All posts by Lynne Lancaster

A passionate theatre person Lynne is originally from Sydney and holds a B.Ed (Art) - a postgraduate Diploma in Information Management (Librarianship) and an MA in Theatre. While living in London ( 2002 -2007 ) Lynne completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells linked in with Chichester University. Lynne has worked for both Ticketek and Ticketmaster here in Australia and was involved with the original production of THE BOY FROM OZ An Ausdance member Lynne is passionate about dance and has studied ballet and Flamenco. Before moving to London she photographed the Sydney Dance Company and Australian Ballet among other companies and has exhibited internationally. Lynne is a SAMAG member and a volunteer at the Art Gallery of NSW. Currently Lynne writes for arthub, danceinforma and sydneyartsguide.

Traffic Jam Galleries : Black and White/ Works on Paper

This is a most exciting mixed group exhibition featuring works by CAROLE FOSTER . JENNY GREEN . ELIZABETH GREEN . MIRIAM INNES JO JOSEPHSEN . DANIELLE McMANUS . KATHRYN McGOVERN REBECCA PIERCE . EDGAR SCHILTER . and WILL MAGUIRE.

It is a mix of works previously seen and new works by some of the favourite artists from the gallery’s stable..I will be concentrating on the new works rather than ones I have already reviewed. The set theme for the exhibition is Black and White and/or works on paper. There is a great variation in size , some taking up almost an entire wall ( eg Miriam Innes with her New York Meandering , full of incredible detail and thrusting diagonal lines of the staircases). Continue reading Traffic Jam Galleries : Black and White/ Works on Paper

NT LIVE PRESENTS TONY KUSHNER’S REMARKABLE AND EPIC ‘ANGELS IN AMERICA’

 

Divided into two parts and in total about 8 and  hours long, Tony Kushner’s multi award winning play ANGELS IN AMERCIA : A GAY FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES, performed in two parts is set in America in the mid-1980s.

We see how In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, New Yorkers grappled with some huge social issues.

Part One is entitled Millenium Approaches and Part Two is entitled Perestroika. Both parts are given gripping, emotionally powerful performance by the splendid cast.

The issues it raises are still  relevant today, twenty five years after the work was first performed. It is a sweeping epic about gay rights and gay responsibilities, loyalty, religion, politics, guilt, and the failure to live up to the expectations of oneself and others. Continue reading NT LIVE PRESENTS TONY KUSHNER’S REMARKABLE AND EPIC ‘ANGELS IN AMERICA’

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR : NATURE @ THE CONCOURSE

This was a stirring, thrilling concert of enormous range and vibrancy.

Under the dynamic, precise baton of guest conductor Matthew Wood the latest Willoughby Symphony  concert had the umbrella title NATURE.

First was Smetana’s symphonic tone-poem The Moldau, evoking the flow of the Moldau River from its source in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest, through the Czech countryside, to the city of Prague. The piece is one of six works that form his cycle My Country .

The Moldua  is divided into eight sections and includes a village wedding, hunting horns and nymphs dancing in the moonlight. It began with bubbling flute and was mostly tumbling and flowing, the orchestra surging with shimmering violins and pulsating woodwind and a torrential tempestuous, crashing finale

Next came the presentation and announcement of the 2017 Young Composers award, presented by Willoughby Mayor Cr. Gail Giles-Gidney to Ella Macens for her work Flight. The APRA encouragement award went to Andrew Howes.

Ella Macens

With Macens in the audience the Orchestra performed a richly textured and multilayered rendition of her work. The piece began strongly  with pulsating percussion and striking woodwind. Most of the work was a conversation between the violins and the rest of the orchestra.

We then heard Cantos Españoles: Three Songs of Garcia Lorca by 2017 Composer-in-Residence, Daniel Rojas with the Willoughby Symphony Choir and mezzo-soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong.

Jenny Duck-Chong

This marks the final collaboration of Rojas with the Orchestra as composer in residence for this year.

The three powerful short pieces ranged from celebratory bells to silent mourning. Based on stories by Lorca the piece was conceived as a trilogy that celebrates the tragedy and triumph of love, innocence and unbridled passions.

The piece was full of dark, fiery Flamenco passion with staccato palmas and stamping rhythms, castanets and tambourine. Duck-Chong was compelling and charismatic, the Choir in fine form with a HUGE sound.

After interval we heard one of Australia’s most distinguished horn virtuosos, Hector McDonald, in a special guest appearance, performing Richard Strauss ‘ Horn Concerto No.1 in E flat major op 11.

Strauss’ piece had a crashing strident opening with lush lyrical strings in the first movement and superb playing by McDonald, dominating the orchestral discussion.

The second movement was softer and more thoughtful with tentative woodwind and the final, third movement had darting flute and dark tumbling dramatic strings while the horn was rather bright and skittish. McDonald’s  playing was refined and glorious.

We were then privileged to hear as an encore a most unusual combination horn and harp in Dolci Pianti (Sweet tears) by J. Strauss Jnr. The horn with its showy flourishes rather dominated the flowing, rippling harp, as played by Meriel Owen.

The Orchestra performed one more piece in the encore. This was Dvorak’s Symphonic Variations Op.78. full of varying moods, warm strings and delicious woodwind. At times it was strident bombastic and loud, with scurrying strings, or conversely softly creeping with cat like tread, at other times jaunty and dynamic, or rich, ominous and exotic. Under Wood’s baton the Orchestra was extremely well balanced and played with gusto in a thrilling performance.

Running time – roughly 2 hours 15 minutes including interval.

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir in NATURE played the Concourse Chatswood on the 16th and 17th September 2017.

