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 →

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 →

Verdi’s Requiem

August 27, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Debut at L Scala, 25 May 1874, drawn by O. Tofani

SA State Opera Chorus, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, 26 August 2015 A very nice performance.  Having a foretaste of the Requiem at the introductory session held by the Dante Society, The Varnished Culture settled back in the well worn and frayed Festival Theatre, with its ghastly art adorning the foyers (no longer ‘modern’ but eternally bad) for the full rendition of Verdi’s famous Requiem Mass.  Coinciding with the staging in Adelaide of Faust, Timothy Sexton conducted the ASO, and, having rehearsed the State Opera Chorus, simultaneously conducted all 64 of them (plus kettle drum player) by alternately waving at the pit and the stage. The…

Continue Reading →


August 18, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, DANTE |

SA Dante Society, 17 August 2015 At the Italian Centre on Monday evening the Society was treated to an early taste of Verdi’s tempestuous, mighty and dramatic requiem mass.  This will be performed with full chorus and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra on 26 and 28 August, as conducted by Timothy Sexton. Maestro Dr Joseph Talia OAM gave a lucid and learned backgrounder, virtually extemporaneously, as to the sources, anxieties and influences on Verdi in the creation of this unique liturgical music, operatic in style and inspired by the life and death of Alessandro Manzoni, whom he revered.  Verdi grappled with the…

Continue Reading →

The Idyll

May 30, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, WAGNER |

Tribschen as Arcadia (photo by Josef Lehmkuhl)

(Ensemble Le Monde, Elder Hall, 29 May 2015) ELM gave us a varied programme, with Serenade in C Major for String Trio by Dohnányi.  Played in 5 short bursts, each part crowded with disparate moods, ideas and tones, this unfamiliar (to TVC) work is of great interest and showed the versatility of violin, viola, cello. During the soft, still moments, the cello acted almost as a harp. A larger portion of the ensemble gathered for Richard Strauss’ tone poem Till Eulenspiegel einmal anders!  TVC is willing to give Strauss points for his operatic and several symphonic works, but it is hard to underrate this one,…

Continue Reading →

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