Peter Rose

Peter Rose

Peter Rose is the Editor and CEO of Australian Book Review. His books include a family memoir, Rose Boys (2001), which won the National Biography Award in 2003. He has published two novels and six poetry collections, most recently The Subject of Feeling (UWA Publishing, 2015).

I Puritani (Victorian Opera)

ABR Arts 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 it was a cold night in Melbourne, Hamer Hall ... (read more)

Elektra (Bayerische Staatsoper)

ABR Arts 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 Döllgast in the 1950s. Once past the desolate foyer, the visitor is ... (read more)

Madama Butterfly (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 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. Moffatt Oxenbould’s production of Giacomo Puccini’s op ... (read more)


ABR Arts 27 April 2015
I am often approached by young writers and reviewers. In many cases we offer them work, all part of ABR’s openness to new creative and critical talent. Two things often strike me during conversations with new contributors. First, they never raise the subject of money. Such is their reticence that I now make it clear at the outset that ABR pays for everything it publishes (print or online). My vi ... (read more)

Aida (Opera Australia) and Madama Butterfly (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 30 March 2015
Aida () 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 ambitious but possibly inevitable choice for the fourth of the Handa Operas on Sydney Harbour, presented by Opera Australia. Aida was Giuseppe Verd ... (read more)

The Damnation of Faust (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)

ABR Arts 23 March 2015
Hamer Hall seemed close to full for the first of two performances of Hector Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was the first time in twenty years that the orchestra has performed the work. As is often the case, this was a concert version. Full productions are not unknown, but they are scarce. In 1845 Berlioz had orchestrated a famous Hungarian national tune. In ... (read more)

Editor's Diary 2014

Online Exclusives 04 March 2015
January 21 I am roaring through Edmund White’s memoir of his Paris years (Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris), much better than his New York memoir (City Boy). But there is a problem: one doesn’t believe a word he writes. His is possibly the laziest approach to autobiography. Still, this one is reasonably entertaining. January 24 Lunch at KereKere with my old friend and colleague Brian McFar ... (read more)

Faust (Opera Australia)

ABR Arts 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 London opening night, which I attended, was a starry occasion, with Antonio Pappano in the pit and five internationally renowned principals: Rober ... (read more)

The Flying Dutchman (Victorian Opera)

ABR Arts 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’s ten-year history. The Palais, it mus ... (read more)

Prime Minister's Literary Awards

ABR Arts 17 December 2014
Much has been written about the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (PMLAs), now in their seventh year. Advances was at the National Gallery of Victoria on 8 December when the winners were named. An opulent affair, it was televised by Sky News and SBS à la the Man Booker Prize. The Great Hall – deemed rather small by one distinguished literary editor from Sydney – was full of publishers and jo ... (read more)