Program :-
Smetana’s The Moldau
Ella Macens Flight
Daniel Rojas Cantos Españoles: Three Songs of Garcia Lorca
Richard Strauss ‘ Horn Concerto No.1 in E flat major op 11
Dvorak’s Symphonic Variations Op.78.

For more about the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra visit http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/whats-on/willoughby-symphony/

MOSMAN MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘URINETOWN’ @  ZENITH THEATRE, CHATSWOOD

 

Under the inspired direction of Kenney Ogilvie, the current production by Mosman Musical Society  is the darkly satirical URINETOWN.

The Zenith Theatre has been transformed into a darkly menacing city, where a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets in a world wracked by ecological disaster. The citizens are required to use public amenities, all managed by a single malevolent company, the Urine Good Company (UGC) that avariciously profits, led by Caldwell Cladwell, by charging admission for one of humanity’s most basic needs. It is supported by a corrupt government and police force.

Amongst the struggling people, who have run out of patience, money and hope, our hero Bobby Strong, one of our valiant star crossed lovers, decides that he’s had enough, and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom! Does he survive?  Can he make the town great again?

Inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill URINETOWN satirizes politics, capitalism, the legal system, bureaucracy, social irresponsibility, populism, and corporate mismanagement in a production very relevant to our current times  Continue reading MOSMAN MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘URINETOWN’ @  ZENITH THEATRE, CHATSWOOD

AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : HAYDN MOZART AND FRIENDS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

In this latest terrific concert by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO), the program for the evening consisted of four works, concentrating on the Classical period.

The concert began with a rarely heard Sinfonia by Mozart’s friend Christian Cannabich, who led  the renowned Mannheim court orchestra  which was to the 18th century what the Berlin Philharmonic is to today. Then there were two works by Mozart, and a Haydn cello concerto, superbly played by ABO principal Jamie Hey.

The Orchestra had as many composers as players in their ensemble and it set the standard for others to follow, increasing the orchestral range and nuance by their introduction of innovative bowing techniques and the use of rhythm and ascending climaxes which became known as the “Mannheim Rocket”.

The entire ABO was in fine, golden form as energetically led by the very enthusiastic Paul Dyer who was close to dancing whilst conducting on fortepiano.

The concert began with the rarely heard Sinfonia in E-Flat major by Cannabich that gave the concert a brisk, emphatic, sprightly start.

Then came Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, Hob.VIIb:1 with ABO soloist Jamie Hey on period cello playing with great articulateness and polish. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : HAYDN MOZART AND FRIENDS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

LIVE AT LUNCH : THE PAINTED PIANO AND THE GOLDEN FLUTE @ THE CONCOURSE

The latest thrilling concert as part of the Live at Lunch series featured the artistic director renowned flautist Jane Rutter and special guests pianists Simon Tedeschi and Kevin Hunt.

Kevin Hunt is a jazz pianist-composer who has performed regularly in the Sydney jazz scene since 1979. Hunt currently performs regularly with vocalist Emma Pask and pianist Simon Tedeschi and is a lecturer at the Conservatorium of Music.

All three were obviously having a hugely enjoyable time as did the packed audience.

The stage was mostly bare apart from a large projection screen and two shiny black pianos facing one another.

Rutter wore a glittering gold and yellow outfit and the two men were dressed in suits.

The concert opened with a medley based on Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm, a witty dialogue between the two pianos with its catchy, syncopated beats. The second piece was floating shimmering and delicate, rippling and romantic. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : THE PAINTED PIANO AND THE GOLDEN FLUTE @ THE CONCOURSE

AREK SINANIAN : A CLIMATE FOR DENIAL

‘This thought provoking book shines a light on a range of reasons why people don’t appreciate the urgency of the changes required.’ – John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute.

This is a deceptively small and light book that asks huge questions about climate change and helps if necessary in opening considered discussions about this extremely important issue.

The book asks why is it that despite overwhelming evidence and fundamental scientific principles, some people still don’t accept that climate change is real and that human activity is contributing to it?! Continue reading AREK SINANIAN : A CLIMATE FOR DENIAL

GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS : BONNIE CURTIS PROJECTS IMPRESSES WITH ITS DEBUT FULL LENGTH PRODUCTION

GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS is the first feature length work to be performed by Bonnie Curtis Projects and is part of the Sydney Fringe Festival.

Bonnie Curtis Projects has previously performed various short pieces examining the theories of psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, domestic violence and other related topics.

GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS attempts to explore the experiences of young modern Australian women, body image and sexualization, the mask women wear as a public face, and the use of social media.

Our emcee for the evening was Melinda Penna, in a black dress with a white fluffy short wrap – think the ads for Australian Dance Theatre’s Birdbrain – and sparkly silver high heels.

Penna introduced the two works to be performed through the evening and has a big part in the second half – more of that later. Continue reading GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS : BONNIE CURTIS PROJECTS IMPRESSES WITH ITS DEBUT FULL LENGTH PRODUCTION

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : GRIEG AND BEYOND @ CITY RECITAL HALL 

This was a stirring, passionate concert with the Australian Chamber Orchestra  in fine, elegant form.

Under the baton of guest director and violin soloist Henning Kraggerud, the concert celebrated the music of Norway’s best known composer. It was multi layered and displayed a great range. There was fine ensemble playing and some very exiting mini solos.

Special guest of the Orchestra, Henning Kraggerud, Artistic Director of the Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra , is renowned for his interpretation of Grieg and his extraordinary creative versatility, with a career that his seen him playing many different roles from being an Artistic Director to composer, performer, arranger and even and improviser. He spends much of his time touring the world as a concert soloist and has written over 200 compositions.

