Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Fiona Campbell

Rising star Australian mezzo-soprano Fiona Campbell along-with other leading singers are heading to Chatswood, Penrith and Angel Place in late April
 Fri. 26th April, 7pm, Concert Hall, The Concourse, Chatswood
Sat. 27th April, 2pm, Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith
Sun. 28th April, 5pm, City Recital Hall Angel Place

Rising star Australian mezzo-soprano Fiona Campbell will perform her first complete Dido alongside some of  Australia’s best young and experienced singers, Anna Fraser, Penelope Mills, Richard Butler, Tobias Cole,  Alexander Knight with Sydney Philharmonia’s Chamber Singers and period instrumental ensemble, conducted by Brett Weymark. 
Australian born mezzo soprano Fiona Campbell is an accomplished international performer, recitalist and recording artist.  Vocal winner of the ABC Young Performer of the Year Award and the Opera Awards, in the prestigious Australian Singing Competition, Fiona has consistently received wide critical acclaim for her powerful performances and exquisite musicianship.
"We have so many truly great singers in Australia but when we were discussing Dido for our 2014 season only one artist came to mind, fiona campbell" said music director Brett Weymark. " I cannot wait to start rehearsing this tragic work With her. A great queen undone by love. Fiona will not only bring a total commitment to the role but a fresh insight as it will be the first time she has performed the role in context - her first complete Dido in fact. I am thrilled to be sharing this experience with her."
Sydney Philharmonia will perform its first-ever concert at the Concourse in Chatswood  in addition to a performance at City Recital Hall Angel Place and we will continue its  inaugural Western Sydney season with a performance at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith.
The program includes Henry Purcell's sole opera Dido and Aeneas which is considered as the greatest operatic achievement of 17th century England and the first great English opera.  Music inspired  by  flowers will also be performed including Britten’s  Five  Flower  Songs, Ross Edwards’  lively  Flower  Songs  and  Paul Mealor’s Now Sleeps  the Crimson Petal.   Mealor’s music was heard by an  international audience at  the Royal Wedding of Prince William.
 Tickets $45 - $90 (plus applicable booking fees) 02 9251 3115 or www.sydneyphilharmonia.com.au

Monday, 15 April 2013

Operamania at City Recital Hall

here's my Sydney Arts Guide review


A scene from the Moscow Novaya Opera's OPERAMANIA

A delightful souffle of some of opera’s greatest hits this was a lot of fun.

Direct from Russia, the Moscow Novaya Opera brings us OPERAMANIA, currently touring Australia.  Convoluted opera plots are almost completely eliminated and favourite moments from Puccini, Verdi, Bizet and Mozart are blended into a fast-moving, seamless theatrical presentation.

The company consists of ten solo singers (oh what fabulous voices!) plus four dancers from the Russian Imperial Ballet, with a large  orchestra of 44 musicians behind them, making 60 artists all up on stage.

With lightning quick costume changes for each scene, the show zips through two to five minute excerpts from over a dozen composers. The program includes two medleys. The first, comprising Chopin waltzes, Liszt’s’ Liebestraüme’ and Rachmaninov’s’ Prelude in C-sharp minor’. In the second half, a ‘Mozart medley’ includes movements from his Piano Concerto No. 21, Symphony No. 40,’ Eine kleine Nachtmusik’, and the overture to’ The Marriage of Figaro’. Phew!

It is semi staged, with great acting and singing included. And mention must be made of some of the amazing costumes in particular worn by the women – some of the gowns were akin to wonderfully textured soft sculptures.

The huge orchestra (noticeably squashed for space on the stage), under the sparkling direction of maestro Andrey Lebedev, played magnificently and had a terrific time. The featured solo piano playing of Ekaterina Koplakova was glorious. There were no surtitles but there were constantly changing visuals screened as accompaniment – which actually could be quite distracting. And there was a running visual gag throughout with the use of umbrellas.

The show opened strongly with a passionate CARMEN segment. There were many highlights throughout the show .In the first half for example from Puccini’s ‘Turandot’ , Oleg Dolgov gave a superb rendition of ‘Nessun Dorma’ .

In the second half Andrei Fetisov as Mephistopheles from Gounod’s  ‘ Faust’ was mesmerizing , chilling and sinister . But especially Elizaveta Soina in ‘Casta Diva’ from Bellini’s ‘Norma’ stopped the show. A vision in a white nightgown with her hair down, she was full if soaring purity and beauty yet also strong, captivating and in full control.

Elena Terentieva had some wicked fun wearing a silver and black costume as the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s magic Flute , effortlessly tossing off the bravura show off coloratura fireworks. Mention must also be made of the ‘Largo al factotum’ from Rossini’s “Barber of Seville’ as delightfully performed by Anton Vinogradov and Alexander Popov. The septet from Rossini’s “Italian Girl in Algiers’ , ‘Va Sossopra il mio cervello’ that brought the first half to a conclusion revealed great comic timing.  

