Tag Archives: David Hidden

PINCHGUT OPERA : THE LOVES OF APOLLO AND DAFNE

Celebrating twenty years of performances, Pinchgut Opera brings us another superb production directed by Mitchell Butel , gloriously sung and with a lush, exquisite performance by the Orchestra of the Antipodes led by Erin Helyard on chamber organ and harpsichord. The Orchestra was streamlined with Baroque harp intrepidly performed by Hannah Lane, Laura Vaughan on viola da gamba and lirone, and Simon Martyn-Ellis on theorbo. 

This production was filmed at the City Recital Hall in May 2021.

THE LOVES OF APOLLO AND DAFNE, his second opera, was written in 1640 by Francesco Cavalli with lyrics by Giovanni Francesco Busenello .Cavalli moved to Venice, Italy, when a schoolboy and was a pupil of Montiverdi .During the 17th century Cavalli was regarded as a major opera composer who wrote over 30 works,  but his music fell into obscurity in the 18th and 19th centuries until roughly the 1950’s.

This is the third Cavalli opera Pinchgut have presented (after Ormindo in 2009, and then Giasone in 2013). It is still rare to see performances of Cavalli’s operas today.

Under Butel’s direction this performance is presented as set right now, bright, colourful and energetic, with mobile phones, computers etc and giving the work a fascinating completely new ‘ twist’ and appearance making it very relevant to today. The designs by Jeremy Allen (set and costumes) and lighting by Damien Cooper are splendid. There are many doublings (even quadrupling) of roles by most of the cast in this fresh, vivid performance.  Continue reading PINCHGUT OPERA : THE LOVES OF APOLLO AND DAFNE

STATE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR DAME LEONIE KRAMER @ SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

Professor Marie Bashir delivering her moving tribute.
Professor Marie Bashir delivering her moving tribute.

Dame Leonie Kramer was a trailblazer for women in the world of academia and commerce. She was the first female Professor to be appointed the Chair of Literature at Sydney University, she was the first female Chancellor in Australia, and she was the first female Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

A State Memorial celebrating her life was held at the Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium Of Music on Monday 27 June 2016.

Dame Leonie Kramer 1/10/1924-20/4/2016
Dame Leonie Kramer 1/10/1924-20/4/2016

Amongst the attendees were the New South Wales Governor, retired General David Hurley, former Prime Minister John  Howard accompanied by his wife Janette, Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and current Chair of the ABC, Mr Jim Spiegelman.

Former Prime Minister John Howard greets Sister Jocelyn Kramer with his wife Janette Howard in the background.
Former Prime Minister John Howard greets Sister Jocelyn Kramer with his wife Janette Howard in the background.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop chats with current ABC Chairman Jim Spigelman
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop chats with current ABC Chairman Jim Spigelman
Governor David Hurley chats with his aide.
Governor David Hurley chats with his aide.

IMGL10001 (69)

In addition to moving reminiscences from her children and grandchildren, an especially moving tribute was delivered by former Governor and current Chancellor of Sydney University, Professor Marie Bashir.

John Gaden
One of the greats of Australian theatre John Gaden AM.

Highlights of the Service included readings from Cymbeline, The Tempest, and Credo recited by John Gaden, and a performance from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Gondoliers There Lived A King performed by David Hidden, Justice Peter Hidden and Judge Robert Cameron, accompanied by Sophie Spargo.

David & Justice Peter Hidden, Judge David Cameron with Sophie Spargo on piano.
David & Justice Peter Hidden, Judge David Cameron with Sophie Spargo on piano.

Dame Leone Kramer was innovative in that she was one of the first lecturers to invite Australian authors such as Les Murray and James McAuley to attend her lecturers and talk to the students, which excited them greatly.

When China began to open up to the world, amongst the first students to study overseas were nine Chinese students who were supervised by Dame Leone in the study of Australian literature. As a result there are a number of English faculties studying Australian literature throughout China. A tribute from The Gang Of Nine, as they were known, was read by Mr Yu Zhang.

Mr Yu Zhang delivers his poignant tribute representing ‘The Gang of Nine’.

 

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra presents Carmina Burana @ The Concourse, Chatswood

Soprano soloist Joelene Griffith’s solos were exquisite and floated with a pure tone

With House Full signs up at the front and the box office turning hundreds of people away hoping to book for this concert I would strongly suggest you book now for the rest of the season and next year’s wonderful programme by the Willoughby Symphony.

This concert started with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra under  the emphatic, enthusiastic direction of Dr Nicholas Milton performing a sizzling version of Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite.

This is the first ballet that Diaghilev commissioned from Stravinsky, based on a Russian fairytale, with choreography by Fokine, featuring the legendary Tamara Karsavina in the title role. This ballet was followed by Petrushka and Rite of Spring.

We heard the 1919 orchestral suite which was given a dazzling performance, with a large, rich, pulsating sound. The string section was huge and there was an Assyrian style designed beautiful harp. Continue reading Willoughby Symphony Orchestra presents Carmina Burana @ The Concourse, Chatswood

SWEENEY TODD- THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

Uma Dobic (Johanna) and Simon Halligan(Anthony). Pic Brad Roddy
Uma Dobic (Johanna) and Simon Halligan (Anthony). Pic Brad Roddy

British actor and playwright George Dibdin-Pitt (1799-18550) charts the story of Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, who returns to London after 15 years’ transportation on trumped-up charges. When he finds out that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by the judge who transported him, he vows revenge on the judge and, later, the whole world. He teams up with a local piemaker, Mrs. Lovett, opens up a barber shop above her pie shop, and together they reap  a terrible and horrible carnage.

Dibdin-Pitt’s story was taken up by writer Hugh Wheeler who adapted it for the stage, Stephen Sondheim added the music and lyrics and the musical SWEENEY TODD- THE DEMON BUTCHER OF FLEET STREET was born. The premiere production opened on Broadway in March 1979 starring Angela Lansbury and took out a whole swag of Tony awards.  The play has gone on to become one of the big musicals, performed by many different theatre companies across the globe.

The Blue Mountains Musical Society’s current revival, helmed by Jessica Lovelace, is a bold, colourful,  in your face interpretation. First thing that stands out is the large bare stage, there is no set to speak of.  Long benches either side sees the chorus, the ensemble watch and comment as the main action takes place.

With the appearance of ipads and the like early on in the show, we know that Dibdin-Pitt’s story has time traveled and is set in the present day. Fair call, the theme of the disastrous results of bloody revenge are as relevant, as ever, today.

Dance features prominently. Whether it be in the decadent cavorting of the ensemble or the delicate modern dance/ballet of the doomed lovers.

David Hidden as Sweeney and Clare McCallum as Mrs Lovett impress in the leading roles with strong performances. There’s good chemistry between Simon Halligan as Anthony and Uma Dobia as Johanna. Anthony Zarb  convinced as a nasty piece of work as Judge Turpin. Rebekkah Roma and Brett Hartnett did some lovely work as the lead dancers.

Recommended, the Blue Mountains Musical Society’s revival of SWEENEY TODD- THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET opened at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, 597 High Street, Penrith (five minutes from Penrith railway station) on Friday May 24 and runs until Saturday June 1, 2013. The remaining performances are this coming Wednesday and Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 2pm and 8pm.