ABR Arts Opera

The Pearlfishers ★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 18 January 2016

'One-hit' operas litter the repertoire. One thinks of the aria 'Ebben? Ne andrò lontana', which every soprano worth her salt has sung in concert and many have recorded. The aria was the thread running through the cult move, Diva (1981), sung in a concert scene in the film by the soprano ...

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L'Amant jaloux (Pinchgut Opera)

Michael Halliwell
Friday, 04 December 2015

The 'anxiety of influence' is just as pertinent to music as it is to all the arts. Scholars have claimed that Mozart was strongly influenced in the composition of Le nozze di Figaro (1786), by André Grétry's (1741–1813) L'Amant jaloux (The Jealous Lover, or False Appearances) (1778). The musical and dramatic genius of ...

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Opera Australia's short spring season in Melbourne began with the first revival of David McVicars's highly resuscitable production of Le nozze di Figaro fours stars, first seen in Sydney in August this year. It follows the British director's Don Giovanni

Australia is being overrun by a rabbit phenomenon, but not of the annoying, four-legged variety. It’s The Rabbits: the opera, the musical, the song cycle, or what? Does it matter?

Premièred to highly positive reviews at the Perth Festival in February this year, it has now reached the Melbourne Festival. Some have seen in the success of this wo ...

Faust and Verdi's Requiem (State Opera of South Australia)

Ben Brooker
Monday, 14 September 2015

Good and evil, damnation and salvation, love and death, virtue and folly: State Opera of South Australia’s pairing of Gounod’s five-act grand opera Faust (fours stars) with Verdi’s momentous opera cum oratorio Requiem
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Mary Stuart (Melbourne Opera)

Rob Holdsworth
Friday, 04 September 2015

Amongst the seventy works composed by Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848), only three, The Elixir of Love, Don Pasquale, and Lucia Di Lammermoor were regularly performed in the first half of the twentieth century, and the most popular of these, Lucia, was often presented in truncated form. After World War II, a burgeoning recording indu ...

The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Australia)

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 24 August 2015

British director, Nicholas Hytner, remarking on its indestructibility, once observed that one could set The Marriage of Figaro on the moon as long as the doors were in the right place. In fact, not such a strange idea, as Mozart’s great contemporary, Joseph Haydn, had set his opera Il mondo della luna (‘The World on the Moon’) exactly there.

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Sweeney Todd (Victorian Opera)

Tim Byrne
Monday, 20 July 2015

In the argument over the programming of Broadway musicals by Australia’s opera companies, it is usually assumed that audiences know the difference between the two forms. But even superficial markers can be misleading. Bizet’s Carmen (1875) uses dialogue and song forms that are traditionally associated with the musical, but is classified as an

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I Puritani (Victorian Opera)

Peter Rose
Monday, 06 July 2015

‘In my Eden a person who dislikes Bellini has the good manners not to get born,’ wrote W.H. Auden in his poem ‘Vespers’ (1954). Like much of Auden’s table-talk, this may seem rather extreme, but those who attended last Thursday’s concert version of Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani may have gone away with similarly exclusive thoughts.

Though ...

The Barber of Seville (Melbourne Opera)

Rob Holdsworth
Monday, 29 June 2015

Writing to a friend in 1898, Giuseppe Verdi said of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville:

You may say things about Rossini and they may be true regarding the borrowings, the speed of composition and so forth, but I confess that I cannot help believing ‘The Barber of Seville’ for abundance of ideas, for verve and for truth of dec ...
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