Eurovision Australia 2019

February 11, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Modern Music, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

[Eurovision Australian Heats, February 9, 2019.] Since Australia’s first Eurovision entry in 2015 Guy Sebastian’s “Tonight Again’, we have cheered Dami Im (second in 2016 (she was robbed)) and have cringed at Jessica Mauboy, notably referred to by ‘The Spectator’ magazine as a ‘vast caterwauling aboriginal‘. Finally we antipodeans have had the opportunity to vote (as if it hasn’t all been decided beforehand) on our entrant. The final, from the appropriately kitsch Gold Coast, Queensland, was shown on SBS and hosted by a chipper Joel Creasy (“trilingual” in English, Millenial and Drag-Queen) and an uncomfortable Myf Warhurst in unflattering hot pink. Each of the…

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Bohemian Rhapsody (by Lesley-Ann Jones)

“Bohemian Rhapsody.  The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury” (by Lesley-Anne Jones) (1997; recently re-issued) This biography (not to be confused with the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody – click here for our review) is a sympathetic look at the life of the Queen front-man, from his lonely boyhood as Farrokh Bulsara, diligent Parsee schoolboy at an Indian boarding school, to his lonely death at age 46 as Freddie Mercury, adored British rock star. Some of those from his Zoroastrian background do not see this as an upward trajectory – his cousin Diana said, “He gave up his family name.  He did not…

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Meistersingers of Melbourne

November 27, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |

L-R: Daniel Sumegi as Pogner, Warwick Fyfe as Beckmesser, Andrew Jones as Nachtigall, Natalie Aroyan as Eva, Kanen Breen as Moser and Michael Kupfer-Radecky as Hans Sachs

Monday 19 November 2018 (Arts Centre, Melbourne) Royal Opera’s then house director, the notorious Kasper Holten, originally designed this production.  The Spectator’s Michael Tanner declared of the London version, “Nothing could prepare me for so deep an abyss of idiocy.”  We know what he means, but speaking personally, apart from some (very large) grumbles, we were not overly bothered by the sets or the “reinterpretation,” no doubt due to a combination of our own jaundiced lethargy and contempt. Also, Meistersinger is perhaps the only Wagnerian piece which is impervious to Regieoper, even when the Guild Hall in Act I is reconstructed…

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La Bohéme

November 23, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Melbourne, 20 November 2018 An interesting but not trouble-free evening at the Arts Centre for the virtually indestructible La Bohème. Pointlessly but harmlessly ‘re-imagined’ (by director Gale Edwards) to Berlin in the last days of the Weimar Republic, 100 years after the work is actually set, and not in Paris (the cast still sing incongruously in Italian – why not stage it in Rome and replace Benoit with Mussolini?). Sets were appropriately stark (the garret – it still looked like a garret to us, and the tollgate, replete with pretty and lethal snow falling outside) and lush (the Café Momus, looking more…

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Bohemian Rhapsody

November 5, 2018 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, Modern Music, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. Bryan Singer) (2018) (Click here for our review of the book of the same name by Lesley-Ann Jones.) If you don’t get a shiver down the spine during the opening scene of Bohemian Rhapsody, as we follow Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) onto the stage at Live Aid, you don’t deserve Freddie, or this terrific film – a goose-pimpling, foot-stomping bio-pic with heart. Yes, it follows the usual trajectory of ambitious boys putting their all into their music, despite evil managers and uncaring music company execs.  Yes, we know the story, and the film may not be entirely historically accurate, but…

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