Classical music, opera, musicals etc


#61

Madam and I went to see Private Lives last night at the Southbank Theatre, next door to the Recital Centre. This is a Melbourne Theatre Company production and for those who don’t know, Private Lives is a play by Noël Coward. Two couples, Elyot and Sybil and Victor and Amanda, find themselves on their honeymoons in adjoining suites in a hotel at Deauville, on the French coast. As it happens, Elyot and Amanda have both been married before - to each other. Their marriage was passionate but tempestuous and ended in divorce, and now, five years later, they have remarried. The problem is that the passion never quite died.

I was very apprehensive about this. The play is about rich, upper-class English society in the 1930s; it depends most of all on being done with speed, wit and style, and the actors have to look - and most importantly sound - the part. For the voices, think Helena Bonham-Carter and Rex Harrison. This, however, is a local production with a local actors, and Those things are not easy to achieve. But this production and these actors do it brilliantly. It’s fast and funny from the word Go and the actors have worked incredibly hard to get not only the accents but the intonation and speed of delivery right. The audience loved it, the two acts flew by, the slapstick was light and funny, and the bit of clowning from the ugly and irascible French maid was just what was needed.

Absolutely excellent. It’s on till 8 March and the theatre was full last night but there are still tickets available. Highly recommended.


#62

Saw Lord Of the Rings - Return Of The King today with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and chorus providing the score, along with the National Boys Choir.  Sensational. 


#63

my parents will seize any opportunity to see hair.

 

whats the most disturbing is they also seize any opportunity to remind their children that they first 'saw' each other whilst performing in it.

 

aint enough therapy in the world.


#64

saw "Rusalka" the other night, another simulcast from The Met.  Basic story is a water nymph falls in love with a human Prince, asks a witch to help her become human to be with him.  The witch does so but explains she will lose her ability to speak, and if she doesn't gain his love they'll both be cursed. And the whole thing goes downhill with operatic inevitability!

 

The two sets were incredible - the first was the lake where Rusalka lived, and the way they simulated the water was wonderfully believable! The second set was the castle where the Prince lived, and the attention to detail was amazing.

 

Renee Fleming played Rusalka, and it was the first time I'd seen her in a role - until now I'd only seen her introducing the operas and conducting interviews! Her voice is simply superb, but her acting.... oh dear.... I know operas tend to be dramatic but dial it down a notch love!

 

Piotr Beczala was the Prince.  Those eyes, that voice... mmmmmm! Had seen him previously in Eugene Onegin, and am happy to watch him again and again  :P

 

Dvorak's music as usual was lovely.  "Song to the Moon" is one of the arias from Rusalka that is well known and Renee did it justice.  The closing scene nearly had me in tears, just gorgeous. 

 

I think we've got Prince Igor as our next opera outing.


#65

Keep meaning to get along & watch a mate who's an opera singer. Have to avoid her in confined spaces in social situations, has a tendency to deafen.


#66

$55 tickets available for Madame Butterfly at the Athenaeum - March 21, 22 and 24


#67

saw "Rusalka" the other night, another simulcast from The Met.  Basic story is a water nymph falls in love with a human Prince, asks a witch to help her become human to be with him.  The witch does so but explains she will lose her ability to speak, and if she doesn't gain his love they'll both be cursed. And the whole thing goes downhill with operatic inevitability!
 
The two sets were incredible - the first was the lake where Rusalka lived, and the way they simulated the water was wonderfully believable! The second set was the castle where the Prince lived, and the attention to detail was amazing.
 
Renee Fleming played Rusalka, and it was the first time I'd seen her in a role - until now I'd only seen her introducing the operas and conducting interviews! Her voice is simply superb, but her acting.... oh dear.... I know operas tend to be dramatic but dial it down a notch love!
 
Piotr Beczala was the Prince.  Those eyes, that voice... mmmmmm! Had seen him previously in Eugene Onegin, and am happy to watch him again and again  :P
 
Dvorak's music as usual was lovely.  "Song to the Moon" is one of the arias from Rusalka that is well known and Renee did it justice.  The closing scene nearly had me in tears, just gorgeous. 
 
