Il Trovatore

October 27, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Opera, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Ken Howard's photo of the Met production

(Giuseppe Verdi) (1853) (The Met, October 2015) The story of this opera can be summed-up in this little ditty: “Yes, Sir, that’s my baby, No Sir, I do mean maybe, Yes Sir, baby’s on the stove. What, Sir, why say ‘maybe’? Well, see, ‘cos that baby May be from another trove.” (With apologies to Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson) Sorry to trivialise Verdi’s lovely opera with the doggerel written above, but the plot of Il Trovatore, such as it is, is quite ridiculous.  A gypsy hurls her own tot on the bonfire by mistake and closes the circle in conning a lascivious Duke…

Continue Reading →

Dante’s 750th

October 2, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, DANTE |

(Elder Hall, Adelaide University, 30/9/15) The Dante Society of SA gave a most agreeable concert to mark the 750th birthday of the Great Florentine, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321).  Professor Diana Glenn gave two readings from The Divine Comedy – first from Paradiso, Canto XXIII, where Beatrice and Dante gaze up at the infinite sunbeams of redeemed souls, and Dante swoons (as he was wont to do). Then Mekhla Kumar (above) performed Liszt’s Sposalizio, inspired by Raphael’s The Marriage of the Virgin. Konstantin Shamray (below) played Liszt’s Dante Sonata with its slightly cartoonish swerve between the hell and heaven, with its different (hellish and celestial) keys…

Continue Reading →

Twilight of the Gods

September 23, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, Opera, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |

(Dir. Julian Doyle) (2013) Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), the successor to Schopenhauer and a great writer and weirdo, said he “would never have survived my youth without Wagnerian music.”  “And Wagner did become Nietzsche’s awakener, who, by subsequently failing to live up to the youth’s ideals, dealt him wounds which, though they never healed, yet played a salutary role in his development into one of history’s most formidable philosophic writers and thinkers.  Like King Ludwig, he at first placed Wagner upon so high a pedestal that the concussion of the idol’s fall shattered not only it but the shocked worshipper, too….

Continue Reading →

Peter Allen – Not the Boy Next Door

September 22, 2015 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Modern Music, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

A match made in Heaven

The final stages of this TV two-parter are a salutary reminder of that dreadful scourge of the homosexual world in the 1980s – the music of Peter Allen. Oh yes and that AIDS was, in those days, suddenly rampant and absolutely untreatable.  This is a paint-by-numbers production.  But that doesn’t mean it is bad – just mediocre, glitzy, watchable  and non-threatening.  Like Allen himself. The audience is  told what to think at every stage, from the obligatory hard-scrabble childhood (cleaning Dad’s brains off a wall), to fame, fortune and an opportunistic marriage to American music royalty. Sigrid Thornton looks surprisingly like Judy Garland but is stretched by a script which…

Continue Reading →

Richard Wagner and the Modern British Novel

September 17, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, Non-Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |

"Let's see what he makes of this brief..."

(by John Louis Di Gaetani) (1978) When P brought this obscure little tome at the Paradise Bookshop, L asked, not unreasonably, “What has Wagner to do with the modern British novel?”  Oh ye of little faith and so many brains!  Well, let’s see…. In this book, Dr Di Gaetani mounts the case that the operatic works of Wagner, and in particular the poetry and prose in his librettos, had a vital galvanising effect on five major British novelists maturing (if not all necessarily in their prime) during the Edwardian Age: Joseph Conrad, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. P read this…

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.