ABR Arts Opera

Tristan und Isolde (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 22 June 2015

A music teacher in Thomas Mann’s early novel, Buddenbrooks (1900), when presented with some piano arrangements of Tristan und Isolde, recoils in terror: ‘I won’t play this ... This is not music ... It is pure chaos! It is demagoguery, blasphemy, and madness! It is the end of all morality in the arts. I will not pl ...

Don Carlos (Opera Australia)

Alastair Jackson
Monday, 25 May 2015

Passion and politics often go hand in hand – and never more so than in Don Carlos, arguably Verdi’s greatest opera. Based on the historically questionable play by Friedrich von Schiller, it is certainly the composer’s grandest and most ambitious work and the most demanding of his career. Because of church and state inte ...

Elektra (Bayerische Staatsoper)

Peter Rose
Monday, 25 May 2015

Our European summer holiday began in Munich – surprisingly cold and drizzly – perfect weather for long sessions in the Alte Pinakothek. This is one of the more forbidding of the great galleries, with its battered façade showing all the evidence of extensive bombing during World War II and a utilitarian rebuilding by Hans Döllg ...

Fly Away Peter (Sydney Chamber Opera)

Ian Dickson
Thursday, 07 May 2015

Of all the many projects commemorating the centenary of World War I and the Anzacs’ contribution to it, the creation of an opera from David Malouf’s magnificent novella Fly Away Peter (1981) would seem to be one of the most demanding.

The story follows the young, bird-obsessed Jim Saddler f ...

Madama Butterfly (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose
Tuesday, 05 May 2015

Opera Australia’s autumn season in Melbourne with two revivals – one very familiar; the other in its second season, and its first on the bigger Melbourne stage. Each, responsibly, is on a Monday, not always guaranteed to draw a large audience, but the capacious State Theatre was well attended for the first offering, Madama Butterfly.

Moffa ...

Aida (three stars) is one of the great contradictory operas: grandiose in effect yet intimate in emotional content. How such an imperial chamber piece would translate onto a harbour in front of thousands of people and sundry camels remained to be seen. It was an a ...

Faust (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose
Monday, 23 February 2015

Scottish director David McVicar’s importance to Opera Australia – after his acclaimed Don Giovanni in 2014 – grows with this new production of his Covent Garden Faust, which is currently being seen in Sydney. The production dates back to 2004 ...

The Flying Dutchman (Victorian Opera)

Peter Rose
Monday, 16 February 2015

For many of us – those of us not in the Farnham faction – this was our first visit to the Palais Theatre in three decades. (It has mostly been used as a rock venue since the Australian Opera decamped.) So there was much anticipation before the opening night of Victorian Opera’s The Flying Dutchman, perhaps the most ambitious production in the company’ ...

Der Freischütz (Melbourne Opera)

Rob Holdsworth
Tuesday, 03 February 2015

In these straitened economic times, it is rare for opera companies to stray far from the standard, well-known repertoire. But there are only so many Toscas, Traviatas, and Butterflys one needs to see in a lifetime. So it is pleasing that Melbourne Opera was prepared to stage an opera once so famous it was parodied by Gilbert and Sullivan ...

Falstaff (Opera Australia)

Peter Rose
Monday, 08 December 2014

With the third of its spring offerings, Opera Australia again demonstrated the overall strength of the ensemble and the consistently fine playing of which Orchestra Victoria is capable.

 This Falstaff is a revival of Simon Phillips’s production, first performed in 1995 (Adelaide) and starrily led by Bryn Terfel in 1999 (Sydney), his first Falst ...

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