Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Elektra in Sydney

Christine Goerke as Elektra

Last night I a saw an electric concert performance of the opera Elektra with sopranos Christine Goerke, Lisa Gasteen and Cheryl Barker in the lead roles (Elektra, her mother Klytemnestra and her sister Chrysothemis). Stunning singing from all three ... I can't imagine a better cast. They performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra lead by David Robertson, their new Chief Conductor and Artistic Director.

It is wonderful to see singers of this caliber in Sydney. They can not only sing over a huge (expanded) orchestra, they can act as well. In the final scene Christine tripped over her dress and fell but she disguised it so cleverly you would never have known it wasn't a choreographed movement.

I am sure if the SSO continues to put on such treats (filling the gap left by Opera Australia)  they will continue to attract huge audiences as they did for this performance. I went to see both Elektra performances, Saturday and Monday, and I know it is imprinted on my memory forever. Go SSO!

More images are online here.
 
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Music: always inspiring

After cleaning out my mother's place I seem to have got the sort-and-throw bug (a common reaction I think). Today I found some lino-cuts I made in Dunedin in 2008... a cellist and a violinist.

Music, always inspiring!
Cellist (linocut)
Violinist (linocut)

And here's the card:

 The Cellist Cards
The Cellist Cards by elizabethgw
Design unique personalized note cards from zazzle.com.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Manus Island

Church sign in nearby Gosford.
Not cowered by a belligerent government.
What do you do when your government becomes inhumane, inhuman? The Australian Government is printing comic books to warn people what is going to happen to them if they dare seek refuge here. They'll be sent to countries where they are at the mercy of marauding crowds of thugs.

People always ask whether the Germans knew about Nazi atrocities during the war and if they did, why they did nothing about it. In Australia we still have the right to express our opinions without being thrown into the camps ourselves and yet we are cowered into silence while our government peddles lies, cheered on by our own marauding thugs. History repeats.

Addendum: after the latest atrocity not everyone is silent. Past prime Minister Malcolm Frazer  has added his voice. (Could we please have him back?)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

ACO with Dawn Upshaw - the Grammy winning concert

Helene Rathbone
The Australian Chamber Orchestra lead by Helena Rathbone is wowing audiences with their concert featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw singing Grieg, Rautavaara and Maria Schneider's Winter Morning Walks, the  song cycle that recently won them three Grammy awards.

They are getting great reviews and deservedly. I imagine the concert will be broadcast but I think it is the sort of repertoire that is best heard live.

Fabulous evening - thank you Helena and ACO!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Let them eat cake

But what is in cake nowadays? I bought this muffin at a school function but it was so awful I eventually threw it away. It must have been packet mix and I am sure the cook followed the proper directions, but the result is not food, it is a colourful handful of chemical fluff that the stomach rebels against.
Chemical muffin
Today I read that John Yudkin, the man who warned us about the effects of sugar in the 1970s (see his bookPure, White and Deadly)  was hounded and ostracized by the powerful food industry who were making a packet from low-fat high-sugar foods.

The result is everywhere to see.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Shirley Temple

ShirleyTemple
Shirley Temple sings music from the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor".

She gave so many people so much joy then went on as an adult to have a diplomatic career. Not many people managed the transition as well as she did. Vale Shirley Temple.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Kaufmann/Joswig: grounded despite the hype

A wonderful video featuring tenor Jonas Kaufmann and his wife mezzo-soprano Margareta Joswig talking about their lives as singers. Kaufmann has a reputation for being grounded despite the media hype. You can see why from this video.


Addendum on 10 April, 2014 :
Sad to hear that Kaufmann and Joswig have separated. All the best to both of them.

April 2015: sorry folks, the delightful video (I think from a German TV station)  has disappeared from YouTube.

Instead, here are two videos from this pair who were long united. Wonderful as ever.

Kaufmann singing the Wesendonck Lieder

Joswig singing Lobe, Zion, deinen Gott ...