Classical music, opera, musicals etc


#101

Henry V, Bell Shakespeare in 10 min.
more to come

half time at the Fairfax* theatre and it's fantastic.
*Independent Theatre Always
Full time and a resounding win to the English over the French.
It was a wonderful piece of theatre. Superb. 10/10.
Standing ovation worthy. If you get a chance then see it.
Briefly, they set it in a school room in 1940 England during the war. So very nice mirroring of the war outside with the tale of Henry V's battle with the French. The teacher and the students perform the play.
It worked very very very well and the audience loved it.
Bell Shakespeare rarely put on a bad play. Always good to excellent.

#102

Henry V, Bell Shakespeare in 10 min.
more to come

half time at the Fairfax* theatre and it's fantastic.
*Independent Theatre Always
Full time and a resounding win to the English over the French.
It was a wonderful piece of theatre. Superb. 10/10.
Standing ovation worthy. If you get a chance then see it.
Briefly, they set it in a school room in 1940 England during the war. So very nice mirroring of the war outside with the tale of Henry V's battle with the French. The teacher and the students perform the play.
It worked very very very well and the audience loved it.
Bell Shakespeare rarely put on a bad play. Always good to excellent.

St Crispin got the heart pumping?

#103

 

 

 

Henry V, Bell Shakespeare in 10 min.
more to come

half time at the Fairfax* theatre and it's fantastic.
*Independent Theatre Always
Full time and a resounding win to the English over the French.
It was a wonderful piece of theatre. Superb. 10/10.
Standing ovation worthy. If you get a chance then see it.
Briefly, they set it in a school room in 1940 England during the war. So very nice mirroring of the war outside with the tale of Henry V's battle with the French. The teacher and the students perform the play.
It worked very very very well and the audience loved it.
Bell Shakespeare rarely put on a bad play. Always good to excellent.

St Crispin got the heart pumping?

 

ha - it was a v.good moment. 


#104

 

 

 

 

Henry V, Bell Shakespeare in 10 min.
more to come

half time at the Fairfax* theatre and it's fantastic.
*Independent Theatre Always
Full time and a resounding win to the English over the French.
It was a wonderful piece of theatre. Superb. 10/10.
Standing ovation worthy. If you get a chance then see it.
Briefly, they set it in a school room in 1940 England during the war. So very nice mirroring of the war outside with the tale of Henry V's battle with the French. The teacher and the students perform the play.
It worked very very very well and the audience loved it.
Bell Shakespeare rarely put on a bad play. Always good to excellent.

St Crispin got the heart pumping?

 

ha - it was a v.good moment. 

 

 

OK, well on your recommendation we are booked for next Thursday.


#105



Henry V, Bell Shakespeare in 10 min.
more to come

half time at the Fairfax* theatre and it's fantastic.
*Independent Theatre Always
Full time and a resounding win to the English over the French.
It was a wonderful piece of theatre. Superb. 10/10.
Standing ovation worthy. If you get a chance then see it.
Briefly, they set it in a school room in 1940 England during the war. So very nice mirroring of the war outside with the tale of Henry V's battle with the French. The teacher and the students perform the play.
It worked very very very well and the audience loved it.
Bell Shakespeare rarely put on a bad play. Always good to excellent.
St Crispin got the heart pumping?
ha - it was a v.good moment.

OK, well on your recommendation we are booked for next Thursday.
*gulp* I'm fairly confident you'll like it. We seem to have similar tastes.

#106

Last night we went to the MSO (yes, missed the game, but recorded it and kept track of scores throughout).  The concert was called the Romantics, and the music was by Brahms, Schumann, Richard Strauss and Percy Grainger.  Not bad, but didn't set me on fire.

 

The Brahms was Academic Festival Overture and very easy to listen to, especially when Gaudeamus Igitur made an appearance toward the end.

 

The Schumann was the Cello Concerto.  Now Schumann is famous for his piano music, and this was a cello concerto with not a piano in sight.  OK, but pretty dull, to be honest.  The cellist was an enormously tall Norwegian called Truls Mork (with a slash through the o, but I don't know how to do that) who was earnest and sensitive, etc., etc.  After the concerto he played an encore that was amazingly slow and sorrowful: not at all what encores usually are.  

 

Then we had Strauss' Don Juan.  I like Richard Strauss, but not all of his stuff.  This was good, but not one of his very best.