As the Orchestra leader, he danced, crouched and lunged into the music, such was his passion. The Orchestra and Kraggerud developed an attentive rapport playing together with great panache and passion.
Kraggerud briefly spoke about each of the works before they were played and contextualised the works for the audience. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : GRIEG AND BEYOND @ CITY RECITAL HALL 

I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep Than Some Other Son of a Bitch @ THE OLD 505

 

Above Sister Ursuline on the cello and performer Gerry Sont. Featured image performer Gerry Sont.

This intense, strange, challenging, at times, confronting but wild and wonderful production by Theatre Excentrique is the Australian premier of Garcia’s fast paced play that criticises and analyses society and its greedy norms and expectations. It is chance to see an example of Garcia’s powerful, political and at times violent , controversial and contentious style.

The premise of Garcia’s provocative play, here translated by William Gregory, is that, having withdrawn his life savings, a lone dissolute father who has reached rock bottom (played by Gerry Sont) has devised a master plan to educate his two young sons , so they ‘splash the cash’ in style doing something mad : after discussion with his sons ( who actually want to go to Disneyland Paris) he develops a plan – at night, to break into the Prado Museum to see Goya’s black paintings ( Los Caprichos) while eating chorizo, drinking scotch and sniffing coke.

As well, they fly in a trendy celebrity philosopher from Germany as their guide  to further improve their education. Much is made of the commercialism of Disneyland and there are great discussions about combating depression, economics, the meaning of life, economic versus emotional stability, the sacred versus the banal , our reason for existence and the power of love, all blurring the barriers of dreams and reality.

The title of the play is repeated several times as conversation and there is at times some strong language. Continue reading I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep Than Some Other Son of a Bitch @ THE OLD 505

BERNADETTE ROBINSON IN ‘THE SHOW GOES ON’ @ THE PLAYHOUSE

The ever amazing Bernadette Robinson (Songs For Nobodies, Pennsylvania Avenue) dazzles and delights in this sensational new show the world premiere season of THE SHOW GOES ON

We are left gasping at Robinson’s incredible range and talent as directed with great polish by Richard Carroll. The show is a tribute to several divas of roughly the last 75 years – including Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Maria Callas, Shirley Bassey, Patsy Cline, Julie Andrews and Edith Piaf.

Under Carroll’s direction the show is terrifically devised and structured as a showcase for Robinson’s phenomenal talent and voice and her uncanny ability to mimic some of the greatest voices of our era. Her seamless, smooth technique is incredible.

Robinson is on stage the entire time, supported by a splendid band led by Martine Wengrow. Continue reading BERNADETTE ROBINSON IN ‘THE SHOW GOES ON’ @ THE PLAYHOUSE

Willoughby Symphony : Last Night of the Proms @ The Concourse

Cello soloist Benett Tsai.

Following in the grand tradition of Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, this was a quite British concert with several old favourites included and also featuring some Scandinavian music. Audience members attended the concert fully prepared to enjoy themselves and that they certainly did.

The concert, held at the Concourse, Chatswood where the WSO is the resident orchestra, featured huge cast of performers with the combined forces and talents of the Willoughby Symphony and the Willoughby Choir. The featured soloist this year was astonishing Benett Tsai on cello. Dr Nicholas Milton conducted with enormous panache and flair, and introduced the various works and soloists.

It opened with the stirring yet stately Pomp and Circumstance Military March No.4 by Elgar, a Proms staple and an audience favourite. This was followed by the dramatic nationalistic tone poem Finlandia Op.26 by Sibelius with ominous horns and drums, scurrying strings and rumbling cellos and double bass. The Choir was strong and powerful in the penultimate Finland Awakes and was underscored by tremulous strings. Continue reading Willoughby Symphony : Last Night of the Proms @ The Concourse

TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES :  REBECCA PIERCE AND JENNY GREEN

 

A very captivating exhibition has invaded the Traffic Jam Galleries reshaped space with works by Jenny Green (INTERPLAY) and Rebecca Pierce ( THE SIMPLE LIFE) .Both are bright , bold ,vivid and entrancing . what is also exciting is seeing the contrast and range of styles produced by both artists.

First , considering Jenny Green’s exhibition INTERPLAY . From her studio in Sydney’s Northern Beaches Jenny Green creates her sculpture in bronze, steel & resins. Her work is represented in private, public & corporate collections, and has won a number of awards. Green exhibits at traffic jam galleries at Neutral Bay and in group exhibitions including with the Sculptors Society.

In 2015, Jenny was appointed to the Board of the National Art School..Her work is currently shortlisted in the Northern Beaches Art Prize. As displayed here, Green’s abstract sculptures of steel can be of strong ,coloured, dynamic ‘singing ‘ lines , full of energy and ‘eating’ space .They vary considerably in size – some of them are small, while others are large and free standing ( eg INTERPLAY 1 & 2 ) and have a pebbled floor , as if invoking a Zen garden.

Green’s bronze figurative sculptures ( eg Rapport , Hey There ) are semi abstract and often have a great feeling of weight and heaviness ,yet this is combined with a sense of pulsating energy and movement .Some sit or stand on plinths the bodies in discussion or thought.

Rebecca Pierce’s exhibition is entitled THE SIMPLE LIFE.Pierce primarily works with paint, inks and fine points on canvas and paper.Pierce has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia and overseas. She has been a finalist in major art prizes including the Glencore Percival Portrait Prize, the Mosman Art Prize, the Heysen Art Prize, the Fishers Ghost Art Prize, the Hawkesbury Art Prize, the Hunters Hill Art Prize, the ANL Maritime Art Prize and the Willoughby Art Prize. Rebecca’s work is represented in corporate and private collections in Australia and internationally.Ths particular exhibition includes some of her trademark bright, bursting thickly textured floral arrangements ( eg Country , Red Roses Blue Vase IX , Blow That Cone Full Salute ) but also features a very different change in style ( or two ).