I think we've got Prince Igor as our next opera outing.


The AO did Rusalka a while ago. If it's the one I'm thinking of, there's a bit of a dramatic hole in the show, because doesn't the leading lady spend a whole act unable to sing for some reason. Maybe I'm mixing it up with another one.
Renee Fleming has a gorgeous, creamy voice. She's 55 now so she hasn't got too many years left in her. I saw that Kiri te Kanawa is retiring very soon: she's 70 and I thought she'd retired years ago.
We're off to see Don Giovanni at the Palace on Sunday. I think it's a ballet, although I've never heard of it as a ballet.

#68

Australian ballet performing at the Myer Music Bowl tonight gates open at 4.00, free entry, should be fun


#69

Anyone got any Off Broadway show recommendations? I have a few open slots in my New York itinerary, it might be worth seeing some good smaller shows and not just all the big budget spectaculars.


#70

when are you going? I know it's more ON broadway but if you haven't seen Rock of Ages yet, I totally recommend that!


#71

Vale Wendy Hughes. I was fortunate enough to see her mesmerising performance in the MTC production of Tennessee William's "Sweet Bird of Youth" opposite Guy Pierce. She was a majestic presence on stage.


#72

Last Thursday night we were back at Hamer Hall for another MSO concert. 

 

It started with Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, which was quite coincidental as my mate had been to see Prince Igor at The Astor on Tuesday night! It has one of my fave choral elements as well, and the MSO Chorus did a superb job.  The only issue I had was that the microphone near the percussion seemed to be turned up a bit too much - it was a bit overpowering.

 

Second was the main one I went to see, Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini.  Many people would be familiar with parts of this piece, in particular the segment heard in the movie "Groundhog Day".  It was amazing, I didn't want it to finish!

 

After the interval, we finished with Symphony No.2 by Sibelius.  It's one of my mum's favourites, and I have no doubt in other circumstances I would have thoroughly enjoyed it.  But after the high of the first two pieces, and this being quiet a different kettle of fish, it just wasn't doing it for me, and I was quite happy when it finished.

 

For the classical music fans, there's a Trivia Night on Friday 30 May at Melbourne Town Hall.  From the website: "Join ABC Classic FM‘s Phillip Sametz, Conductor Richard Gill, Soprano Antoinette Halloran and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for a night of live orchestral trivia!" 

 

We're putting a table together so give me a yell if you're interested in joining us!


#73

I saw Neighbourhood Watch last night (an MTC play at the Sumner theatre) and it was excellent.  

 

The central character is an old Hungarian lady (played by Robyn Nevin) and her interactions with her immediate neighbours in the street.  Nevin is superb in the role and nails it.

 

It's a very well written play about life and the crap it throws up at you and how people deal with it. It's sad, but it does have many funny moments as Nevin's character is a hoot who says what she thinks and happily calls an ásó and Ã¡só.

 

I highly recommend it.


#74

I’ve been a bit slack about posting here, so this is a ballet update.

We’ve seen two versions of Sleeping Beauty at the Palace Cinema opera and ballet series, one from the Paris Opera Ballet about a month ago and the other from the Royal Opera House yesterday. They were both great.

The Paris one was a production designed and choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev in the 1960s, and as I was watching it I realised that I actually saw Nureyev dancing in the same production at the Palais in St Kilda in about 1970. It didn’t mean much to me at the time; I’d seen virtually no ballet and I didn’t know how to appreciate it and I was a long way from the stage. One of the great tings about these filmed productions is that the filming is brilliant. They use so many cameras of such high quality that you see everything as if you’re in the best seats in the house. The ballet itself is a fantastic production: the sets are spectacular, the costumes also, and the dancers are breathtaking to watch. The one slight disappointment was the Princess Aurora herself: she was excellent in everything except the two big showpiece solos, one os which is the Rose Adagio. I’ve seen it quite a few times and every time I can hardly believe how difficult it must be: the dancer is on one leg, on point, her other leg extended behind her, and she has to hold that position for at least a full minute, with her arms above her head, as, one after another, four princes approach her, take one of her hands, rotate her in a full circle, then leave and make way for the next prince to do the same. The strength and balance required is extraordinary, and the dancer has to do it all with a smile, and grace and elegance and no sign of effort. It was the last bit where Aurora came up a little short: the effort and concentration were a little too obvious. It was her first time in the role, and hopefully she will gain confidence from having got through it successfully.

