A Midsummer Night’s Dream

March 4, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Opera by Benjamin Britten) (Directed by Neil Armfield) (Adelaide, 2 March 2021) “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” That’s what the impresario said about staging The Dream, one of Shakespeare’s wisest, wittiest and most surreal plays, full of beautiful poetry, but a nightmare to stage, invariably a disaster. Britten saw that it would make for better fare as a short opera, although the singing parts are eccentric (and the overall effect, flipping the switch to matinee vaudeville, appeasingly cartoon-like – Quoth Auden: “Dreadful! Pure Kensington”). So, here, is the set, but it is entirely apt for this production, a dappled…

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Beethoven – Hits

February 25, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Capri Theatre, Adelaide, 23 February 2021) Beethoven was a real grind: loads of chamber pieces, choral works, incidental music and variations, songs, 17 sets for string quartets. At the Capri Cinema on Tuesday night TVC enjoyed 7 short pieces by a young but accomplished string quartet* (2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello) of his works, in a theatre lit only by numerous candles (see main image).  The event is part of a series of such offerings around the country, and well worth attending, as they are accessible, enjoyable, and inexpensive. ‘Beethoven’s Best Works performed by a String Quartet’ included: Quartet…

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Zappa

February 21, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Documentary, FILM, Modern Music, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Alex Winter) (2020) Frank Zappa (21/12/1940 – 4/12/1993) was a one man show created for an audience of one: himself. Obsessively writing, arranging and producing realms of material, he’d allow others to perform with him, though they were never quite good enough, and he’d suffer people to buy his records or attend his concerts, although they weren’t really hip enough to understand the work. It was either his way or go elsewhere. And his unorthodox, multi-faceted output is always interesting, even if, for example, a double album like 200 Motels turns out to be a bizarre waste of time….

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Wagner in Russia

February 19, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, WAGNER |

13 February 2021: The Wake for Wagner The Richard Wagner Society of South Australia hosted Konstantin Shamray, an expert pianist and musicologist, for a stimulating and enjoyable lecture on Russian Wagnerism (see main image, Konstantin in conversation with Society President Geoffrey Seidel).  Wagner gave six concerts in St Petersburg in 1863, conducting excerpts from Der fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Die Walküre and Siegfried. His ‘rock star’ presence ensured a wild commercial success, but as Mr. Shamray explained, critical reaction was mixed, particularly among the Russian composers, whose initial adulation morphed into a local set against “disgusting chromaticism,” a surfeit…

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Beware the Jealous Guy

December 7, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, Modern Music, MUSIC |

On 8 December, 1980, about 5 pm, a man truly ‘crippled inside,’ Mark David Chapman, posing as a fan of singer-songwriter/crypto-Jesus John Lennon, got Lennon to autograph his latest (rather patchy) record, Double Fantasy, out the front of his fashionable Dakota apartment in New York City. Lennon and his wife were on their way to record more unmemorable songs. On their return, at about 10.50 pm, Chapman shot at Lennon five times, hitting him with at least 4 bullets. Lennon, rushed by police to hospital, was DOA.  Chapman was arrested without further incident and claimed that The Catcher in the Rye…

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