The Anarchy

‘The Relentless Rise of the East India Company’ (By William Dalrymple) (2019) “Don’t Be Evil.”  The motto of Google, Inc., which has become something of a cocktail-party joke. At least the British East India Company never pretended to run India for the Indians. There’s a risk in applying contemporary morality to historical figures and events. This is not to say History will be kind to, say, Mao, but a true fair history has to take a walk in the target’s shoes.  In this deep and worthy book, Mr Dalrymple tracks the serpentine path of the British East India Company, the…

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The Doctor

March 8, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | RELIGION, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide Festival Theatre (5 March 2020) (Written and Directed by Robert Icke; adapted from the play “Professor Bernhardi” by Arthur Schnitzler) This piece is a playground for ethicists, a sociologist’s paradise, and a nod to Lord Melbourne, who said of Macauley, “I wish that I was as sure of any one thing, as Tom Macaulay is sure of everything.”  Whilst a contemporary adaptation of a 1912 play, set in the antisemitic and ferociously Catholic Austrian Empire, takes hostages to anachronism, the dilemmas raised remain fresh and probably insoluble. Dr Ruth Wolff (Juliet Stevenson) is the founder and head of the…

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All things Must Pass

March 4, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE, Ulalume |

(2017: Holden manufacturing (with wages well above market level) in Australia ceases; 2020: The Holden car (its models no longer competitive at the list price) ceases for good.  Certain commentators suggest governments should have ‘done more‘) ‰ We’ve had much hand-wringing of late  And cries for intervention by the State, To return us to the good old times Of subsidies and other nursery-rhymes. ⊕ ”Invest” (in losers) interventionists cry, Raise the prices till no one can buy, The Holden car, well ‘she’s a bloody beauty’; When markets fail, we all have a duty. ⊗ (One absorbs the books by Marx,…

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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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