Classical music, opera, musicals etc


#161

#162

went to see Opera Australia’s “Madama Butterfly” last night at the State Theatre. Stunning. “Un Bel Di Vedremo” is one of my fave arias and I wasn’t disappointed - it was breathtaking. The set was simple but effective. The section where she waits for him was amazing - beautiful conveyance of her changing emotions as the time passes and she starts wondering why he hasn’t yet appeared. Was in tears at the end, which is ridiculous given I knew what was going to happen, but I think it illustrates what a terrific production it was.

We had an understudy play Suzuki, and she was excellent. Had a giggle when a chorus of boos rang out as Pinkerton came forward for his bows at the end too!

The only issue was that it was difficult to see the surtitles from the front row. First world problems!! :stuck_out_tongue:


#163

Saint-Saëns did the music that’s used in Jonathan Creek too, IIRC. Danse Macabre or the like.


#164
went to see Opera Australia's "Madama Butterfly" last night at the State Theatre. Stunning. "Un Bel Di Vedremo" is one of my fave arias and I wasn't disappointed - it was breathtaking. The set was simple but effective. The section where she waits for him was amazing - beautiful conveyance of her changing emotions as the time passes and she starts wondering why he hasn't yet appeared. Was in tears at the end, which is ridiculous given I knew what was going to happen, but I think it illustrates what a terrific production it was.

We had an understudy play Suzuki, and she was excellent. Had a giggle when a chorus of boos rang out as Pinkerton came forward for his bows at the end too!

The only issue was that it was difficult to see the surtitles from the front row. First world problems!! :stuck_out_tongue:

I saw it too last week and I loved it. It’s the same production as has been presented two or three times before, but it’s still lovely. I agree that the soprano, Hiromi Omura, was great, although I did flinch slightly when she sang that she was 15 years old. Hiromi was 15 years old over 30 years ago.

I also saw the Royal Ballet doing Swan Lake in one of those filmed presentations at the Palace on Sunday. Nataliya Osipova and Matthew Golding were the two leads. It was great. I’m surprised there weren’t more people there; there are usually a lot more and I thought that with it being Mothers Day the cinema would be full of happy women and less happy husbands. As usual Darcey Bussell did the commentary and there was an excellent interview with Anthony Dowell, who designed the production. Darcey Bussell had danced in it many times, and Jonathan Cope, who had partnered her, was also there and it was fascinating to listen to them.


#165

Early last year l bought a DVD of the Mikado. Took me a while to get around to putting it on. When l did it lasted about 10 minutes. The stereotyping was horrendous, much worse than having Mickey Rooney portray a buck toothed, bespeckled Chinaman in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, worst case l have ever seen put on film. Unwatchable, and offensive.


#166
Early last year l bought a DVD of the Mikado. Took me a while to get around to putting it on. When l did it lasted about 10 minutes. The stereotyping was horrendous, much worse than having Mickey Rooney portray a buck toothed, bespeckled Chinaman in Breakfast at Tiffany's, worst case l have ever seen put on film. Unwatchable, and offensive.

#167

It was of its time, CJ. The songs are lovely, and there are some very funny lines.


#168
It was of its time, CJ. The songs are lovely, and there are some very funny lines.
I suppose the same could be said of the Spanish Inquisition, not including the Python version.

#169

lt went beyond cringeworthy and embarrssing, it was offensive.


#170
Early last year l bought a DVD of the Mikado. Took me a while to get around to putting it on. When l did it lasted about 10 minutes. The stereotyping was horrendous, much worse than having Mickey Rooney portray a buck toothed, bespeckled Chinaman in Breakfast at Tiffany's, worst case l have ever seen put on film. Unwatchable, and offensive.

You should now watch Hot Mikado straight after it.


#171
If you don’t like Beckett, don’t put yourself through MTC’s Endgame. My better half, who is still emotionally scarred from studying Godot at uni, made her mindset manifest when she told me sharply that the dinner beforehand “better be good". She enjoyed the meal and then managed to sleep through a fair bit of the play but the guy on the other side of me, who’d been similarly press-ganged into going, gave up interest 10 minutes in and proceeded to fidget for the remaining hour and half, which was irritating but a bit Beckettish nevertheless, so I can’t complain. It’s received some ordinary reviews that have included petty quibbles about Friel’s Australian accent, the sort of cringe criticism Julia Gillard used to endure. More to the point, or lack of it, they seemed to dislike the performance’s reverential treatment of the text. Fair enough, this is a faithful production and essentially presents the play the way Beckett wanted it, right down to the bloodied and snot encrusted hanky. Personally I loved it but then I love Beckett. The critic who bagged the acting is on something dodgy. I reckon Friels is wonderful, one of the best actors going round and Mullins is great too, they don’t exactly spark off each other, as one critic complained, but on my reading of the text they aren’t meant to; if the play does have a point it’s about the distances separating even the closest of people, that’s partly why his folks are stuck in garbage cans on the side of the stage for the duration. Read it first and if you don’t like it stay home(unless of course you’re offered a suitable compensatory feed) but if, like me, you're captivated, this is a rare chance to see Beckett without training wheels.

(Sorry, I realise this is a late reply)

I friggin love endgame and I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see it, but did hear pretty mixed reviews.

