Saturday, 19 May 2012

Performing Arts

In response to popular demand (thanks Madeleinea), on this page we can share the shows we have seen: Ballet, Concerts, Opera, Theatre. It will be our Culture Corner :P

42 comments:

  1. I can start. I have been a ballet fan since I was an aspiring ballerina 6 - 12 years old. Although the price is prohibitive (and this is definitely a whinge topic), I try to see at least one production each year. This year it will be the Qld Ballet's production of Don Quixote at the end of this month. I'm really looking forward to it as I've only seen snippets, not the full ballet. I'll tell you all about it.

    I posted the following link on my journal page (back in Dec 2010 Wow!). I think you will like it, even if you are not a ballet fan. Prepare to be gobsmacked.

    http://www.nzwide.com/swanlake.htm

    Enjoy!

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    1. I saw Qld Ballet's production of Don Quixote last night. It was magical. Klaus' adaptation was set in the present, with dream sequences telling Cervantes' story. I don't usually like traditional ballet in a contemporary setting (my friends call me a purist) but this was extremely well done. Blair Wood in the lead (Quixote) was brilliant. It is a very demanding and difficult role. I suspect that he will be snapped up by the Australian Ballet. Dulcinea, though a minor role, was on her points for so long that my insteps and calves are still aching from 'helping'. Overall the dancing was very good, with flashes of excellence. The set was simple but very clever and the costumes? wonderful. The one jarring note was the choice of music (no pun intended :). The original music was not played throughout and Albioni's Adagio accompanied a comic scene. This music nearly brings me to tears and I wonder at the choice.

      Do you know the story of Albioni's Adagio? I don't mean the discovery of the score, although that is interesting too. During the siege of Sarejevo, a line of people in line waiting to buy bread was bombed and about 20 of them were killed. A noted cellist witnessed it from his window. He played Albioni's Adagio, in the bomb crater, each afternoon for as many days as there were people killed. Canadian author Steven Galloway wrote a novel based on this, to which the cellist took umbrage. It's well worth reading, though I'm not sure that his 'take' on the siege is correct. - 'The Cellist of Sarajevo.'

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  2. I enjoy all performing arts but opera and theatre in particular and good movies (mainly non-American) but living in Hobart makes it a bit difficult to see as much as I'd like although we have an absolutely brilliant arts cinema, so we fly over to Melbourne or Sydney now and again for concerts and opera. We recently saw a wonderful production of Turandot in Melbourne which was directed by the Tasmanian ballet dancer Graeme Murphy and it was both musically and visually splendid.

    We have a good little Rep company here and they are currently doing The Mousetrap which we're going to next Friday. I think it's also being done interstate by a professional company.

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  3. Hi everyone. Anyone seen 'Chorus Line'? I don't know whether to book a seat or not. Is it good?

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  4. I haven't seen it here but I saw it, of all places, in Sweden a long time ago and thoroughly enjoyed it even if the lyrics did sound odd!

    Website here with a clip.

    http://www.achorusline.com.au/

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  5. Sad to say I've never actually been to the opera - and at this point in time have such little understanding of this performance art that I would not know how to gauge either good or bad quality - so I have much to learn on the subject of opera.

    Likewise I'm equally ignorant of ballet - and although it (Ballet) always looks quite beautiful on TV - because that's about the only place I've seen it - I'm unsure if I'm even interpreting the story line correctly - so again need to be educated on this topic as well. Cheers.

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  6. Anyone seen 'Hairspray?' Is it worth booking?
    Chorusline doesn't arrive until Nov.

    Anyone else a Barry Humphries fan?Has anyone seen his latest (and Last?

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    1. This is a sort of combined Performing Arts and Bookchat comment. I really like Barry Humphries and although I've never seen any of his live performances I really like his writing style.

      Recently finished reading `Handling Edna - the unauthorised biography' which I really enjoyed and found his recall of Australian suburban minutia of the late 50s, 60s, and 70s quite hilarious. Also halfway through `My Life as Me' (autobiography) - not as funny but still includes those delicious and insightful (but often petty and ridiculous details) that I believe adds richness and humour to his writing style. Cheers.

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    2. Oh dear.... I went to book a seat at Barry Humphries last concert BUT tickets were $194 to $360 each. Guess who isn't going?

