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 GALLERY : NADA HERMAN’S ‘FLOWERS AND VISTAS’

The current solo exhibition at the Mosman branch of Traffic Jam Galleries is work by Nada Herman entitled FLOWERS AND VISTAS .

Herman is based in Avalon and comes from the famous Herman artistic family. This exhibition is bright, bold ,joyous and colourful, with many thickly applied layers of paint on the various canvases.

Herman vividly captures various views of Sydney and its foreshores. One such view is from Balmoral to Neutral Bay. .The Neutral Bay painting uses the various buildings on the right hand side of the canvas to take our eye back to the Harbour Bridge.

There are large canvases focusing on Sydney Harbour with the Bridge and Opera House prominently featured as a background for sailing boats.

There are also hot summer reflections of life at the beach , crowded with sand beach towels and umbrellas .(eg A Day at the Beach) .This is contrasted with some works showing the bubble and flow of the sea in various moods ( eg Palm Beach , Sea Spray)

Flowers feature in many of the works – there are some wonderful vibrant still lives of flowers in vases ( eg Agapanthus , Lilllies and Lemons and Daisy Bouquet – in the later, note the fallen flowers outside the vase on the table ) but also flowers are used as a major part of the composition in some canvases dominating the foreground ( eg Beach Floral). Red hot pokers explode in the foreground in Red Hot Pokers Lillies and Agapanthus and the lilies complement them .The pokers also monopolise Red Hot Pokers Over Palm Beach .

Wonderful paintings of waterlilies with orange koi also are also included ( look for the upside down koi – is it a reflection? ) .

A vibrant energetic exhibition celebrating our harbour and flora.

FLOWERS AND VISTAS by Nada Hermann runs at the Mosman Traffic Jam Galleries until 29 May 2019

https://www.trafficjamgalleries.com/nada-herman

Featured image- Sea Spray by Nada Herman.

 

 

GAUGIN IN TAHITI : PARADISE LOST

 

Vibrant , bold and colourful , lushly filmed , this is a terrific , fascinating biographical look at the illustrious post-Impressionist artist Paul Gaugin ( 1848 -1903) .

It is directed by Edouard Deluc, from a script he wrote with Etienne Comar, Thomas Lilti and Sarah Kaminsky, based on Gauguin’s travel diary “Noa Noa” (Tahitian for “fragrance”) . Starring Vincent Cassel as Gaugin ,It has a score by Warren Ellis and cinematography by Pierre Cottereau. We learn a lot about Gaugin’s life but the film concentrates on the years — 1891 to 1893 -when Gauguin fled the artistic and financial struggles of his difficult Paris life for French Polynesian archipelago.

The film jumps around the world to various important museums , Gaugin’s studio in Paris and also treasured caches on the islands Gaugin visited and the houses he built on the islands . So we see various installations of his works in Paris, Bretagne, Edinburgh, and to the most prestigious art museums of the United States, where most of his masterpieces are preserved: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; The National Gallery of Art in Washington; and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Curators , art historians and other experts talk about Gaugin’s rather turbulent at times life.

There are fabulous views of the islands of Tahiti and the surrounding area and the glorious, luxurious environment today. There is also fascinating black and white footage and or photographs of Paris and elsewhere where Gaugin lived from the period (eg his house Maison du Jour) . Continue reading GAUGIN IN TAHITI : PARADISE LOST

AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA :  ENGLISH BAROQUE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

This is the latest joyous, astonishing collaboration, their third,  between the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa that had the audience in raptures. Don’t miss it. The audience did not want to breathe or blink in case they missed something.

It is an inspired pastiche by Paul Dyer and Yaron Lifschitz, with music from 16th and 17th-century England and featuring the beautiful voices of sopranos Jane Sheldon and Lauren Stephenson.

The set design by Yaron LifschitzLibby McDonnell and Richard Clarke is inspired by the idea of a clipped formal garden at a stately 17th-century mansion : a green covered area represents the manicured lawn .The middle area has tumbling mats , there is a large blank screen at the back used for projections and a huge hoop. Various sized white plinths (which also become props) are included and the Circa cast are carried on as statues hidden under drapes. Peter Rubie’s lighting design is dramatic and atmospheric.