Ballet was also included but was rather disappointing .Because of the small stage space the dancers were quite restricted .The choreography generally was quite traditional .Special mention however must be made of the fabulous Yaroslava Araptanova, who had incredible control in her adage and was marvellous as the spirit of Pavlova in ‘The Dying Swan’ and excellent in the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ pas de deux.

If you were looking for a great way to introduce someone to opera and have terrific fun, this would be a delightful choice.     With a running time of approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, OPERAMANIA is playing the City Recital Hall at Angel Place on two further occasions, Tuesday 16th April and Wednesday 17th April, 2013

© Lynne Lancaster

15th April, 2013

Tags: Sydney Stage Reviews- OPERAMANIA, Sydney Arts Guide, Lynne Lancaster

This website is copyrighted to David Kary.
  David Kary
Mobile: (61) 0408278706.
Email: DKStageWise@gmail.com

WIlloughby Theatre Co's Les Miserables at Chatswood

absolutely awesome , a tremendous production


Run! Grab a packet of tissues and join the barricades NOW. Grab a ticket if you haven’t already for this excellent production of ‘Les Miserables’ by Willoughby Theatre Company.

Under the excellent direction of Tom Sweeney this magnificent production comes to life. LES MISERABLES the musical has been going strong since 1985, now seen and loved by over 65 million people and most recently earlier this year with the Hugh Jackman/Russell Crowe/Anne Hathaway film version. (a new Melbourne production is coming later this year).

There are some slight changes /simplifications to the staging of the now ‘traditional’ stage version we know and love (no revolve, no trapdoor for example) but with the huge tattered French flag draped on stage we are catapulted into the world of Hugo’s novel.

LES MIS is a savage, powerful cry for justice , a searing indictment of the poverty and injustice of society at the time. Very briefly , the plot ( as according to Wikipedia) is as follows: ‘ Set in early 19th-century France, it is the story of Jean Valjean, a burly French peasant of abnormal strength and potentially violent nature, and his quest for redemption after serving nineteen years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his starving sister's child.

Valjean decides to break his parole and start his life anew after a kindly bishop inspires him to, but he is relentlessly tracked down by a police inspector named Javert. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters – including Fantine, Cosette ,Marius and the Thernardiers -  are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade’.

The excellent atmospheric lighting by Sean Clarke is crucial to the show. Musically the show is superb and the orchestra under maestro Mark Pigot is terrific.

From the opening songs this was a very strong production and the big chorus numbers ( ‘One Day More’, ‘Lovely Ladies’, ‘Drink With Me’, and ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’ )  were wonderful.

The Boubil and Schonberg score varies enormously- sometimes it is quite operatic and difficult,  then at other time lyrical and heartbreaking…stirring and inspirational, and  satirical and waltzlike.

It is essential that you have a Jean Val Jean who can carry the show and Stig Bell is magnificent. He handles his difficult numbers (one can almost say ‘arias’) superbly. We see his spiritual turmoil and change from the start , striving to be unbroken by circumstances and good , and his soaring , pleading  ‘Bring Him Home’ in Act 2 has the audience is deeply moving.

The sinister, implacable policeman Javert was well portrayed by Nick Gilbert . Cold and determined , in black with wild eyes, he doggedly tracks down Valjean .Their decades long battle never ends and Javert refuses to believe that Valjean has changed for the better .His whole world is thrown into turmoil with Valjean’s actions and his final soliloquy is very well played.  

Kimberley Jensen as poor Fantine, Cosette’s mother, breaks our hearts with her ‘ I Dreamed a Dream’. The grown up Cossette was very prettily played by Elizabeth Garrett . But it is the adult Eponine (Carolyn Reed  )who is of particular note – again we cry with her when she sings ‘On My Own’ , and at the duet for her and Marius, ‘A Little Fall of Rain’ . Earnest young student Marius is delightfully played by Julian Goncalves in fine voice (especially the regretful , melancholy ‘Empty Chairs and Empty Tables ‘) . Young, rebellious leader Enjolras is magnetically played and fabulously sung by Peter Meredith .Cheeky plucky Gavroche ( ‘Little People’ ) was excellently played by James Reville and  poor young Cosette enchantingly played by Emily Simmons ( ‘Castle on a cloud’ ) .

The dastardly, cynically manipulative Thernardiers is terrifically played by Philip Youngman and Emily Kimpton is great (the rollicking ‘Master of the House’ in Act 1 and their ‘Beggars at the Feast’  in Act2 ) .

A stirring, magnificent very powerful production…Do you hear the people sing?!

The show’s running time is 3 hours and 10 minutes with one interval. The Willoughby Theatre Company’s production of LES MISERABLES plays at the Concourse Theatre until Sunday April 21, 2013.