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  7. I've only seen the movie of Hairspray and it wasn't my cup of tea -too glitzy American for me but the tunes were catchy.

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  8. We went to see Abigail's Party in Leicester Square on Wedbesday night. Does anyone remember seeing the original Mike Leigh film with a very young Alison Steadman? The play was very well done and we came out feeling we had had great value for money....well acted, wonderful 70s set and thoroughly entertaining.

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    1. This play is new to me. I've not heard of the movie either. Google tells me it is a suburban comedy of manners. (ala Wilde?) Glad you enjoyed.....

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  9. How wonderful to be living in Melbourne and be able to see MTC's production of Queen Lear, with Robyn Nevin!

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  10. We had a few days in Melbourne and I went to see the Cape Town Opera Company at the newly refurbished Hamer Hall. They were marvellous and the acoustics at the Hall are the best I've heard. The CTOC sang well known arias in the first half and did a concert version of Porgy and Bess in the second half. The soloists were great and the 40-strong chorus was an absolute joy both to hear and see.

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  11. Yesterday was 'Shakespeare in the Park' at Sandgate, with lots to see and do: fencing exhibition, poetry readings and a performance of Henry V, which was extremely well done. Great weather, great ambience made it a thoroughly enjoyable day.

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  12. I had hoped to be able to tell you all about Opera Australia's production of Carmen. The production itself was Massive and I can tell you that the first two acts were Marvelous - Magical and Memorable. We were lucky enough to be invited to the pre-show talk on the history of Bizet and Carmen, which was very informative and most interesting. Unfortunately, on the way to the theatre I twisted my foot and it swelled so much that I needed to leave at interval. Now, I couldn't walk, nor put any weight on that foot so the only way I could get down the stairs was to slide down on my backside. Picture it. Opening night. Dressed to the nines. One shoe off and sliding down on my bum! My friends commented that going out with me is always 'interesting'. lol

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    1. Sorry to hear about your ankle and missing the rest of Carmen! Doubly painful!
      I too love Carmen, have seen a local production but would love to go to London one day and see it.
      Get well soon!

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    2. Thank you. Am hobbling better each day. I was disappointed as it was my first Carmen. I have quite recovered from the loss of dignity!

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  13. Oh, what bad luck. Twisted ankles are so painful. I love Carmen and thinking about going to Sydney next April for the Carmen on the harbour site. We are actually off to Sydney for five days on Friday for Lucia di Lammermoor and Salome. Decided to treat ourselves and have booked pre-performance dinner at the Bennalong restaurant - something I've always wanted to do. Working at Hansard has allowed all this so I'm very grateful.

    The AO now sends you an informative email about each performance you have booked for and the one for Salome was an eye-opener. I knew it was a modern interpretation with Cheryl Barker but not just how modern. The video clip includes pole dancing and a most remarkable Dance of the Seven Veils. And Lucia apparently uses a pint of fake blood every performance so it should all be a very interesting experience.

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    1. Salome will be wonderful! Amazing what the singers are now expected to do. The promo emails are great teasers. If you have the opportunity, do go to the pre-show talk. The one on Carmen was worthwhile.

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  14. A friend surprised me last Saturday acquiring tickets to the sold-out performance of La Corsaire by the Bolshoi Ballet. It was just magical - the costumes, the set, and the dancing was just..... almost unbelievable. I 'help' so my calves ached for days. Anyone else lucky enough to see it? Looking forward to seeing if Li Cunxin has imposed his techniques on the Qld Ballet later this year, too.

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  15. I'm not a huge ballet fan but I happened to see Le Corsair in Moscow at the Bolshoi years ago. I was living in England and did a week trip to Russia in the middle of winter. It was a magnificent performance so I can understand your enjoyment.

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    1. I feel the same way about opera. I enjoy it when I go but if given a choice, I'll always opt for ballet. Probably because once, long ago I aspired to be a ballerina. (You'd laugh if you could see me now :))

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  16. We are in London and last night saw Felicity Kendall in Relatively Speaking and today saw Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude at the Natiional Theatre. Weather not much better than Hobart but culture much superior!!