It is perhaps, sort of like A Midsummer Night’s Dream – our Titania being Jane Sheldon who magically brings the statues ‘alive’. Sheldon appears in a striking red and black gown that includes a floral design. The Circa cast are costumed in silvery grey costumes that ripple in the light. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA :  ENGLISH BAROQUE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

AUSTRALIAN BALLET PRESENTS GISELLE @ THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

The Australian Ballet is in glorious form with this revival of GISELLE. It is the much loved Maina Gielgud version, replacing the much anticipated The Happy Prince that has had to be postponed because of Graeme Murphy’s illness.

GISELLE originally premiered in 1841 and is considered one of the great Romantic ballets , telling the story of madness , deceit and betrayal , vengeful spirits and a love that conquers death.

In this beautifully designed version Peter Farmer’s set and costume designs are mostly in russet colours for Act 1 and then an eerie forest glade for Act 2.

The Orchestra under the inspired baton of Simon Thew was in splendid, luxurious form too playing Adam’s haunting score magnificently.

The large corps de ballet was in excellent form , the crisscrossing, interlinking patterns of the various village dances in Act 1 crisply, precisely performed .The peasant pas de deux ( Aya Watanabe and François-Eloi Lavignac) was a great show stopping interlude. In Act 2 the Willis were menacing and dangerous. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BALLET PRESENTS GISELLE @ THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

YULI : THE STORY OF A REMARKABLE DANCER

This film is part of the Moro Spanish Film Festival. Ballet lovers will love this extraordinarily revealing and intimate film based on the life of Cuban premier danseur Carlos Acosta, the first black dancer to perform some of the most famous ballet roles.( eg in Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet , Albrecht in Giselle and Siegfried in Swan Lake for the Royal Ballet) . English National Ballet,  Houston Ballet , American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Cuba .In June 2008 he guested with the Australian Ballet . He was a permanent member of The Royal Ballet between 1998 and 2015 and celebrated his farewell after 17 years at The Royal Ballet, dancing his last performance in November 2015 in Carmen which he both choreographed and starred in. In January 2020 he will succeed David Bintley as artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet . The film also features Acosta’s Cuban dance company, Acosta Danza .

Acosta is also an author – the film is based on his autobiography, A Long Way From Home – a Cuban Dancer’s Story . as well as fiction, and Acosta has also produced a dance work loosely based on his life , Tocororo . YULI is a blend of biographical drama , use of historical footage of Acosta performing ,and a contemporary dance piece
The film jumps back and forth between ‘now’ , Acosta overseeing classes and rehearsals and flashbacks inspired by the memories that the scrapbooks his father kept conjure up . Continue reading YULI : THE STORY OF A REMARKABLE DANCER

TINTORETTO : A REBEL IN VENICE

 

Part of the Art on screen series , the latest film TINTORETTO A REBEL IN VENICE celebrates the 500th anniversary of his birth and examines the life and times of one of the great Mannerist painters : Jacopo Robusti, known as TINTORETTO, (1518/9–94) from the early years of his artistic career until his death in 1594 in the city that inspired and challenged him. He took the nickname ‘Tintoretto’, ‘little cloth dyer’, after his father’s trade. David Bowie was a huge fan and described Tintoretto as “a proto Rockstar “ . Jean-Paul Satre called him “the first film director in history” because of his use of light and composition drawing the viewer in and the way he ‘froze the moment’ in his paintings. The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter and also features the film director Peter Greenaway.

There are lots of wonderful shots of Venice today and the film highlights Venice’s vulnerability but sometimes the images are dizzyingly fast .Tintoretto was born , bred and worked in Venice and loved it , rarely leaving the city- he is regarded as one of the true masters of Venice. His work is at times somewhat overwhelming but this is contrasted by other works that are full of delicate, filigree detail. Continue reading TINTORETTO : A REBEL IN VENICE

NT LIVE : THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD 11

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown ..

This is not your ‘standard’ version of Shakespeare’s THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD 11, nor think for instance of the landmark versions starring Derek Jacobi, Fiona Shaw or David Tennant. Directed by Joe Hill- Gibbons , it is part of the NT Live series and was filmed at the Almedia Theatre in London earlier this year. Rather it is a sparse cold, dark, bleak, blustery version that has been abridged and has ‘only’ a cast of eight most of whom except Simon Russell Beale in the eponymous role play multiple characters .Beale gives a magnificently powerful performance in the title role but the production is somewhat unsatisfying and almost all of the poetry is lost. There is a lot of shouting the lines and sometimes they are spoken almost too quickly, lessening the impact.

