ABR Arts Opera

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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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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