For Whom the Bell Rings

August 22, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, LIFE, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA |

August 2021: The Varnished Culture is gutted to learn that the Brisbane Ring Cycle set for October and November has been cancelled for the Second Time.  Due to the damn faux-plague. Opera Australia’s statement of 19/8/2021 followed its message to ticket holders the previous Tuesday: We’re sad to announce that all upcoming performances of the Ring Cycle and Aida in Brisbane have been postponed due to COVID travel restrictions.  This is hugely disappointing news, but we are committed to re-scheduling these spectacular productions so that the seven years of planning that has already gone into this project won’t go to waste….

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RocKwiz Salutes Eurovison (2021)

June 29, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 25 June 2021 We thought nothing could stop the Eurovision Song Contest.  The plastic glitter tv extravaganza that has been jauntily assaulting our eyeballs, ears and self-respect since 1956 is proof against international conflict, political controversy and stage-bombers.  But a little virus from a non-competing country cancelled the contest in 2020 and Eurovision tragics had to content themselves with The Story of Fire Saga . The SBS music quiz tv show RocKwiz is keeping the legend alive in 2021 for those Australians who cannot travel. From the Gershwin Room in St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel in Melbourne to…

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ABC Classic Shall Not be Shot

June 8, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Classical Music, MUSIC |

The ABC (Australian Bolshevik Corporation) uses a lot of the nation’s money to fund its anti-Australian, anti-conservative, anti-rational stances. TVC, if charged with the nation’s finances, would probably cut its funding by about 80%, assuming we couldn’t just break it up and sell it off. What would stay? Well, Sean Micallef’s Mad as Hell, Tom Gleeson’s Hard Quiz, Behind the News, Parliament and we suppose the news could stay, but only if it were the news written and read by James Dibble. And further, ABC Radio could stay. ABC Radio, despite its manifest Marxist destiny and predilections, is consistently better…

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Eurovision 2021 (Rotterdam)

May 25, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | LIFE, Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE |

The Varnished Culture had night sweats and knotted stomachs awaiting the return of the Eurovision Song Contest. On ice in 2020 due to something or other, we had only Will Ferrell’s lovely tribute to sustain us for a year. Even now, Covid’s ugly head reared and “prevented” the Australian contingent from attending Rotterdam in person. This perhaps caused Australia’s offering, “Technicolour” by Montaigne, to fall at the semi-final stage, which is patently unfair and unjust. Still, Eurovision is the byword for dazzling, iridescent mediocrity, so there we are. Our points system, you’ll recall, rates each song on ‘real world merit,’…

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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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