There are some wonderful abstract multi textured,rather large ,swirling canvases painted with many layers of mirror resin , some also including straw attached , which are full of bold dynamic colour and energy . (eg The Simple Life C Dandelion) Flow parts 1-3 is like a triptych of a giant rolling wave . Major social issues are also commented on with for example The Motion of Transition diptych of paintings.There is perhaps a sense of unsettling un predictability and we see how Pierce interprets the human face and form (there is also a self portrait included) and the reading of the natural landscape around us and how these interweave.

A very striking exhibition.

Jenny Green’s Interplay and Rebecca Pierce’s The Simple Life run at the Traffic Jam Galleries 9 – 31 August 2017

 

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : ‘MOUNTAIN’ @ THE CITY RECITAL HALL

This event, a collaboration between the ACO and Jennifer Peeedom , will leave you overawed and breathless at the savage beauty of nature and music. It is in a similar vein to the ACO’s 2012 multimedia project The Reef it is full of stunning visuals (the film is directed by Peeedom with Renan Ozturk as principal photographer) and also features bravura playing by the ACO in dazzling form as led by Tognetti, who has some dramatic , shimmering and fiery solos.

The work is an epic exploration of the often fraught relationship between humans and mountains which really began with the Romantics. The film is narrated by Willem Dafoe, with text written by Robert Macfarlane – whose book Mountains of the Mind inspired Peedom’s approach to this project.

The film itself is a poetic rumination on humans’ relationship with mountains and explores the nature of our modern fascination with mountains – WHY are we so captivated by them? but there is little detail conveyed in the narration – Although some of the issues explored in Peedom’s 2014 film Sherpa are briefly mentioned – instead , Dafoe asserts broad ideas for which the film provides breathtaking images. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : ‘MOUNTAIN’ @ THE CITY RECITAL HALL

STAGE RUSSIA’S PRODUCTION OF ‘ANNA KARENINA’ FROM THE VAKHTANGOV THEATRE

An intriguing but somewhat unsatisfying dance version of Tolstoy’s much loved epic novel, this is part of the Stage Russia screenings and come to us from the Vakhtangov Theatre choreographed by Angelica Cholina.

The ballet transfers very well from stage to screen,  photographed cleanly and thoughtfully, with excellent use of appropriate close up .While the individual elements were great, with fine performances by an excellent cast, this production proved to be rather strange and disappointing.

Cholina has based this work on Tolstoy’s novel of sweeping love and despair which details the life of the eponymous Anna, a St. Petersburg aristocrat who is caught in a loveless marriage, against the backdrop of rigid late 19th century Russian society. Streamlining and abridging the novel, the adaptation is an analysis of (un)happy family life and also looks at the high echelons of society at the time and how emotions conflicted with social conventions. Tolstoy’s novel is widely considered a pinnacle in realist fiction. Continue reading STAGE RUSSIA’S PRODUCTION OF ‘ANNA KARENINA’ FROM THE VAKHTANGOV THEATRE

TERRENCE RATTIGAN’S ‘AFTER THE DANCE’ @ THE NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN

This is the first time that this neglected rather early Rattigan play has been seen in Sydney. While it now perhaps seems rather dated and ‘of its time’ under Giles Gartrell-Mills’ excellent direction this play while at first, seemingly very artificial, superficial and slow to take off, develops and becomes quite intense and multi-layered.

Rattigan’s play, AFTER THE DANCE written in 1939, examines the life of the young people who survived World War One and lived life to the full in the hedonistic 1920s, only to find themselves now middle-aged, disillusioned and facing another World War .It is a study of a  lost generation. The script is brilliantly written and the play well plotted and structured. At times the play seems a bit like a brittle Coward comedy – the audience laughed heartily at certain points at the sparking , witty dialogue –  but there remains  an underlying passion and morality. Rattigan is able to let the audience see  the hidden sadness of these doomed fantasists. Continue reading TERRENCE RATTIGAN’S ‘AFTER THE DANCE’ @ THE NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : FANTASY @ THE CONCOURSE

Featured photo – Violinist Ji Won Kim.

The latest wonderful concert by the fabulous Willoughby Symphony Orchestra was entitled FANTASY, regarding stories of sorcery, storytelling and true love.

Conducted enthusiastically and energetically by Dr NIcholas Milton the Orchestra was in glorious form and dealt with the quite different styles of playing required for the various pieces excellently . It was a multilayered, beautifully nuanced elegantly precise performance that at times was explosively powerful.

First up was Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila Overture (1842) It was played at a fast and furious pace. An emphatic melody for winds, brass and timpani is connected by the surging violins in a tearing hurry. A dialogue develops between the creeping woodwinds and swirling strings, then the cellos sing lyrically with the melody being taken up by the violins and all ends in a tempestuous, breathless finale.

The bulk of the first half was Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E Flat major for violin Viola and Orchestra K 364, as performed by two of Australia’s most exquisite instrumentalists, Ji Won Kim on violin and Caleb Wright on viola. Ji Won Kim wore a beautiful long pale ice green gown, Caleb Wright was in orchestral black.