The Royal Opera House production was a re-creation of the Maurice Petipa production created just after the war for the reopening of the theatre, which had been used as a dance hall during the war. The princess Aurora was danced by an American ballerina called Sarah Lamb, and Prince Charming by Stephen McRae, an Australian (apparently the son of a drag racer from Queensland, now living in London and married to one of the dancers in the company).

. They were both sensational, and the production was, if anything, more spectacular than Paris. Sarah Lamb absolutely nailed the Rose Adagio, and Stephen McRae nailed his big solo in the third act: both of them brought the house down. The Lilac Fairy was great too, christine McNully, really beautiful and a lovely dancer.

In between the two we saw Manon at the State Theatre. Not bad, but a bit lack-lustre.

The pick of the three was yesterday’s Sleeping Beauty, but they were all well worth seeing.


#75

I saw Neighbourhood Watch last night (an MTC play at the Sumner theatre) and it was excellent.  

 

The central character is an old Hungarian lady (played by Robyn Nevin) and her interactions with her immediate neighbours in the street.  Nevin is superb in the role and nails it.

 

It's a very well written play about life and the crap it throws up at you and how people deal with it. It's sad, but it does have many funny moments as Nevin's character is a hoot who says what she thinks and happily calls an ásó and Ã¡só.

 

I highly recommend it.

Glad to hear it because we're seeing it this weekend.

And while we're on the subject, did you enjoy ■■■■*? I know I did.

 

Pause

 

(The smutty lad part of my personality has been wanting to say that since I saw it)

 

While we both enjoyed the play, my wife and I disagreed on 2 things.

Firstly she actually teared up for John at the end whereas I thought the emotionally wrenching finale was exactly what he wanted and manipulated.

And secondly my wife thought Sophie Ross was just OK looking whereas I felt she was seriously hot, especially in the simulated sex scene (and thank Zeus we had front row seats too). If I was gay like John, I'd have definiitely gone "straight" for her!

 

*The title of the MTC's last play.


#76

 

I saw Neighbourhood Watch last night (an MTC play at the Sumner theatre) and it was excellent.  

 

The central character is an old Hungarian lady (played by Robyn Nevin) and her interactions with her immediate neighbours in the street.  Nevin is superb in the role and nails it.

 

It's a very well written play about life and the crap it throws up at you and how people deal with it. It's sad, but it does have many funny moments as Nevin's character is a hoot who says what she thinks and happily calls an ásó and Ã¡só.

 

I highly recommend it.

Glad to hear it because we're seeing it this weekend.

And while we're on the subject, did you enjoy ■■■■*? I know I did.

 

Pause

 

(The smutty lad part of my personality has been wanting to say that since I saw it)

 

While we both enjoyed the play, my wife and I disagreed on 2 things.

Firstly she actually teared up for John at the end whereas I thought the emotionally wrenching finale was exactly what he wanted and manipulated.

And secondly my wife thought Sophie Ross was just OK looking whereas I felt she was seriously hot, especially in the simulated sex scene. If I was gay like John, I'd have definiitely gone "straight" for her!

 

*The title of the MTC's last play.

 

My mum sent me an email about it.  To my work email.  *sigh*


#77

 

I saw Neighbourhood Watch last night (an MTC play at the Sumner theatre) and it was excellent.  

 

The central character is an old Hungarian lady (played by Robyn Nevin) and her interactions with her immediate neighbours in the street.  Nevin is superb in the role and nails it.

