Classical music, opera, musicals etc


#21

Verdi's Requiem = wow! Shelton, your write up was spot on.  And we were in row C, just to the left of the centre, so in front of the two women.  Some amazing spine tingling moments when the choir were at full voice.


#22

Verdi's Requiem = wow! Shelton, your write up was spot on. And we were in row C, just to the left of the centre, so in front of the two women. Some amazing spine tingling moments when the choir were at full voice.


We were row E, just to the right of centre. You win by a short half head.
Apparently there were two full choirs: they flew down the Sydney Symphony Chorus to join the Melbourne Symphony Chorus.
Did you watch the expressions on the soprano's face?

#23

yes, she was gorgeous! the others were a little more poker faced, although all let their guards down at times.


#24

My memory is faulty but I seem to remember someone posting a review of Bernadette Robinson in this thread's predecessor. I'd be interested to know how good she is because the MTC have her listed for a new Joanna Murray-Smith play called Pennsylvania Avenue(a one woman show) and I need to fill in my subscription.


#25

My memory is faulty but I seem to remember someone posting a review of Bernadette Robinson in this thread's predecessor. I'd be interested to know how good she is because the MTC have her listed for a new Joanna Murray-Smith play called Pennsylvania Avenue(a one woman show) and I need to fill in my subscription.

That was me.  Do it.  She is a delight. 

 

I thought the MTC program for next year looked very promising. 


#26

 

My memory is faulty but I seem to remember someone posting a review of Bernadette Robinson in this thread's predecessor. I'd be interested to know how good she is because the MTC have her listed for a new Joanna Murray-Smith play called Pennsylvania Avenue(a one woman show) and I need to fill in my subscription.

That was me.  Do it.  She is a delight. 

 

I thought the MTC program for next year looked very promising. 

 

Thank you and I will.


#27

went to see Antoinette Halloran in "La Traviata" on Friday night.  Was quite a good production - much more traditional than the Met version we saw recently. 

 

Had a few funny moments

- one of the guys tripped on one of the girls dresses and nearly fell over - then did the same thing again a few minutes later!

- The lights came up early and gave a surprise cameo to the guy picking up the money from the floor after the scene where Alfredo throws the money at Violetta... the audience gave hima round of applause!

- And the accent of the messenger that arrives at the country house - imagine an ocker aussie singing opera - don't think it was intentional but it cracked everyone up!

 

Is cruel to compare the two productions, given the difference in location and budgets! We enjoyed it anyway.


#28

Saw 'Once' the musical recently with my parents and it was excellent. They performed with only one real set which was a pub. This meant that it flowed from scene to scene without long breaks. When the action wasn't in the pub they just changed the lighting a little which was effective. Interestingly enough, the cast performed on stage before the scheduled start time, basically jamming some Irish folk music. As well as this, the audience were allowed to go on stage during the jam session to buy drinks from the bar. It was great to get up there and stand so close to the action which gave the performance a very intimate feel. When the main event stated everyone was required to take their seats of course. 

 

A very well performed, funny musical with some quality songs and a decent plot. Probably up there with Matilda as one of the best new musicals I've seen lately. 

 

 

We also saw 'Top Hat' which was a little bit 1950's Hollywood for my taste. Lots of tap dancing and a few good tunes, but not particularly memorable.

 

Haven't made it to the Book of Mormon (musical) or The curious incident of the dog in the night time (play) just yet but they are both high on my list. 


#29

Went and saw the Australian Ballet production of Cinderella on Wednesday. This is the one designed by Alexei Ratmansky, formerly of the Bolshoi. Music by Prokofiev, and three different pairs od dancers in the lead: our pair were Leanne Stojmenov and Kevin Jackson.