Both soloists were given equal billing and dazzled in their solos and showy duets. The opening was brisk and emphatic and mostly the work was a dialogue between violin and viola with mini solos. Their playing was many textured and multilayered, full of exquisite delicacy and thoughtful phrasing .At times it was fiery and passionate, at others lustrous , fluid and shimmering. The middle adante movement began as an aching lament and the Orchestra pulsated underneath with a heartfelt shimmering duet for the two soloists. The third Presto section was in a far brighter and bouncier tone leading to the delicious conclusion.

There was thunderous prolonged applause and for an encore Kim and Wright performed Handel’s Passacaglia in G Minor for Violin and Viola in a jaw dropping version that was strikingly different in style to the previous Mozart piece. It began quite formally then dramatically changed – some parts were explosively powerful, others were lyrical and emotional (eg the rather reflective central variation).

The second half, an exotic Turkish delight, consisted of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral fantasy Scheherazade,( 1888 ) based on the tale of the storyteller princess who tricks a murderous Sultan into letting her live by telling him 1001 enchanting tales. Balletomanes might remember this was choreographed by Mikhail Fokine for the famous ballet by the Ballets Russes starring the legendary Nijinsky and Karsavina.

Both Kim and Wright joined the Orchestra, Kim leading the violins and shimmering as the ‘voice’ of the narrator Scheherazade, or Zobeide (if you are thinking of the ballet version).It was given a lush, dramatic and stirring performance full of fiery passion and sweeping melodies. Ji Won Kim dazzled in the delicate violin solos .The symphonic narrative is divided into four sections and Rimsky-Korsakov’s dazzling creation of being at sea and other luscious sounds is hypnotic .

The composer had originally given the four sections story titles but later changed this. The first section introduces Scheherazade and the Shah , with her tremulous , shimmering voice on violin and his stern, turbulent one and you can hear the ships and the sea .The second and third sections are circular in format with the beginning theme of each movement heard again at the conclusion, in the third movement woodwind have a dialogue with the strings , both ‘voices’ are featured , lush strings occur in the third movement and a crashing, tumultuous section and more brass fanfares lead to a restatement of the main melody and a hushed, lyrical conclusion.

There was great enthusiastic applause for this captivating concert .

Running time 2 hours including interval
Willoughby Symphony in Fantasy runs at The Concourse Chatswood 5-6 August 2017

 

MISS SAIGON @ PARRAMATTA RIVERSIDE THEATRE

One of the best shows on in Sydney at the moment Packemin’s production of MISS SAIGON is both lyrical and chilling, explosively powerful and softly haunting .

Written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, the team who brought us Les Miserables (and yes you can hear similarities in the score, which at times is quite operatic) this is an updated version of Madame Butterfly set during the Vietnam War featuring a rather operatic dose of lyrical romance, passion biting wit, politics and corruption. The show ran on Broadway, and in London, for over a decade and has had major productions world wide.

Set in 1975, during the last days of the American occupation of Vietnam, MISS SAIGON tells the dramatic, moving story of a young Vietnamese girl, Kim (Vivien Emsworth) and an American GI, Chris (Haydan Hawkins) whose lives briefly, magically intersect ; a moment that changes their lives forever, especially when they are catastrophically torn apart by war.

Under Neil Gooding and Ylaria Rodgers’s superlative direction with a very strong cast it is at times bright, bold and colourful, tightly choreographed and sometimes very visually dramatic. Technically, the production crew were excellent The set design (Neil Shotter) with its fluid scene changes from neon lights of the garish bar to bamboo textured slats, or wire fences for example, is excellent.

The Morning of the Dragon scene, with its HUGE cast (yes including a dragon and martial arts allusions) of the menacing masked army invading the stage with their guns and the red lighting is both thrilling and chilling. Continue reading MISS SAIGON @ PARRAMATTA RIVERSIDE THEATRE

DMITRY SINKOVSKY THE SINGING VIOLIN @ CITY RECITAL HALL

This was a fascinating concert that was perhaps a trifle uneven in the first half but the second half was astonishing and the audience gave a thunderous standing ovation which led to THREE encores.

The Brandenburg Orchestra’s special guest artist Dmitry Sinkovsky was a star student of the iconic Moscow Conservatory (where Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich once taught and Rachmaninoff studied). He was groomed for an international career on modern violin but changed focus in 2005 and pursued specialised early music training in Moscow, Montreal and Holland.

Now he is a highly regarded laureate in many European violin competitions (including first, audience and critic’s prizes in the coveted Music Antiqua Competition in Bruges). He is in great demand internationally both as violinist and as a counter tenor.

Sinkovsky is an very charismatic figure. Dressed in black he had his hair long and channelled his inner Paganini (or some other Romantic performer/composer perhaps) playing intently, cradling his violin intimately and swaying with the music. When singing he was proud, passionate and fiery. He played a rare and precious Francesco Ruggeri violin made in Cremona in 1675.

The concert began with Aubert’s bright, flowing Ciaconna from his Concerto for four violins in D Major Op. 26, No. 3 featuring energetic swirling strings. Dyer, as always, conducted enthusiastically from the keyboard. The Orchestra throughout breathed and played as one with glorious ensemble playing.

Then came Telemann’s fiendishly difficult Concerto for Violin in B-flat Major TWV 51:B1 “per il Sig Pisendel” featuring the extraordinary Sinkovsky The first movement was pulsating with powerful undercurrents , the second had a most emphatic beginning and circular rhythms which Sinkovsky took and embroidered. The third movement, by contrast , was far more lyrical and softer, with Sinkovsky tender yet dazzling in his playing. The fourth movement saw Sinkovsky in a blisteringly fast mini solo, the melody stated and passed around the Orchestra, Sinkovsky embellishing again in commanding Il Divo mode on his violin.