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  17. Baz Luhrmann's successful comedic, musical movie "Strictly Ballroom" has recently been adapted to the stage. Although the production does not officially open until later this week I attended a performance at the Lyric Theatre, Star Casino, in Sydney over the weekend. Baz was also in attendance and gave a short impromptu talk which added to our enjoyment.

    This production closely follows the 1992 movie with minimal changes to dialogue, and maximum audience participation which contributed to making this a fun night out.

    Do I think this production would work as well if you were unfamiliar with the movie ? No, not really. There is a sense of nostalgia that adds to the fun
    Do I think Baz could have invested more heavily in stage props and design?
    Set design is a joy to watch in itself and I cannot believe that there are any more sequins, feathers, sparkles, glitter and taffeta available in the country,

    And no, nothing beats Paul Mercurio sliding across the dance floor on his knees to dance the Paso Doble. No No Never !

    ( Does anyone else remember that scene ?)

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    1. We will be in Sydney from Friday to Tuesday and I tried to book last week but no tickets left!! Main reason for going is Opera on the Harbour on Sunday - Madama Butterfly this year - keeping fingers crossed for no rain which did put a bit of a dampener (!!) on Carmen last year.

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  18. We're off to the UK next week and have the first week in London. We've booked for Manon Lescaut at Covent Garden and a piano recital Wigmore Hall and while doing that I noticed that the big attraction at the moment is the dramatisation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies into two plays showing at the Aldwych. i tried to get tickets but with no luck online so we will try the half price booth in Leicester Square when we get there. it's only just started and runs till October.

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    1. Enjoy your trip Jaywalker. We are looking forward to hearing all about your adventures

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  19. PS We went to see The Invisible Woman at our local Arts cinema a couple of weeks ago - the story of Charles Dickens and his actress mistress, starring Ralph Fiennes. It was very good and he was quite convincing as Dickens.

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  20. Petticoat Rebel production, c/o u3A Cleveland, Queensland..

    Yaas
    Am totally used to commercial productions..or money making concerns, a la theatre restaurants in west aus...
    However
    Cast of thousands.. around 26 people on stage at once, down to two..momentarily...
    Interesting storyline, being the Eureka stockade story, and the womens story, or the Stockade from the womans perspective.
    Doubtless they will have all the sound issues sorted by the next performance in a few days time..
    The first half was ..hard to hear. ..I don't think that it wasa really spelt out to the cast that.they had to almost shout at the audience, and to them, not to each other, standing way too far away from the microphones..we do need to gather at least near one of the three that they had set up...
    Ssome thirty odd songs to sing in the first act..albeit a couple of verses each..and some surprisingly relevant songs there were too!
    What the sound reproduction lacked was made up by enthusiasm..they had a great time..we did have to wait momentarily for the right song to be found on one occasion..
    Was hard to be positive about it all, just have to remember that in the ..more senior years, things don't go as well as most of us would hope..and amateur performances lack the polish seen by people who do it for a living.
    Do remember a circus coming to town..(Tassie, in the 60s or 70s )after being thoroughly used to televised brilliant broadcasts of circus acts from overseas, and this..tiny company could never really compete with that now could they?..The whole town was there..took a bit to get them all going..one kid managed to sneak over and pull the clowns pants down..well, after all, he had done the same thing to the kid...really set the rest of the night up, that did. Reminds me of a certain poem..celebrated aussie poet..about a kid who ascended to the monkeys cage and let the monkeys go..
    One other interesting concept..two performances, week apart, and the tickets were good for either performance. Hadn't seen that before..the hall was huge..could easily have catered for double the number that fronted on the first afternoon.
    Number out of ten..aaah..tad difficult that one. 4 and a half?
    cheers
    postscript
    The second performance was brilliant..according to an audience member, usually overwhelmingly positive about..anything really, but she did say that there were issues with the sound..
    cheers again

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  21. Legally Blonde: the Musical. I'm going to admit this up front: I was once a hater. I'm sure as soon as I'd seen Rob Mills (Millsy from the first season of Australian Idol) advertised on the bill three years' ago I dismissed it. Thought it was a nothing and a blight on the reputation of musicals everywhere.

    Two years later I am here admitting I was wrong. I was roped into attending a local Canberra production of the Legally Blonde musical and (in a rare occurrence) I was wrong. The show was absolutely fantastic. It's genuinely laugh-out-loud funny and quite clever. I happened to see a particularly good production (assumingly) but if the script stays the same and the cast is only half as good, I would definitely recommend.