There was lots to like about it, but on the whole I didn’t enjoy it as much as Paquita and La Sylphide a couple of weeks ago. The music had moments of great beauty, but not much that was very melodic or memorable. The sets were good and the costumes too, but the colours were generally muted rather than spectacular, and for me the whole point of ballet (and opera too) is to be spectacular. The exceptions were the prince, who was all in dazzling white, and Cinders, whose ball gown was shiny gold.

The dancing was great, no ifs or buts, and the stepmother and two ugly sisters were standouts, very funny – most attempts at humour in ballet and opera fall flat, but these three actually made me laugh.

I think the last performance was last night, so anyone who wants to see it has missed it.


#30

Went and saw the Australian Ballet production of Cinderella on Wednesday. This is the one designed by Alexei Ratmansky, formerly of the Bolshoi. Music by Prokofiev, and three different pairs od dancers in the lead: our pair were Leanne Stojmenov and Kevin Jackson.
There was lots to like about it, but on the whole I didn't enjoy it as much as Paquita and La Sylphide a couple of weeks ago. The music had moments of great beauty, but not much that was very melodic or memorable. The sets were good and the costumes too, but the colours were generally muted rather than spectacular, and for me the whole point of ballet (and opera too) is to be spectacular. The exceptions were the prince, who was all in dazzling white, and Cinders, whose ball gown was shiny gold.
The dancing was great, no ifs or buts, and the stepmother and two ugly sisters were standouts, very funny -- most attempts at humour in ballet and opera fall flat, but these three actually made me laugh.
I think the last performance was last night, so anyone who wants to see it has missed it.

 

 
Very good summary Shelton. I went on Saturday night and I'd give it a 7.8/10. 
 
It was very good without being wow that was great.  
 
I liked the production and thought some of the costumes and dancing had elements that were Tim Burton-esque. Especially for the step-sisters and the step-mother with their whacky / bizarre costumes and performances. Spot on about the step-sisters and step-mother pulling off the humourous bits so well. yep - the problem with humour is they either play the joke for too long or too often or it's just too farcical to be funny. 
 
My main criticism was in the first act with the solar system dance numbers as they just did their bits by themselves. It didn't work that well for me.
 
What I thought worked really were the Prince and Cinderella parts since Ratmansky kept these as classical / traditional pieces. Their costumes and dancing was a delight to watch. Great chemistry between them.
 
The Prince was played by Daniel Gaudiello and he is a standout. Perfect build for a dancer and has good facial expressions for acting and is both light and powerful on his feet.
 
 I thought if you put Gaudiello in an Essendon jumper then you'd liken him to Mercuri. The guy is pure silk. 
 
 
So that's it for the ballet in 2013. Just more MTC play (The Mountaintop) in December. 

#31

 


So that's it for the ballet in 2013. Just more MTC play (The Mountaintop) in December. 

 

This is my favourite speech of all time, much more affecting than the Dream speech, and I'm not even religious. And so I had to pick it but I'm a little unsure of how it will turn out. Wasn't all that taken with their take on The Cherry Orchard, but that was partly due to me not discovering beforehand that it was a modern "adaptation".


#32

 

 


So that's it for the ballet in 2013. Just more MTC play (The Mountaintop) in December. 

 

This is my favourite speech of all time, much more affecting than the Dream speech, and I'm not even religious. And so I had to pick it but I'm a little unsure of how it will turn out. Wasn't all that taken with their take on The Cherry Orchard, but that was partly due to me not discovering beforehand that it was a modern "adaptation".

 

 

Cheers GRR for the heads up on this. I tend to go to these things without much preparation. So you made me have a bit of a look.  Looking forward to it. 
 
Cherry Orchard was ok, but I didn't really connect that well with some of the characters. 

#33

Today we saw The Met's "Eugene Onegin", which was originally a novel written in verse by Pushkin, adapted as an opera by Tchaikovsky. 

 

Was a lovely production - the sets were superb, and it was beautifully cast.  It was interesting listening to some of the interviews during interval - several of the cast had studied the book as children, to the point where they knew much of it by heart.