Vivaldi’s Concerto for two Horns in F Major, RV 538 was next, rich and vibrant at a galloping pace featuring Darryl Poulsen and Doree Dixon on Baroque horn. This was a rich and vibrant performance. In the first movement the horns stated the melody and led the Orchestra and the third movement was a fast showy duet for horns and orchestra, both movements animated allegros and with featured use of ritornellos. The middle, second movement however was a lyrical, eloquent passage for the cello and double basses.

Leclair’s Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op.7 No.2, full of elegant playing, featured a soft, hushed opening, Sinkovsky eventually leading shimmering violins. In the first movement Sinkovsky had a darting very fast mini solo whilst the second movement was fluid with pulsating undercurrents, Sinkovsky was dazzling in his warm, rich bravura solo comprising full of leaps and difficult arpeggios. The final movement saw Sinkovsky very intense, yet lyrical with his glittering playing leading to an exuberant conclusion.

After interval the Locatelli Concerto Grosso in E-flat Major, Op. 6, No. 7 “Il Pianto D’Arianna”, in some ways an instrumental opera, based on the Greek legend of Cretan princess Araidne, was off to a slow, poignant beginning which then turned suddenly blisteringly fast.

The Orchestra was brisk and emphatic, rather stately and eloquent in a thoughtful discussion with Sinkovsky, who charmed us with his warm, lustrously textured playing, In the second movement, the orchestra played p its lament and there was a sudden change to brisk scurrying while the third movement featured Sinkovsky’s shimmering playing.

Then came Locatelli’s Introduttioni Teattrali in D Major Op 4/5 with its cascading, rolling strings and bright, swirling circular rhythms. Paul Dyer enthusiastically led on harpsichord.

The last work, officially, on the program was Vivaldi’s complex Concerto for Violin in E Minor, RV 277 “Il Favorito” with emphatic, dynamic strings and Sinkovsky’s extraordinary dazzling, soaring playing full of delicacy and simplicity. The second movement began slowly and softly, developing a floating, dreamlike atmosphere and Sinkovsky’s playing was poignant and extremely eloquent. The third final movement saw a forceful start by the Orchestra and Sinkovsky had a very fast showy solo, swooping and soaring on his violin, as part of a dynamic dialogue with the Orchestra.

After thunderous , prolonged applause the first encore was Locatelli’s Capriccio from his Concerto in D Major (Op. 3, No. 1) with Sinkovsky blistering on his skittering violin.

in a delightful , surprising move, the second encore was Handel’s Dove sei from Rodelinda (HWV 19) with Sinkovsky leaving the violin behind, and performing as counter tenor. This piece was fluid and passionately dramatic.

The final encore was Handel ‘s Va tacito e nascosto from his Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17) – the Hunting Aria – where Sinkovsky was explosively powerful and there was a teasing, dynamic ‘anything you can do I can do better’ duet with Darryl Poulsen on horn. The concert ended with tumultuous applause and a standing ovation.

Running time just under 2 hours and 30 minutes including one interval.

DMITRY SINKOVSKY: THE SINGING VIOLIN is playing the City Recital Hall until Friday 4th August. The concert then moves to   Melbourne and Brisbane

PROGRAM
Aubert Ciaconna from Concerto for four violins in D Major Op. 26, No. 3
Telemann Concerto for Violin in B-flat Major TWV 51:B1 “per il Sig Pisendel”
Vivaldi Concerto for two Horns in F Major, RV 538
Leclair Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op.7 No.2
Interval
Locatelli Concerto Grosso in E-flat Major, Op. 6, No. 7 “Il Pianto D’Arianna”
Locatelli Introduttioni Teattrali in D Major Op 4/5
Vivaldi Concerto for Violin in E Minor, RV 277 “Il Favorito”
Plus encores.

 

 

ELIZABETH GREEN @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES

 

‘Romantics’. Oil on Canvas. Elizabeth Green.

A very exciting small ‘pop up’ exhibition is currently showing at Traffic Jam Galleries, featuring the work of artist Elizabeth Green.

Elizabeth Green is a Sydney based artist living in the bush surrounds of Kenthurst. She works in oils and in mixed media of charcoal and ink, exploring the fragile connection between the delicate beauty of nature, and its existence within the harsh and rugged land.

Much of her style is also inspired by her experience as a mother of four, as well as her trials and triumphs as a person living in a wheelchair. In May she was awarded a Highly Commended in the Hunters Hill Art Prize.

Green’s work is dynamic and full of energy.
What is intriguing is the range of styles and moods, sizes and media used … some of the works are delicate, almost abstract, possibly looking like watercolours rather than oils (eg Romantics or Land Surface) and deceptively softly coloured yet vivid. Black Earth, however, is strong and looming with a hint of sky. The rough texture of the soil is wonderfully evoked.

Her drawings are also eye catching, very strong and powerful and full of dynamic energy. When We Met leaps out of the frame with its use of line and sense of solid energy. Black Wings is explosive in its use of line and composition and treelike ‘wings ‘. Is the person haunted by depression? Landing or taking off?

Renewal is mostly dark and sombre but there is a hint of life and joy with the fresh plants beginning to emerge. Obeli (again ink on paper) is quite different from the other works included.The title could mean either ‘a mountain, tree, or other natural object resembling an obelisk in shape ‘ ( here possibly trying to go up a misty mountain?) or that the work was indicating that it was perhaps referencing the deceased. The painting is free with zingy brushwork and possibly looks like music dancing – or is it tears ?

Elizabeth Green’s exhibition run at Traffic Jam Galleries July 21 -August 3 2017.