    The singing and dancing was fantastic and the jokes good - not something I was expecting (any humour I took from watching the movie was long gone after a 2,000 word Jurisprudence assignment at uni). While true to the original script, it had been updated to remain relevant to current Australian politics (i.e. Canberra bashing) and was particularly funny in a group
    of mid-twenties girls (I particularly recommend the song 'Gay or European'). And I'm happy to report that no law degree is required.

    If it's advertised near you, please be more open-minded than I was and book your tickets asap. It truly was a fantastic show!

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  22. Rolling Thunder
    Brisbane
    Vietnam war era music, plus the story of four mates in the army in Vietnam in the..sixties I guess.

    Great music. Stories well done..letters home and to sweethearts.

    Was only in the second half that everybody seemed to settle in and enjoy themselves.
    Standing ovation at the end, and its been a looong time since I have seen this.
    Audience seemed mostly from that era..although next to me was a couple who were more agile at navigating along the seats..lots of excuse mes, and a few people stood up to let them all pass..this couple were there in a flash..must have been generation y I hear you say...
    Cheers

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  23. Went to something a little more conventional last week - Cole Porter's Anything Goes - great songs and well performed. Next week "Oliver!" is here and going to see that too although saw it in London many years ago with Jonathan Pryce as Fagin.

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  24. I saw Anything Goes in the mid nineties in Sydney. It was one of those family obligatory outings and I was dreading it!. You are right Jaywalker : its great music and Col Porter was such an interesting man. I do have a Col Porter CD with the original musicians which I still listen to on occasion, and remember devouring a biography or two such was the interest created by the show. So I was excited when I saw a couple of weeks ago that tickets are on sale for the show in Brisbane - opening night being July 2015. Daaa Daaah. This makes me angry! I'll give them my hard earned three months in advance but not ten.Ridiculous !

    Hope you enjoy Oliver ! I am hoping to see Black Diggers this week, about aboriginal soldiers in WW1. None of the Usual Suspects are at all interested in accompanying me this time round.............

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  25. Last night I had the absolute joy of attending the “Spirit of Christmas” concert in a packed concert hall at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. It is one of my favourite Christmas activities. This concert is always excellent and every year I look forward to it.

    The very professional Queensland Symphony Orchestra provided wonderful musical accompaniment to more than 100 voices of the QPAC Choir and Brisbane Chorale. We enjoyed a great range of festive music, from the magnificent “Zadok the Priest” and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lovely “Pie Jesu”, to the traditional and much loved Christmas carols. The young people of Brisbane Birralee Voices give us promise of a generation of many more such concerts.

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  26. Last Thursday night, 22nd January, I went to the Lyric Theatre at QPAC to see "Lion King". It was a most spectacular performance - colourful, noisy, enlivening. The costumes, special effects, masks and makeup were expertly used to convey the audience to the veldt in Africa. Although I did not find the music memorable (in that there were no tunes one could remember or sing), it was entirely appropriate for the performance.

    Sitting behind us was a young couple who did not seem to have been to a performance in a theatre before, and a similar small group a few rows down from us. At the beginning of the performance and at the next time applause was appropriate, they called out and made the noises young people make at popular musical events. No-one said anything to them. The rest of the audience just clapped enthusiastically. After this, the young people seemed to become aware that clapping was the expected form of applause and they followed suit. It was good to see.

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  27. I'm really pleased to hear they cottoned on from example. It's not often the case. We are regular concert and theatre attendees and the whistling and woo-hooing really annoys me. OK for pop concerts and such I suppose but on the music cruise we were on last year people were doing it to the classical pianist and the opera singers and it just sounds so childish and inappropriate. It might show my age but I hate it.

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    1. I think it shows that they have never been taught how to behave at a quality live performance.

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  28. Attended the annual fundraiser for the local community Museum over the weekend : a dinner/ theatre presentation of the Shearers Strike of 1891 ,"Reedy Creek". Unfortunately, in true summer, Brisbane style,the play had to be moved indoors due to inclement weather, instead of being played out amongst the towering gums. To be honest I had no previous knowledge of this period in Australian history so I found it particularly interesting, especially the feature song The Ballad of 1891, from the poem written by Helen Palmer. I will have to do some more research ! My table of 7 are all keen for the next presentation.