 

Finally, Percy Grainger's The Warriors.  This was a lot of noise, mostly enjoyable to listen to but not entirely.  Percy Grainger wrote a lot of very good music, but mostly in quite small pieces.  One such is Handel in the Strand, and they played that as an encore last night.  It was really the highlight of the evening as far as I'm concerned.  

 

The orchestra was in good form, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, who looks like a very amiable teddy bear and is obviously loved by the players.  

 

The MSO has a deal going where you can see 3 concerts for $150, and the tickets are Premium or A Reserve.  It's extremely good value.  We're also going to Mahler's First Symphony later this month and then Beethoven's Eroica later in the year.  There are more concerts to choose from than the ones we picked.  If you're at all interested in the MSO it's a great deal.


#107

Well, Doe’s reputation remains intact. We went to see Henry V on Thursday night and it was pretty good. It’s a great play and Bell Shakespeare did it well. The actors were all good and they passed the most important test for actors doing Shakespeare: they understood what they were saying.

It wasn’t perfect. The stage is tiny and there was only one set, so an awful lot of suspension of disbelief was required. I did get a bit sick of them constantly rearranging the few items of furniture that they had. I suppose it’s the consequence of having only a tiny budget, and you have to give them credit for managing as well as they do.

I have to say it didn’t beat the Laurence Olivier film from 1946. I was lucky enough to pick it up for next to nothing in JB as part of a boxed set with Hamlet and Richard III, and it’s a must-see if you get the chance.


#108

Just booked tickets to see The Phantom of the Opera and The book of Mormon on Broadway.

 

God dam Broadway is expensive.


#109

Well, Doe's reputation remains intact. We went to see Henry V on Thursday night and it was pretty good. It's a great play and Bell Shakespeare did it well. The actors were all good and they passed the most important test for actors doing Shakespeare: they understood what they were saying.
It wasn't perfect. The stage is tiny and there was only one set, so an awful lot of suspension of disbelief was required. I did get a bit sick of them constantly rearranging the few items of furniture that they had. I suppose it's the consequence of having only a tiny budget, and you have to give them credit for managing as well as they do.
I have to say it didn't beat the Laurence Olivier film from 1946. I was lucky enough to pick it up for next to nothing in JB as part of a boxed set with Hamlet and Richard III, and it's a must-see if you get the chance.

I'm glad you enjoyed, although I sense you didn't rate as highly as I did. 

 

And yes I must get this Laurence Olivier film.  cheers


#110

went to Les Misérables during the week.  Sensational.  Cast, singing, set - all amazing.  Only a couple of minor issues with the plot.  And the girl playing Cosette - her top notes were a little thin and screechy.  But overall - want to go again.  And again.


#111

The Doe's went to see Victorian Opera's "Into The Woods" by Stephen Sondheim at the Playhouse Theatre this afternoon.

 

It's a musical based on bringing together the classic fairy tales of Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel into a story that involves a childless baker couple who want to have a child (surprisingly, there was no bun in the oven joke).

 

We loved it. The singing was excellent, the acting really good and the characters and storyline first rate and fun and they all added to some beautiful songs and music. Plenty of humour and a few sadder bits. The 1st act was better than the 2nd, but it finished very strongly and the audience loved it.  

 

If you want to catch Into The Woods then sadly you can't as it finishes tonight. But they are doing another Stephen Sondheim in 2015 (details to be revealed online on Aug 7.). They did "Sunday in the Park with George." in 2013 which we didn't see - but based on today's performance we'll be off to the 2015 production ... for sure.

 

 We were reminiscing fondly about how wonderful the Victorian State Opera (VSO) was in the 80s before they got consumed into Opera Australia.  We have been so so with the Opera Australia and have seen 1 or 2 over the last few years and did not enjoy them very much.   But we were very impressed by Victorian Opera and they reminded us of the VSO who were a youthful and vibrant company.  So beyond their next Sondheim will be looking out to see what Victorian Opera  are going to do in 2015.

#112

I've been to a couple of things lately.  On Thursday we went to see the MSO play Mahler's First Symphony and the Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss.  

 

I love Richard Strauss' music, especially his vocal music.  The Four Last Songs are extraordinary.  We were up in the balcony this time in the front row, and although the view was great, the music seemed to pass beneath us, so I didn't enjoy them as much as I had hoped to.  The soprano was Erin Wall, from Wales, and I've heard others say she was a bit underpowered for the songs, so that may have been part of it too.  The last two of them, though, despite all that, were sublime.  