 

CABARET IN THE DAY : BROADWAY BABIES @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

A delightful and at times very moving Cabaret in The Day, the final of this year’s series, “ BROADWAY BABIES’ was at Mosman Art Gallery featuring the talents of maestro Glenn Amer and Adele Johnston.

The versatile, extremely impressive Amer needs no introduction to audience members of Cabaret in The Day. Johnston is a versatile artist excelling in a variety of genres including cabaret, musical comedy, opera, operetta, concert and lieder recitals. For this concert she was elegant in black and silver and – at least at the start- draped in a hot pink feather boa.

In this concert we were treated to a range of ‘The Greatest Hits’ from various musicals ranging from Annie Get Your Gun to Phantom of the Opera and more… Continue reading CABARET IN THE DAY : BROADWAY BABIES @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN :MICHELANGELO LOVE AND DEATH

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free” Michelangelo.

Born in 1475 in Tuscany, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni is regarded as one of the great artists of the Renaissance, if not of all time, with his sculptures and paintings including the giant statue of David, (fashioned from a single block of marble), his eloquent Pieta in the Papal Basilica of St Peter, and the rather overwhelming Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican. Not forgetting the Manchester Madonna (today at the National Gallery in London).

This documentary, the latest in the Exhibition on Screen series, linked in with the National Gallery in London’s Michelangelo/Sebastiano exhibition that closed in late June, features expert commentators such as the art critics Martin Gayford and Jonathan Jones and Vatican Museum and National Gallery curators, who illuminate various facts about the bravura artist and reveal the passionate and ambitious man behind the work.

Use is made of letters by Michelangelo and his contemporaries, and quotes from the Vasari and Condivi biographies, in particular. We also hear some of Michelangelo’s poetry (one of which is set to a madrigal). His life and work are placed in context (Florence and Rome in the 16th century were turbulent times) and we learn of his friendship with and patronage by the Medicis and three Popes. Continue reading EXHIBITION ON SCREEN :MICHELANGELO LOVE AND DEATH

ACTS OF FAITH : A NEW PLAY BY MELVYN MORROW @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

NSW

This is the world premiere of a witty, sparkling, delicious comedy from the pen of Melvyn Morrow..

Under Elaine Hudson’s excellent direction the play, full of incisive one liners, is fast paced with the actors swiftly moving between scenes. The two cast members perform with pizzazz and there is a good chemistry between them.

The set by Allan Walpole was in three parts, with a church like atmosphere overall, the two outer sides pulpit like, the main middle section with its lights proclaiming Last Orders Bar and Bistro. The arches for the two side areas act as windows and allowed for very atmospheric lighting. Scene changes (church to racecourse to restaurant and more) were often indicated by changing a prop on the bar – for example, flowers, or a silver teapot, an Islander statue, or a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Musically, the soundscape as devised by Glenn Amer, included convent bells, hymn music and some Gilbert and Sullivan.
Morrow’s play envisions two interesting characters – Arthur, a shonky property developer and Thelma, the last nun of her order – and places them in a situation which offers maximum potential for conflict.

Scenes are divided and feature ironic voice-overs like saying a rosary, for example the second mystery of light. There are many complicated twists, but to say more would spoil the fun.

Many people might wonder what on earth led such an intelligent and attractive woman choose to become a nun, who then ends up becoming the Superior of her order? And what happens when, over time, her order dies out and she’s left, as it were, holding the fort?! Arthur meanwhile has his major construction group. Can they do a deal?!

The performers, Taylor Owynns and Joseph Taylor, play their parts well with both characters struggling with their faith.

As Arthur, the Queensland property developer, Taylor comes across at first as a rather slimy Ocker and more than a bit off-putting, and as Sister Thelma, Owyns, in her traditional nun’s garb and has a very still, quiet, warm yet powerfully charismatic presence.

Both performers get to deliver strong monologues. Warning – in this show, appearances are deceptive, are they really who they say they are?

This play was fun, a delightful rom-com, which was also moving and thought provoking and one that the audience greatly enjoyed .

Running time 90 mins no interval.

Melvyn Morrow’s ACT OF FAITH is playing the King Street Theatre, corner King and Bray streets, Newtown until the 4th August, 2017.

 

Cabaret In The Day : I’ll Follow My Secret Heart @ Mosman Arts Gallery

Featured photo- singer Christopher Hamilton.

The second of the 2017 Cabaret In The Day season was the wonderful I’LL FOLLOW MY SECRET HEART, with maestro Glenn Amer on piano and starring Christopher Hamilton

Hamilton has appeared in many musicals and plays in both professional and community theatre including The Pirates of Penzance, Paris, A Song to Sing O!,Vice, Man of La Mancha, The Hatpin, The Producers, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, The Venetian Twins and narrating Peter and the Wolf.

This show was a great nostalgia trip, with the performance looking at the career and songs of two of Britain’s greatest 20th Century songsmiths – the dashing Ivor Novello and the ultra sophisticated Noel Coward. Both composers remain the ‘gold standard’ of wit and romance, their works evergreen favourites.

The show opened stirringly with Novello’s 1914 patriotic Keep The Home Fires Burning . Amer then told us a bit about Novello’s life (he was described as ‘ the British Valentino ‘ , terribly handsome, who wrote seven musicals – yet apparently couldn’t sing!) .

Hamilton, dapper and very elegant in black and gold with cravat and tie pin, then launched into the liltingly romantic I Can Give You The Starlight from the 1939 musical The Dancing Years. Also from that musical we then heard the romantic infectious Waltz of My Heart . We then learnt that between the Wars Novello moved to Hollywood where he worked as a script doctor.

Amer then swept into the swirling passionate, longing, yearning title song from the 1935 Glamorous Night .