The cast, who are onstage the whole time , are trapped in a cold, silver room with no doors or windows and a frosted glass ceiling (as designed by ULTZ).  Rivets in the walls echo their process of construction and can provide a star like effect. There are no chairs or tables, just several buckets (labelled Water, Soil, Blood etc ) against the back wall that are used at particular points in the performance to dramatic affect. The cast wear contemporary casual grey or black clothes and at first large gardening gloves. At times the excellent ensemble work together like a pulsating, whirling mass and become like a Greek chorus. As they are on stage the whole time there is no let up and sometimes it feels as if they are stalking Richard. Some of the scenes have an intense build up of energy, with characters shooting off the walls at times – for example the repeated explosive challenges where hurled gauntlets (here what look to be gardening gloves) are thrown and collect in a pile, or where King Richard confronts Bolingbroke like a boxing match. Continue reading NT LIVE : THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD 11

PARIS OPERA BALLET : SWAN LAKE

Swan Lake is one of the most loved and iconic ballets .As part of the Palace Opera and Ballet season, this is a very strong revival of the 1984 version by Rudolf Nureyev .

Nureyev uses as a basis the ‘traditional ‘ Petipa/Ivanov choreography ( especially for the ‘White’ Acts 2 and 4) to a degree, but with a twist and extra flourishes and additions of choreography . It is spectacularly staged with dark russet colours and gold for the court scenes of Acts 1 and 3. The ‘lake ‘ is simply staged with a low ramp of steps and a very atmospheric use of projections. Costumes (Ezio Frigerio who also designed the sets) are lavish, opulent and exquisitely detailed.

This version is quite dark and can be read as Freudian, especially in the relationships between Siegfried, his Mother and the tutor Wolfgang/Von Rothbart . Everything apparently is in Siegfried’s mind ( the ballet opens with him asleep in a chair – is everything a dream ?) .In Act 1 in particular Nureyev has added a lots of extra fiddly, fancy, almost Ashton like footwork for the dancers . Throughout the work there is more emphasis on the male dancing with the male roles expanded (especially for Siegfried and Von Rothbart, but also in Act1 for example with the huge corps de ballet of male dancers having their set piece ensemble with the polonaise). The mime for Odette telling Siegfried of her story and warning him of the spell is retained from a previous Royal Ballet version.

The national dances in Act 3 are performed almost right at the start of the Act – in this version they are welcome expected guests and not Von Rothbart’s uninvited ‘creatures’.

The six princesses Siegfried is required to choose from are (as is common in quite a few versions) in very similar dresses in shades of dusty pink and carry rather distracting gold fans shaped like mirrors.

The ‘Black Swan’ pas de deux in Act 3 here is far more a pas de trois for Siegfried, Odile and Von Rothbart with Von Rothbart manipulating – one could say perhaps say hypnotising – Siegfried and almost blatantly controlling him.

Rather than the ‘traditional’ ending, here it is far darker, with Siegfried collapsing (dying?), Odette transforming into a swan and being trapped in the spell forever and Von Rothbart, having transformed back into his bat/birdlike form, triumphant.

Only major companies like the Paris Opera can field such a HUGE cast – over 30 swans! and a corresponding number of male corps de ballet. Sometimes – eg for the large court ensembles in Act 1 and the swans – emphasis is made of the lines and criss-crossing blocks of patterns of the choreography (sometimes shot from a high aerial view so we can see them). The swans in the white acts breathe and pulsate as one.

As Odette/Odile Léonore Baulac was excellent displaying superb dancing. As Odette the Swan Queen she is all delicate birdlike and fluttery at first, regal yet softly lyrical and protective of her entourage, most unwilling to trust Siegfried at the start but comes to place her whole world in his trust. As Odile in Act 3 she is smiling, seductive and charming, sparkling and spinning, at times crisply mocking Odette.

