Classical music, opera, musicals etc


MoF has been on in London too. I’ve often thought it needed a flowchart.


Yesterday I was dragged kicking and screaming to the MTC’s musical, " Ladies in Black" written by Caroline Burns with music and lyrics from Tim Finn and I’ve survived relatively unscathed it appears. It was payback for making my better half suffer through “Endgame” last season and I adopted a similar pre play policy of recalcitrance, threatening to bring a pillow and leave my hearing aid batteries at home - I did neither of course but I did fortify myself with the majority of a bottle of bubbly which seems to have done the trick. When I saw it was set in a I950s Sydney department store that specialises in frocks I knew I was doomed because my better half is an absolute vintage fashion nut.
Is it any good? I’m not really qualified to judge but my better half thought it was cool and I gather critics are calling it the best Oz musical in a long while. The audience lapped it up but I have to say that even though it was the first full house I’ve seen in a while the age demographic was a bit scary - think Sunday Lunch at the RSL when the roast for seniors is half price…but with more Jewish people.
It’s a 50s fairy tale, a sort of Aussie Cinderella except that instead of Prince Charming our Lisa is courted by the dream of University. It both embraces and mocks the prejudices of the 50s and swings between nostalgia and irreverence and does it deftly. On the surface it is extraordinarily sexist but clearly it’s meant to be tongue in cheek…I think…I hope. So there’s no worries about any sheilas being left on the shelf or unnecessarily childless- it’s happy ever after all round.
I’m not a huge fan of Split Ends but when I saw it was composed by Tim Finn I was sort of hoping for “Six Months in a Leaky Frock”. No such luck, the music is competent modern musical pop fodder- with plenty of expository ballads and the obligatory rousing choruses but the lyrics were sharp and witty and if they were Finn’s he’s one sheepshagger with a keen ear for the Aussie vernacular. My fav was a rousing “tribute” to the Aussie male delivered by the women in the play, appropriately entitled “He’s a Bas tard”. You can just see the band through a gauze backdrop, I think a seven piece who are sensational and it’s a pity they weren’t brought forward for a curtain call. The cast is universally strong which is fortunate because they’re all required to act, dance and sing - lots of tricky harmonising and truly top notch voices.
If you like musicals you’d probably love it but I’m still sticking with Stewart Lee who wrote “Music Theatre, the genre which gave us Andrew Lloyd Webber and the tribute show, combines the worst aspects of music with the worst aspects of theatre to create a mutant hybrid that is the worst form of live art that exists.” And he should know, he helped to write one of the more highly praised British musicals of recent times.
And so to the frocks! Well they looked good to me but my better half dammed them with faint praise. She reckoned the ones clearly on display were visually impressive to the untrained eye but were mockups rather than originals, probably knocked up by the wardrobe department. And she raised her eyebrows, as she can, and pointed out that for most of the 50s zips were in the sides of frocks not up the back. Unforgivable!


If you’re going to see the MTC’s Miss Julie, DON’T READ ON.

OK, I just saw Miss Julie and I’m seriously ■■■■■■ off.
On the positive side I loved the concept of filming the action from various angles and projecting it live on a large screen overhanging the set- helped a lot for those of us with dodgy ears although it was probably aimed at giving multiple perspectives of the actors’ physical expressions in a tight enclosed set, which is basically a fish tank on steroids. The 2 leads do a really good job with a wordy script, a script that has been “livened up” with regular profanity, plenty of f bombs and c bombs (for reasons that frankly escape me), but mostly the script follows Strindberg’s classic plot line. And I liked that they set the play approximately in the time and place Strindberg intended.
So I was pretty much enjoying it…until the climax when it just ■■■■■ up completely. 2 things really annoyed me here, one probably petty and one fundamental. Firstly the original play uses a knife, NOT a revolver - do they think we need guns to establish serious threat of impending doom, knives are too wussy? But, oh, so much worse was the stupid jarring positive ending. I was eagerly anticipating some Nordic misery and they serve up an “I’ll take that weapon, young lady, now off you go” travesty. I wanted to yell out NO!!! but my better half would have thumped me. This is a play famed for its stark despairing uncompromising climax and they tack on a clunky hopeful ending? What’s next? Lady Macbeth manages to scour those pesky spots off her paws? Is this how they think they’ll broaden their audience, by doing Hollywood makeovers on classic dramas- ■■■■ off.
I walked out of the theatre thoroughly depressed…but for all the wrong reasons.


Always liked this.

Pavarotti begins singing at 3.24 {wow}





If anyone is interested in seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark with the MSO doing the soundtrack live, they’ve just announced a fourth session, on Thursday 3 November. The Friday night is sold out, and there’s a matinee and night session on the Saturday.


Went to see Roberto Alagna last night at Hamer Hall. In the past I’ve seen him in a few Met performances, and I haven’t been a huge fan of his, because although he has a sensational voice, he doesn’t create the kind of presence that makes it believable that women would go mad with passion for him.

However, in real life, he was actually quite charismatic and charming. He did a selection of songs, some opera some traditional. And yeah, his voice is terrific. Bit of overacting, but I guess that’s just what they are used to doing!

There was an Australian soprano as well, Siobhan Stagg, that did some songs by herself and some in duet with him. At first I thought she wasn’t strong enough and that he would overpower her too much, but she held her own in the end. And she did one of my faves, O Mio Babbino Caro, which made me melt :slight_smile:

The conductor, Stefano Miceli, was terrific; warm, engaged, and completely involved in every note and nuance - I thought he was going to end up jumping off sideways at one point!

Special mention to the lighting effects also! A series of suspended “ropes” that could be lit in different colours and effects. Worked really well!


ABC’s Swoon Classic 100 was released June last year but I never got around to buying it. Probably didn’t help it was around the $120 mark.

It’s down to $87 in stores and $47 on iTunes so I grabbed it this morning. Made for a pleasant train ride this morning :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to giving the rest of the album a good work out.


ABC's Swoon Classic 100 was released June last year but I never got around to buying it. Probably didn't help it was around the $120 mark.

It’s down to $87 in stores and $47 on iTunes so I grabbed it this morning. Made for a pleasant train ride this morning :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to giving the rest of the album a good work out.

$44.95 now on iTunes.



I need some help and suggestions - my mum was asking what she could buy the kids for Christmas. Toys are unnecessary - they have too many already - so I thought maybe a show or musical would be a nice idea; I have fond memories of doing the same when I was a kid.

Anyway, mum will be down from Adelaide 22-29/12 (we’re in Melbourne) so maybe something from 23-28th (obviously not on Xmas Day)? Kids are 5 1/2 and 3 1/2.

I know its a really tight window what with all of the public holidays and the kids’ age is pretty restrictive but I’m hoping the Blitz collective might be able to throw a few suggestions my way.


I can’t really help except to say I’d definitely avoid Book of Mormon.





Aladdin might still be playing


I’m taking my parentals to see Book of Mormon on Sunday :stuck_out_tongue:


here’s some stuff from the Arts Centre that might be suitable?


Awesome! Thanks Koala! Not a lot in the date range, but will take them to something else anyway :smiley: Kids will love the Gruffalo.


you can also check out the What’s on Melbourne site. This link should be for families and kids for Dec 23,23/12/2017