We then jumped to Novello’s comic songs and Hamilton then, through gritted teeth, performed the biting, witty And Her Mother Came Too.

Amer then talked further about Novello’s luxurious, flamboyant somewhat scandalous gay life and his links to and influences upon Coward. Amer then played Someday My Heart Will Awake from Novello’s King’s Rhapsody.

We then heard more about the rise and rise of Coward and how Novello’s work generally went out of fashion and he sadly passed away in 1951.

Amer and Hamilton performed one of Novello’s most famous songs We’ll Gather Lilacs from Perchance to Dream (1945).

Hamilton swiftly changed from his black to a white dinner jacket while Amer talked more about Coward and his various auto)biographies, letters, plays and aphorisms.

Another duet was enchantingly performed I’ll See You Again. We then heard the title song of this particular show I’ll Follow My Secret Heart, again as a duet , which lead to more discussion about how both Novello and Coward were gay with Coward being more discreet about it.

Hamilton then launched into Cowards’ Mad About The Boy.

Amer then talked about how Coward moved internationally (Bermuda, Jamaica , Switzerland) for tax reasons but always remained at heart an Englishman.

We then heard (with Big Ben chimes on the piano) the stirring, moving London Pride written during the 1941 Blitz. We then heard the jaunty , bouncy A Bar on the Piccolo Marina with its tongue twisting rhythms .This was followed by the delightful Dance Little Lady Dance with its emphatic rhythms . Amer then performed a powerful captivating solo Gypsy Melody on piano .

Next we jumped to the delicious witty Nina, with its infectious Latin rhythms and tongue twisting lyrics. We were then treated to a provoking, sarcastic and haughty Why Do the Wrong People Travel ? another duet for Amer and Hamilton.

Three classic Coward pieces followed: a breathless Mad Dogs and Englishmen, the witty I’ve Been to A Marvellous Party and the blistering, pleading, eventually furious Don’t Put Your Daughter On The Stage Mrs Worthington.

Amer gave a stellar performance of the rather strange Uncle Harry which was followed by a sad, reflective If Love Were All , which is regarded as autobiographical and is from Coward’s 1929 Bitter Sweet. The final song was a duet, a wistful, romantic version of The Dream is Over.

The audience vociferously cheered and applauded at the end leading to the encore of three Coward songs from his The Girl Who Came to SupperLondon, What Ho Mrs Briskett and the music hall like Saturday Night at the Rose and Crown.

We were then thanks by artistic director Melvyn Morrow and given a sneak peek of next week’s show Broadway Babies with the sizzling powerhouse Adele Johnston.

Running time 90 minutes without interval.

I’LL FOLLOW MY SECRET HEART,  part of the Cabaret in the Day concert series, took place at the Mosman Art Gallery on the 16th July.

DISCOVERING DOBELL : ART CRITIC CHRISTOPHER HEATHCOTE’S NEW PUBLICATION

A large coffee table book, beautifully presented and lavishly illustrated, this is an intriguing book for art lovers brought to us by the excellent Wakefield Press.

Christopher Heathcote is one of Australia’s foremost art critics, has published a number of books on Australian painters, and  is a regular contributor to the current affairs journal Quadrant.

Linked in with the current exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art we gain a fascinating insight into the life of Dobell. The book is in effect divided into four sections with a Forward by TarraWarra Museum of Art director, Victoria Lynn.

In her forward Lynn says that the exhibition and this book places Dobell in context, from his working class roots and ‘ between the two camps of the Academy of Arts and the more avante- garde Society of Artists ‘.

The book and exhibition also examine the links and friendships between Dobell and his contemporaries such as Russell Drysdale, Donald Friend, Margaret Preston, Justin O’Brien.

Dobell maintained close friendships with many of these artists and in the 1940s Dobell controversially became a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, an influential advocate for rising artists, again indicating how important he was to the mid-century Sydney art scene.

Heathcote,  in his curatorial essay, has written a tremendous examination of Dobell’s life and work. We see how Dobell was concerned with ordinary people, painting subjects ranging from ordinary men and women seen on the streets of Depression-struck London to Sydney’s Kings Cross.

Much mention is made of his 1943 Archibald prize win for his portrait of Joshua Smith and the huge controversy this created , and how it badly affected Dobell afterwards.

Heathcote also looks at Dobell’s work practices, how he developed ideas from sketches to paintings.

DISCOVERING DOBELL stresses Dobell’s trademark style – elongation and lashings of paint – and prominently features the artist’s controversial and recognisable portraits of Joshua Smith, Dame Mary Gilmore and Helena Rubinstein, together with other major themes of his extensive output, including paintings of grinning Ockers, ( Billy Boy ) struggling young mothers, ( Cockney Mother) cheeky street children at play( Cockney Kid With Hoop) and haughty women intent on keeping-up-appearances. (Mrs South Kensington).

Dobell became quite a society portrait painter at one point . We can see his very strong solid use of shape and form. Some striking landscapes are also included of London in the 1930’s. .There is also his portrait of The Cypriot – quite startling for its time – and his portrait of The Strapper.

The book’s overview is completed with analysis of Dobell’s experimental drawings and paintings from New Guinea, ( for  example Highland Natives and The Thatchers) as well as his little-known ventures into abstract form once he moved to Wangi Wangi, some paintings just completed with ball point pens.

This book reminds us of the major creative achievements of this great Australian painter and brings these achievements alive for the younger generation of art lovers.

Details
Category Arts, Architecture and Design
Format Jacketed hardback
Size 290 x 260 mm
ISBN 9781743054802
Extent 112 pages

Price: AU$49.95 including GST.