I’ve seen it done quite a few times and always loved it, but like you were getting at, you either love Beckett and his absurdity or you farkin hate him.

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”


#172

(Sorry, I realise this is a late reply)

I friggin love endgame and I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see it, but did hear pretty mixed reviews.

I’ve seen it done quite a few times and always loved it, but like you were getting at, you either love Beckett and his absurdity or you farkin hate him.

“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”

Just my view, but theatre reviews are even more unreliable, ideologically predetermined, nasty and ignorantly subjective and yet pack driven than reviews in general, although jazz and classical reviews are right up there for esoteric savagery. I read them for entertainment more than recommendations.
I’ve seen Colin Friels in a couple of recent productions, he memorably played Rothko in the MTC’s “Red”, and I for one think he’s turned into something very special on stage; it’s hackneyed, I know, but he’s got stage presence and magnetism in spades and I can’t think of any other actor I’d rather see treading the boards right now.


#173

I saw MTC’s North by Northwest last night and reckon it’s clichéd, hammy, commercially driven and ……very entertaining. Why? Because the staging is as ingenious and engrossing as anything I’ve seen, I think I spent more time watching the puppeteers and the projectionists( is that a word?) than I did the actors and I can’t recall an audience so regularly and spontaneously applauding special effects. It’s especially impressive because you can witness the skill involved in creating the backdrop images; they could have just used video footage but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. The acting is serviceable if uninspired, I thought the villain the pick of the lot, but it doesn’t really matter in the end, the staging is the real star.
PS: My better half, who is a vintage fashion buff, told me that the dresses were ok for mock ups but that the handbags and hats were the real McCoy. She wasn’t impressed with the heroine’s shoes though, and pointed out that in the original Eva Marie Saint wore stilettos for the iconic Mount Rushmore scene.


#174

Just saw the MTC’s Birdland and it’s a hand grenade of a play that apparently was inspired by Patti Smith’s song, one of the truly great rock songs . But if you need to empathize with the protagonist it’s not for you. Put simply Paul is a manipulative, sadistic, selfish prick, but a thoroughly compelling one thanks to the sharp combative dialogue and the tremendous performance from Mark Leonard Winter in an extraordinarily demanding role, a careering human car crash at full throttle at just over 2 hours and without an interval. Terrific gutsy pugnacious theatre. Some critics didn’t like it though, maybe their attention spans and bladders struggled to cope with 2 hours without an interval. I think it’s got a week or so to go.


#175

#176

I enjoyed the MTC’s “Betrayal” immensely. Alison Bell is wonderful…of course. (That was my version of the Pinter pause and there are plenty of them to…enjoy.) The play plots the backward path of an illicit affair and it’s awe inspiring to witness the emotional and physical toil expended for “a bit on the side”, it’s easy to see why Ashley Madison became so popular.
The set features an ingenious revolving clothes rack that keeps the audience visually entertained in between scenes, the actors actually change costume on stage. No interval either and that’s definitely an extended pause I can do without.


#177

Lion King’ed it at the Regent last night. Very very good overall. Technically its excellent, how they do the characters is extremely clever. Most of the female singing voices are top notch. Female hyena probably the most glorious, Raffiqi (sp?) not far behind. The male leads were down a notch or two imo (strictly refering to singing ability here). Great use of lighting, good sets, some local humour and hits the african vibe perfectly.

I think its down to the last few weeks before it moves to Perth. Definitely worth a look.if you havent been.


#178

We saw Sleeping Beauty at the State Theatre last week. The set and costumes were fantastic but, to be frank, the music was a little unremarkable and the dancing was a bit repetitive and dull as a result. I felt it overstayed it’s welcome by 30 minutes.

We also saw Hamlet and Sweeney Todd a month or so back. Hamlet was excellent - a very enjoyable night out. Sweeney Todd was entertaining despite the inability of Teddy Tahu-Rhodes, who played Sweeney Todd, to act. I’m not sure I have seen anyone put in a more wooden acting performance in a musical or opera. Couldn’t fault his singing though (nor of the rest of the cast).


#179

We saw Sleeping Beauty last night and loved it. It’s had lukewarm reviews with most of the criticism being directed at the costumes and sets, but I thought they were sensational. We had Amber Scott as Aurora and she was great: she looked every bit the Prima ballerina and absolutely nailed the Rose Adagio and all the difficult technical parts of the role. The Prince was excellent too.

We were a bit apprehensive before it started because of the reviews, but as soon as it began it was obvious that the reviews were wrong.

There are two casts as with most ballets, and some friends of ours went to a matinee a little while ago and were disappointed with the dancing. I suspect we may have got the better cast.


#180

We went to the Marriage of Figaro at the State Theatre last night. Both of us have seen it often, and only went to this one because it’s had great reviews. They were well deserved. For once, the audience was actually laughing at a comic opera; usually the “humour” is tedious and very low level. It’s a new production by David McVicar. The sets are good without being sensational, but where the production excels is in its pace and the clarity with which the amazingly convoluted and ridiculous plot is brought out and clarified. The singing is great, and the whole thing keeps moving at just the right pace and never drags. The house was packed and it got a huge ovation at the end.

Paul Little was there, looking as full of the joys of life as he always does. It would be interesting to know when he last smiled.