As Siegfried handsome Germain Louvet was terrific, in fine form. Siegfried is presented as young , impetuous and romantic.  Technically his dancing is glorious -marvellous epaulement and flowing princely ‘lines’. He is shattered when he realises he has unwittingly betrayed Odette. Their partnership as Odette and Siegfried was delightful .

Francois Alu as Wolfgang the tutor/Von Rothbart gives a great performance. As Wolfgang he is slimily charming. What is interesting is that in Act 3 as von Rothbart he does not wear a mask or anything so that his alter ego is concealed (yet he wears a cap in Act 4 when far more bat/birdlike ).As Von Rothbart (in black , sometimes with , sometimes without , a large black fluttering trailing billowing cape) he is sinister, smiling and manipulative .In Act 3 Nureyev has added a flashy dashing showy solo for him .

Musically the Orchestre de l’Opera national de Paris under the baton of maestro Valery Ovsyanikov was glorious, giving a magnificent reading of the lush, dramatic and romantic Tchaikovsky score.

The ballet was captured live from the Opéra Bastille, Paris, 21 Feb 2019. A very  exciting, thought provoking version wonderfully danced.

Running time 3 hours including one interval .

The Paris Opera Ballet in Nureyev’s Swan Lake screened at selected cinemas between the 12th to the 17th April 2019.

https://palaceoperaandballet.com.au/production/swan-lake

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AISTRALIAN BALLET : VERVE @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

A superb triple bill , first performed in Melbourne last year , that showcases the Australian Ballet at its best . The company’s three resident choreographers each present a striking work. All three have been or still are dancers with the company .

First we saw Stephen Bayne’s CONSTANT VARIANTS (2007) using Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. The polished, transparent score is integral to the work and features a ravishing cello solo by Caleb Wong .

Four couples are paired on stage before splitting and reforming in various combinations. All wear dark high cut leotards , the men in sheer dark tops the women in velvety burgundy bodices. Michael Pearce’s set design features oversized segments of picture frames as if at an art gallery, above a rather shadowy lit stage with lighting as devised by Jon Buswell.           Continue reading AISTRALIAN BALLET : VERVE @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

FEATURED ARTISTS HUGH MCLACHLAN AND REBECCA PIERCE @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES, MOSMAN

 

Narcissus Emerging Study 1,2 and 3

The latest exhibition at the Mosman branch of Traffic Jam Galleries is luminous.

Hugh McLachlan’s sculptures are of shiny, highly polished steel , perhaps somewhat Surrealist , and rather dreamlike .Quite romantic. Simple flowing lines are used, there are eyeholes in the sculptures and lots of symbolic hearts. It is as if they are curved and growing.
McLachlan’s  NARCISSUS KISS BUBBLE series further explores the Narcissus myth – a search for love that is playfully romantic , or is it about being trapped in self absorption from which one can’t escape?

Some of the sculptures are free standing (eg Narcissus Reflecting 1,2, 3 and Kiss Me ). Narcissus Emerging, however, is a group of three on a plinth that could in fact be thought to look like playful whales. Continue reading FEATURED ARTISTS HUGH MCLACHLAN AND REBECCA PIERCE @ TRAFFIC JAM GALLERIES, MOSMAN

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA :- ETERNITY @ THE CONCOURSE

A very exciting concert the latest in the Willoughby Symphony season is ETERNITY , led by guest conductor Michelle Leonard OAM .
The first half of the program was Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor Op 104 with a stellar performance by Bennett Tsai . Leonard conducted dynamically and with great panache and there was finely nuanced balance and excellent rapport between her the Orchestra and Tsai . Tsai gives an amazing , intense, virtuoso performance haunted and at times either fiery or lyrical, passionate and anguished . From the stirring Orchestral opening with its dynamic rhythms we are captivated.

The first richly atmospheric movement is for Orchestra alone with a splendid horn solo. In the second movement after dialogue between Orchestra and Tsai , Tsai shines in the wistful solos and eventually the aching ,flowing melodies gently ebb towards the conclusion . The third movement opened with an insistent marching rhythm , there were lyrical sections contrasted with whirling sections . At one point Tsai is frantic on his cello but this changes to soft and lyrical as if he is searching for something which leads to the crashing tumultuous finale. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA :- ETERNITY @ THE CONCOURSE