 

This was actually the first Mahler symphony I've heard from go to whoa.  It's got fabulous passages in it, but they are here and there among quite a lot of not very much.  The orchestra seemed to be having a whale of a time and they certainly got it all together in a few places, including the finale, which is amazingly exciting.  

 

All in all I'd give that concert an 8 out of 10.

 

On Sunday we went to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra.  We've subscribed to them for a few years but been becoming a bit disenchanted, and I wasn't expecting much this time.  I'm glad to say that I was very pleasantly surprised.  They began with a symphony by someone called Brescianello, whom I'd never even heard of, roughly a contemporary of Vivaldi but who worked mainly in Germany.  The symphony was lovely and the orchestra had a ball playing it.  Then there was a Telemann concerto for four solo violins (i.e., there were only the four violinists playing, no orchestra) that was just lovely. The first half ended with the Mozart bassoon concerto played by a very young Adelaide bassoonist called Jack Schiller.  He was excellent but it's hard to take the bassoon seriously. The second half began with a Concerto Grosso by the fabulously-named Arcangelo Corelli and the concert was ended by Haydn's "Farewell" symphony, where at the end the various members of the orchestra walk offstage until there are only two violins left there playing.  It was some sort of industrial action at the time.  All in all, terrific, a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon.   


#113
We saw Glengarry Glen Ross last night - MTC play  and we both enjoyed it.
 
 It‘s about real estate agents and the dishonest and ruthless world of trying to sell real estate.  Best described as black humour.  It doesn‘t hold back  and the language is full on. Basically f*** sh**, di**, throughout. But unlike a lot of stand up comedians who swear in lieu of being creative, the language made sense and worked really well. But when they dropped C*** some people walked out.   meh - some people are sensitive.
 
All the acting was good, with Alex Dimitriades the stand out. 
 
 It was short and punchy, 1 hr 30 min and with no interval. And the time went quick. 
 
It was a good piece of theatre. 

#114

Thanks for the review Doey.  I really liked the movie. Will investigate tickets!


#115

Thanks for the review Doey.  I really liked the movie. Will investigate tickets!

My FA##in pleasure.

 

I hope the FA###N S$$$head C###s don't give you a FA$$#N hard time with the FA$$&N tickets.


#116

We saw Glengarry Glen Ross last night - MTC play  and we both enjoyed it.
 
 It‘s about real estate agents and the dishonest and ruthless world of trying to sell real estate.  Best described as black humour.  It doesn‘t hold back  and the language is full on. Basically f*** sh**, di**, throughout. But unlike a lot of stand up comedians who swear in lieu of being creative, the language made sense and worked really well. But when they dropped C*** some people walked out.   meh - some people are sensitive.
 
All the acting was good, with Alex Dimitriades the stand out. 
 
 It was short and punchy, 1 hr 30 min and with no interval. And the time went quick. 
 
It was a good piece of theatre.


We're going tomorrow and I have to say a touch reluctantly. I remember seeing what I'm pretty sure was a MTC production not all that long ago, I'm getting old so the years fly a bit though, and I thought it was good but, like other Mamet plays, I wasn't totally sold. Not really sure it warrants a rerun but clearly the MTC do. It was literally the last play picked in this subsciption. The clincher for me was Steve Bisley who I haven't seen for while but who I like a lot. So I was a bit disappointed to hear he's sick and been replaced. At least I can watch for the audience's reaction to THAT word if the play fails to take hold.
Incidentally I'm glad there's no interval, I wish the MTC would abolish all intervals and I don't care if a play's 3 hours long either.

#117

 

We saw Glengarry Glen Ross last night - MTC play  and we both enjoyed it.
 
 It‘s about real estate agents and the dishonest and ruthless world of trying to sell real estate.  Best described as black humour.  It doesn‘t hold back  and the language is full on. Basically f*** sh**, di**, throughout. But unlike a lot of stand up comedians who swear in lieu of being creative, the language made sense and worked really well. But when they dropped C*** some people walked out.   meh - some people are sensitive.
 
All the acting was good, with Alex Dimitriades the stand out. 
 
 It was short and punchy, 1 hr 30 min and with no interval. And the time went quick. 
 
It was a good piece of theatre.


