Requiem

Adelaide Festival Theatre, Friday 28 February 2020 (Directed and designed by Romeo Castellucci) Mozart thought he was being poisoned by instalments, so that his death would adjoin completion of the Requiem in D minor (K.626). In other words, he was commissioned by the Next World to write his own funerary music. He was obviously paranoid by then, but the ‘anonymous’ commissioning of the work (by an agent of Count Walsegg, who knocked on Wolfgang’s door), and his own serious illnesses, may have informed the beauty and brilliance of the piece: a hotchpotch to be sure, and an incomplete one, but…

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Sturm und Drang vs Screaming Jets

March 1, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, WAGNER |

Richard Wagner Society of South Australia, Wake for Wagner, 23 February 2020 A slightly delayed soiree was held for the Master’s Death in Venice (13 February 1883) where we were entertained by helden-baritone Ian Vayne, veteran of many operas here and overseas (his repertoire is set out below).  He spoke of previous productions (including the unnerving experience of German directorial flourishes which forced him at one stage to wear alarmingly raised boots as the Dutchman, high as stilts but far less steady) and how the local ones only got off the ground due to determined and smart folks like Bill…

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The Lost Weekend

February 21, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Billy Wilder) (1945) An early Wilder classic; one of the first great Drunk Films, and one that has hardly dated in its universal relevance. A middle-aged drunk can recover an awful lot of esteem by calling himself “a writer” (as this reviewer knows). In The Lost Weekend, Don Birman (Ray Milland) is a ‘drunk-called-writer’, who gives his brother Wick (Philip Terry) and his girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman) the slip, so he can carve-out a few days to write that novel about his battle with the bottle.  But since Don always struggles with paperwork, he decides to just hit…

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Salvador Dali – In Search of Immortality

February 18, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Documentary, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by David Pujol) (2018) Mercury Cinema, Adelaide, 17 February 2020 As Dalí maintained, he was surrealism.  It was probably his only constant in life.  He was born 11 May 1904 in the Catalonian town of Figueres, named (‘reincarnated’) after a brother who had died a year before, aged two, doted on by his mother (who died when he was 16: “the greatest blow I had experienced in my life. I worshipped her… I could not resign myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul.”)  His father was…

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The Miracle of Beethoven

February 16, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC |

Painting by Josef Danhauser (1840) of Liszt playing to an audience of Dumas, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Paganini, Rossini and Marie d'Agoult. They are almost all regarding the bust of Beethoven beyond the piano

(December 1770 to 26 March 1827) There are 4 true giants of the classical canon, in whose shadow all remain. Bach, the master of complex form, is miraculous (though sometimes mercilessly boring). Mozart followed the rules (except, according to some, when he put in “too many notes”) but his dazzling musical talent, emotional intensity, daring and deep humanity brought classical music to the wider world.  Wagner conceived of a new world of musical drama, and so created a new book of rules. But before the new rules, the old ones had to be broken. And work done that gloried in…

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