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  29. Leo Sayer. Treader on the world stage
    now living in Australia..albeit an expensive part of it..
    Graced the Redlands with his presence a week or two ago now
    Delightful. Still a powerful voice - soared to the top notes with ease
    Brilliant
    audience was encouraged to get up and dance..trouble was, there isn't a lot of room for That Sort of Thing...
    so we had a heap of giggling gerties having a great time at left of stage..not in anyones' way..they wanted to sing the rest of the Life of Brian theme song..after Leo..unfortunately for him..had likened one of his latest songs to..the Life of Brian..etc! I think it was the rhythm that was the same..anyhow..
    Him singing it would have gone over well, but sadly wasn't to be..the GG lot got half way through it, though..we would have all enjoyed it, singing along, as we/all us Baby Boomers were to all his songs..well, the known ones at least!
    Then, the couple directly in front of us stood up..sigh..an elderly couple of..Baby Boomers also stood up to our right..all to bop along. and a few others here and there.
    One of the couple in front of us, who were successfully blocking our view..um..er..had..ah..a presentable jiggling feature..heh.., but apart from that, they were a pain!

    Loved the keyboard player..especially the piano..was great..piano features in a lot of Leos work hey. The bass player seemed to present a problem..Leo made a fuss of all the others..but found it hard when it came to him! Chortle!
    Great night, thoroughly recommend the lad to future concert goers.

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  30. I've seen dinner and show packages advertised for years but there was something about them that made me conjure up images of old theatre snobs who won't sit in the stands with the rest of us. Or of murky old restaurants, dark and dusty, where the has-beens and never-wases cut their teeth on equally dreary plays while the few watching on plough through casks of wine.

    I've never been more wrong. I attended Dramatic Productions' The Last Five Years at Teatro Vivaldi last week and cannot stop raving about the show and the venue. I now sorely regret my misconceived idea of dinner theatre and rue the amazing shows I must have missed because of it. My night was amazing. I don't know how we did it but we managed to get the best table in the house - just metres from the very functional stage set up in the restaurant with a perfect, unobstructed view.

    The food was great. Four options were available for each of the entrée, main and dessert so even your paleo, gluten-free friends will be satisfied. And Teatro Vivaldi, a hidden gem in the heart of the Australian National University campus, brought the food and drink out with precision. The staff there clearly have their own production down pat.

    As for the show? Incredible. The Last Five Years was an off-Broadway hit 10 years ago and follows the relationship of up and coming writer Jamie and struggling actress Cathy. The twist? He tells his story from first meeting Cathy, she tells the story in reverse. When he's describing meeting the girl of his dreams, we meet Cathy holding the wedding band he's left on the nightstand. In fact the two are only seen in the same time period once when he's down on one knee popping the question. Then the curtains close on Act 1, the lights come on, dessert appears magically on your plate and you're turning to the table next to you to ask whether they're Team Jamie or Team Cathy.

    I can't give away too much more of the plot and I think I've said enough. The songs are good, there are a few laughs and it really does get you talking. I remain in the Team Cathy camp but I tell you what, part of me thinks any bloke would have his work cut out for him putting up with her. What's ultimately the most impressive is the cast. It's just the two of them, all night. And they don't have a lot to work with: it's a tiny stage, no set changes and 60 people watching on from just metres away. There's absolutely nothing to hide behind and the two I saw really did hold their own.

    Two things to finish. Firstly, watch out for a production coming near you. If it doesn't, you won't have to wait long. I understand a Hollywood version starring Anna Kendrick (of Pitch Perfect fame) will hit cinemas shortly though release dates are unclear. Secondly, if you are a Canberran, I urge you to check out the rest of the shows scheduled for Teatro Vivaldi's this year. Dinner followed by a walk next door to ANU's main theatre for The King and I. An 18-piece jazz band in the restaurant. Rhonda Burchmore in a dinner and cabaret. All that plus more is happening over the next few months so be sure to check out Vivaldi's webpage and get tickets.

    I don't need to do that. I bought the season pass last week.





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    1. This is my kind of thing. Would have loved it !

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