We're going tomorrow and I have to say a touch reluctantly. I remember seeing what I'm pretty sure was a MTC production not all that long ago, I'm getting old so the years fly a bit though, and I thought it was good but, like other Mamet plays, I wasn't totally sold. Not really sure it warrants a rerun but clearly the MTC do. It was literally the last play picked in this subsciption. The clincher for me was Steve Bisley who I haven't seen for while but who I like a lot. So I was a bit disappointed to hear he's sick and been replaced. At least I can watch for the audience's reaction to THAT word if the play fails to take hold.
Incidentally I'm glad there's no interval, I wish the MTC would abolish all intervals and I don't care if a play's 3 hours long either.

 

ha - His replacement, John McTernan, does a very good job. They warn you he is going to read from the script, but he does that very very little. So no issue there. 

 

interval - we stay in our seats during all intervals. Ballet or theatre (bladder issues notwithstanding, but I try and take care of them before. yep - thought i'd share that).   Standing in a crowded foyer getting jostled  or waiting in a line for a drink that I don't really need and then need to scull quickly doesn't do it for us. 


#118

Today we saw the film of one of the Melbourne shows of "Driving Miss Daisy" from last year, with Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones. It was great.  A very basic set that still managed to realistically convey all the locations.  Just a three person cast - the son was played by Boyd Gaines. Wish I'd gone to see it live now (although the ticket prices were pretty steep). 

 

At the end, they also showed an interview with Angela, covering a range of aspects of her career - from the Hollywood beginnings, to the stage, and on to tv (and 12 seasons of Murder She Wrote!).  She was amazingly honest - brutally so at times!

 

Well worth a watch :)


#119

Today we saw the film of one of the Melbourne shows of "Driving Miss Daisy" from last year, with Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones. It was great.  A very basic set that still managed to realistically convey all the locations.  Just a three person cast - the son was played by Boyd Gaines. Wish I'd gone to see it live now (although the ticket prices were pretty steep). 
 
At the end, they also showed an interview with Angela, covering a range of aspects of her career - from the Hollywood beginnings, to the stage, and on to tv (and 12 seasons of Murder She Wrote!).  She was amazingly honest - brutally so at times!
 
Well worth a watch :)


I didn't know that it had been filmed. We saw it when it was on and it was great. The two stars were just brilliant, completely believable. I'd never seen the film and was a bit apprehensive, and it's true that the story has its moments of schmaltz, but it was so well done that it didn't matter, it was a joy to watch.
We saw The King and I on Saturday. Pretty good, not great. Lisa McCune is excellent; she's really blossoming as a serious star. She sings very well too. It was an Australian Opera production, but none of the AO people were in it. The orchestra and the cast were all miked and amplified too, which was a bit disconcerting at first. Some of it was a little flat, but there were some real highlights as well. The very best part was the ballet, The Small House of Uncle Thomas, really inventive and charming. It's well worth a look. The stalls and dress circle were full; there were people in the Gods but I don't know how many.

#120

We went to the ballet last night, La Bayardère (The Temple Dancer). It’s set in India and is a story of thwarted lovers who are united in death. The original choreography was by Marius Petipa, the music is by Minkus, and this was a new production created by Stanton Welch for the Australian Ballet, but retaining some of the original.

Basically, it started slowly but got better. The main parts are the warrior Solor, the princess Gamzatti and the temple dancer Nikiya. The first act was introductory and really quite dull. The second act featured a pas de deux by Solor and Gamzatti where Solor struggled a bit: at one point the two did what I now know is called a bicycle lift, because the man holds his arm vertically above his head with the woman sitting on his hand like a bicycle seat. I have seen it before and thought of it as a crotch lift, because that’s what it is. I hate it, because the poor girl has to sit up there looking regal and pretending she hasn’t noticed that she’s got a man’s hand between her legs. Apparently it originated in Russia and could only be used in public if the dancers were a married couple. Anyway, it’s incredibly difficult, and Solor struggled to lift her up there and nearly dropped her on the way down.

The best part was the opening scene of the final act, which is long and known as The Kingdom of the Shades. I maybe wrong, but to me this scene looked like a lot of Petipa and little or no Welch. It opens with a long parade of 24 ballerinas entering slowly one by one, followed by three more who dance as a trio. They are all in the classic white tutu and they looked fantastic. Then there’s a long pas de deux by Solor and Nikiya which was well danced, and the scene ends with more ensemble dancing. That scene alone was worth the price of admission.

It’s been a pretty good ballet season but I think it’s now finished.