 

It's a very well written play about life and the crap it throws up at you and how people deal with it. It's sad, but it does have many funny moments as Nevin's character is a hoot who says what she thinks and happily calls an ásó and Ã¡só.

 

I highly recommend it.

Glad to hear it because we're seeing it this weekend.

And while we're on the subject, did you enjoy ■■■■*? I know I did.

 

Pause

 

(The smutty lad part of my personality has been wanting to say that since I saw it)

 

While we both enjoyed the play, my wife and I disagreed on 2 things.

Firstly she actually teared up for John at the end whereas I thought the emotionally wrenching finale was exactly what he wanted and manipulated.

And secondly my wife thought Sophie Ross was just OK looking whereas I felt she was seriously hot, especially in the simulated sex scene (and thank Zeus we had front row seats too). If I was gay like John, I'd have definiitely gone "straight" for her!

 

*The title of the MTC's last play.

 

No I didn't get to see ■■■■ this year. It was on the list but it didn't make the final cut.

 

Our next MTC is Ghosts.


#78

I've been a bit slack about posting here, so this is a ballet update.
We've seen two versions of Sleeping Beauty at the Palace Cinema opera and ballet series, one from the Paris Opera Ballet about a month ago and the other from the Royal Opera House yesterday. They were both great.
The Paris one was a production designed and choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev in the 1960s, and as I was watching it I realised that I actually saw Nureyev dancing in the same production at the Palais in St Kilda in about 1970. It didn't mean much to me at the time; I'd seen virtually no ballet and I didn't know how to appreciate it and I was a long way from the stage. One of the great tings about these filmed productions is that the filming is brilliant. They use so many cameras of such high quality that you see everything as if you're in the best seats in the house. The ballet itself is a fantastic production: the sets are spectacular, the costumes also, and the dancers are breathtaking to watch. The one slight disappointment was the Princess Aurora herself: she was excellent in everything except the two big showpiece solos, one os which is the Rose Adagio. I've seen it quite a few times and every time I can hardly believe how difficult it must be: the dancer is on one leg, on point, her other leg extended behind her, and she has to hold that position for at least a full minute, with her arms above her head, as, one after another, four princes approach her, take one of her hands, rotate her in a full circle, then leave and make way for the next prince to do the same. The strength and balance required is extraordinary, and the dancer has to do it all with a smile, and grace and elegance and no sign of effort. It was the last bit where Aurora came up a little short: the effort and concentration were a little too obvious. It was her first time in the role, and hopefully she will gain confidence from having got through it successfully.
The Royal Opera House production was a re-creation of the Maurice Petipa production created just after the war for the reopening of the theatre, which had been used as a dance hall during the war. The princess Aurora was danced by an American ballerina called Sarah Lamb, and Prince Charming by Stephen McRae, an Australian (apparently the son of a drag racer from Queensland, now living in London and married to one of the dancers in the company).
. They were both sensational, and the production was, if anything, more spectacular than Paris. Sarah Lamb absolutely nailed the Rose Adagio, and Stephen McRae nailed his big solo in the third act: both of them brought the house down. The Lilac Fairy was great too, christine McNully, really beautiful and a lovely dancer.
In between the two we saw Manon at the State Theatre. Not bad, but a bit lack-lustre.
The pick of the three was yesterday's Sleeping Beauty, but they were all well worth seeing.

I was away for Manon but Mrs Doe saw it and she liked it a lot. She was so-so about it before going as it's not one of her favourite ballets but she thought it was really good.


#79

I have a 2 for 1 special offer for Opera Victoria's "La Traviata" which is on during May.  It's for full priced A and B-Reserve tickets for all performances. Let me know if interested!

 

http://www.victorianopera.com.au/what-s-on/la-traviata/


#80

there's a 2 for 1 offer for "Wigglesworth Conducts Rachmaninov" for C reserve and D reserve tickets.  Have to ring the box office on 9929 9600 and use the code UOM.  Offer was posted on Facebook.

 

http://www.mso.com.au/whats-on/2014/wigglesworth-conducts-rachmaninov/

 

still some decent seats left too!