Girl’s Night Out

Simone Young and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Guests, Adelaide Town Hall, 9 August 2019 ***1/2 One can be ambivalent, even resentful about Richard Strauss, with his ‘stress-without-storm’ tone poems, dalliances with flaxen-haired girleens, Daddy-jokes, and general frivolity, even (and perhaps especially) concerning Nazis. Yet who could resist an evening of his pieces by the ASO conducted by Simone Young, featuring 4 great female singers, the romantic feminine being the essence of his oeuvre? The programme of works says it all: included were interludes from Intermezzo, Capriccio and Salome; snippets from Ariadne auf Naxos, duets from Arabella, and a selection from…

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Sydney Dance Company: “Neon Aether”/ “Cinco” / “WOOF”

August 10, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | ART, MUSIC, THEATRE |

Adelaide Festival Centre, 8 August 2019 *** Sydney Dance Company is marking its fiftieth anniversary with this three part performance, currently touring Australia.  Although each half-hour long part is created by an individual choreographer (after which it is named; the title-names above were not used in the Adelaide performance), all three are connected by a sinuous melancholy.  The corps, of 5 to 11 male and female dancers occupy an empty space, leavened only by fog and low, diffuse lighting. The first piece, choreographed by Gabrielle Nankivell, begins and is punctuated by darkness and the sound of machinery, perhaps a lift…

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Die Walküre at the Met

July 3, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |

[Film of production directed by Gary Halvorson, screened in Adelaide June/July 2019] **** stars Wagner’s most human work in the Ring cycle, the hub of the wheel, a pivotal moment when the increasingly out-of-kilter world of gods gives way to the chaos of man. We have described The Valkyries in more detail elsewhere, so we turn without further ado to this excellent film of the performance at the Met in NYC in March 2019, based on the original 2011 production. ‘The Machine’ is back: a spidery bundle of rectangular rods, like giant railway sleepers, that spin and flutter to address…

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Petula Clark

May 20, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |

Norwood Town Hall, 17 May 2019 We just had to catch one of the earliest British pop divas and it was well worth it. Especially as Petula (aged about 13) had had a small but key role in the classic film I Know Where I’m Going! “Downtown,” “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” (see below) “A Sign of the Times,” and “I Know a Place” and several other worthy tunes had the crowd swaying and (annoyingly in some cases) humming along. TVC calculated that we might have been among the younger fans in the crowd, but it looked like a full…

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Amazing India

April 9, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Music and Dance provided by alumni of Kalalaya School of Performing Arts, 6 April 2019, Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Theatre The Varnished Culture has great admiration for Indian accomplishment (mixed with a fair bit of ignorance, but profound for all that). But we were not quite prepared* for the Amazing India experience, pretty much a Hindustani eisteddfod featuring all levels of students and tutors of the local Kalalaya School of Performing Arts.  From old-style classical dance forms such as Bharatnatyam and cadenced Kathak, to modern, salacious Bollywood numbers, an enthusiastic (at times, overly enthusiastic) audience were treated to 140 minutes of some 20…

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