 

This was the first of the operas for the 2013-2014 season, and they had previews for the others in the series.  "The Nose" looks amazing!

 

The only let down for the day was a rude prick sitting near us in the cinema, but meh, the karma bus will run him down soon enough :P

 

Thursday night we're going to see the Kenneth Branagh in Macbeth, one of the National Theatre Live productions.


#34

National Theatre Live's "Macbeth" = AMAZING!

 

Kenneth Branagh was his usual excellent self, and Alex Kingston (Doctor Who/ER) was Lady Macbeth - and played it perfectly.

 

The set was superb - they used an old church, with the audience sitting each side of a centre aisle, about five metres wide, with a dirt surface.  At one end was a stage with a heap of candles at the back, and at the other end they had three windows used by the weird sisters, and a balcony above them. There were also entrances into the aisle from the middle on both sides.

 

This meant they had a heap of flexibility with movement and placement, and could do very realistic fight scenes, not to mention being able to go directly from one scene to the next using the different areas to focus on.

 

If you get the chance - see it!

 

In related news, for Shakespeare/Doctor Who fans, there are screenings of  the Royal Shakespeare Company's "Richard II" featuring David Tennant coming up in December - http://www.cinemanova.com.au/catalogue/dance-concerts/rscrichardii


#35

saw The Met's "The Nose" today.  It was.... interesting! It's based on the story by Gogol of a man who wakes up and discovers his nose is missing. The music is by Shostakovich, and it was quite discordant and stop/start - not everyone's cup of tea!

 

The set was incredible. When they first talked about doing The Nose, they visited St Petersburg to do research, and the director/set designer, William Kentridge, bought a heap of different props, including many old encyclopedias. The background is made up of pages, words, pictures and maps from these, but they also superimpose film images over the top at various times.  The actual structures of the set are difficult to describe - they created some rooms in frames that were raised off the stage, linked to other areas by stairs or in one case, a rope; sometimes they appeared to just be hanging in mid air; other rooms that were wheeled on and off by cast members; and Kentridge also used his own nose as a design base for the large newsprint covered appendage that appears on stage at various times.

 

I think this is one that would divide people - some would adore the imagery and imagination, others would find it confusing and uncomfortable. I was a bit in both courts - it's not one I'd like to see again, but am glad I experienced it!


#36

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRxofEmo3HA


#37

David Tennant as Richard II was superb. He managed to convey just the right touches of arrogance, humour and eventually incredulation and humiliation. Excellent supprting cast too.

 

It was broadcast live on November 13 from Stratford-upon-Avon, and has since been replayed at many venues around the world.  Cinema Nova has another viewing this Saturday afternoon - can totally recommend heading along if you're able!

 


#38

Went to see the Australian Chamber Orchestra perform the Brandenburg Concertos last Monday here in Brissie. Tognetti and his orchestra are right up there, world class. I have a dvd of the Mozart Players and Carmignola performing them and there was basically no difference between the two in the overall interpretation. Genevieve Lacey was superb on the treble recorder and Ian Brough stellar on the trumpet. The Belgian oboeist (I can't remember his name off the top of my head... Benoit somebody) was just as good. They are truly a brilliant orchestra, and you can never go wrong with a bit of JS!


#39

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRxofEmo3HA

Beautiful music. I recommend the recordings by Guido Carmignola of Vivaldi. He's a genius. I love Vivaldi. A completely different atmosphere and feel to my all time fav, ol' Ludwig VB, but his music is so fresh and alive.


#40

Went to the Messiah last night. MSO and chorus and soloists. I think it’s the first time I 've actually been to a full performance. It was pretty good, although they had a countertenor singing the alto part, and his voice wasn’t terribly strong. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t really make me want to shout and stamp my feet. There were a few who stood to applaud at the end, but I wasn’t one of them. Then again, I rarely am. Standing ovations are for those rare performances that take the breath away, not for every good, solid effort.