barney Zwartz
Monday, 15 August 2016

In 1852 Richard Wagner issued instructions to opera houses planning to stage Tannhäuser. It had closed after only four performances when it opened in Dresden in 1845 – conducted by the composer without most of the scenery, delayed in transport – but was now attracting wide attention. His essay ...

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Mozart's third great collaboration with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, Così fan tutte, has enjoyed a chequered performance history since its première in the Burgtheater in Vienna in 1790, a year before Mozart's death. Its initial series of performances were interrupted by the death of Emperor Joseph ...

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Carmen (Opera Australia) ★★★1/2

David Larkin
Monday, 20 June 2016

One can't get away from Carmen. The happy combination of unforgettable tunes, the exotic ambience, and a psychologically plausible plot (by no means a sine qua non in the genre) have ensured that Georges Bizet's masterpiece is among the top three most performed operas worldwide nowadays. Even by these standards, however, Sydney's recent Carmen fixa ...

At any time, Washington, DC would be an apposite place in which to stage Wagner's vast cautionary saga about the devastating effects of greed and lust for power on the human and natural world, but it is excruciatingly so at this moment. On Pennsylvania Avenue, roughly halfway between the ...

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Cloudstreet (State Opera of South Australia) ★★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 16 May 2016

If any contemporary Australian novel can be said to be canonical, or perhaps even 'the great Australian novel', then it must be Tim Winton's Cloudstreet. Published in 1991, it soon acquired a devoted following and elevated Winton into the top rank of Australian writers ...

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Melbourne's long Indian summer coincided with Opera Australia's 2016 autumn season. It began with a revival of La Bohème and the new production of The Pearlfishers (first seen in Sydney earlier this year). The much-anticipated Luisa Miller with Nicole Car will follow next week ...

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The speed with which Gaetano Donizetti wrote his operas almost defies belief, especially in our more leisurely age of composition. Don Pasquale (1843), as we know, was written in eleven days. When Donizetti, newly contracted to Teatro San Carlo, fetched ...

Voyage to the Moon (Musica Viva/Victorian Opera) ★★★1/2

Ian Dickson
Thursday, 25 February 2016

In this era of the jukebox musical, it is not surprising that the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century equivalent, the pasticcio opera, should be undergoing a revival. A couple of seasons ago, New York's Metropolitan Opera created a version, The Enchanted Island, which received a mainly ...

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Luisa Miller (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Peter Rose
Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The gestation of some of Giuseppe Verdi's operas was more tumultuous than his often twisted plots. Luisa Miller – which is now being seen in Sydney prior to a shorter season in Melbourne – was as fraught as any of them? Salvatore Cammarano owed the Teatro San Carlo in Naples a libretto ...

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