© Lynne Lancaster

14th April, 2013

Tags: Sydney Stage Reviews- LES MISERABLES, Willoughby Theatre Company, Tom Sweeney, Sydney Arts Guide, Lynne Lancaster

This website is copyrighted to David Kary.
  David Kary
Mobile: (61) 0408278706.
Email: DKStageWise@gmail.com

Frankenstein at the Opera House by the Ensemble Theatre

don't miss this it is fabulous

Here's my rave for artshub


Lee Jones as The Creature in Frankenstein. Photo by Heidrun Lohr.
Under Mark Kilmurry’s excellent direction we are privileged to see a magnificent, gripping and troubling production of Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Playwright Nick Dear has adapted the famous proto-science fiction story for Britain’s National Theatre, chopping and changing some sections, but largely staying true to Shelley’s powerful, questioning original.

Lee Jones as the Creature is extraordinary and gives an astonishing, bravura performance that dominates the show. He is towering and looming, at times childlike and at others menacing. We mostly see the story from the Creature’s point of view and he is portrayed very sympathetically, an unfortunate victim of circumstance.

Jones has a marvellous extended opening solo where we see him wordlessly discovering space, the environment and his body. At first, he is extremely ungainly but we see him gradually discover speech and education with the help of the blind De Lacey. Circumstances drive him to be evil and destructive, though underneath he is good. The Creature has deep philosophical discussions about the meaning of life and faith: is there a God? Why was he, the Creature, created? What is his purpose in the world? What is the meaning of life? What is good? What is evil? What is love? A joyous, intimate dance sequence explores the Creature’s vision of his possible partner. He is driven by loneliness and we feel for him as he is beaten, despised and rejected, becoming an eloquent ‘Everyman’ for all outcasts.

Victor Frankenstein (Andrew Henry ), the Creature’s creator, is shown as rather stuffy and obsessed, tormented by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. It is interesting to observe that at the end of the play, Frankenstein ‘s body language becomes very similar to that of the Creature’s at the beginning as they torment each other on the ice.

Katie Fitchett is delightful as Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s fiancée, a role that makes powerful comments about women’s education and the society of the period. In a dual role as the female ‘creature’ she is robotically enchanting, a trapped butterfly.

Michael Ross as the blind De Lacey gives a heartwarming, profound performance, teaching the Creature the mysteries of language and philosophy, and the joys of music.

Brian Meegan, Michael Rebetzke and Olivia Stambouliah in their multiple smaller roles give excellent performances. 

Simone Romaniuk’s wonderful set designs are sparse, fluid and atmospheric. Much use is made of a circle in the middle of the floor. The two cascading drapes become everything from trees to hospital curtains, to heavy drapes in a drawing room or light, airy, floating romantic bedroom curtains. Nicholas Higgin’s atmospheric lighting designs are exceptional.

Cellist Heather Stratfold in a billowing grey and white dress provides the musical backdrop, playing Elena Kats-Chernin’s lyrical, anxiously scurrying and ominous score.

A powerful, confronting production.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
By Nick Dear
Based on the book by Mary Shelley
Director: Mark Kilmurry
Designer: Simone Romaniuk
Lighting Designer: Nicholas Higgins
Composer: Elena Kats-Chernin
Sound Designer: Daryl Wallis
Cellist: Heather Strafold
Cast includes Katie Fitchett, Andrew Henry, Lee Jones, Brian Meegan, Michael Rebetzke, Michael Ross and Olivia Stambouliah
Running time: Two hours (approx) no interval

Slava's Snowshow is coming !

much excitement I love this show !

SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW STORMS INTO AUSTRALIA!Internationally acclaimed spectacle comes to Sydney’s Theatre Royal
"Slava’s Snowshow is to clowning what Cirque du Soleil is to circus. Slava’s Snowshow is as theatrical as it is simple, as involving as it is inspiring.”
- Variety, USA
The multi award-winning international sensation SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW storms into Australia for a limited season playing at the Theatre Royal from 11 to 23 June 2013.  Tickets on sale 18 February.

Since its creation by renowned Russian clown Slava Polunin in 1993, SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW has played to millions of people in more than 30 countries and 120 cities including New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow. The show comes to Australia in 2013 following a second sell-out Winter season in London and is already confirmed to return to London for its third year this Christmas.
The show has garnered worldwide popular and critical acclaim, as well as a growing number of awards – in the USA SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW earned a Tony nomination for Special Theatrical Event in 2009 and won the Drama Desk Award in 2005 for Unique Theatrical Experience; in the UK, the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment (1998) and the Time Out Award (1994); and in Australia, the Helpmann Award for Best Visual or Physical Theatre (2000); as well as a host of other awards in Russia, France, Mexico, Denmark, Spain and the UK.  SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW has been lauded as "a theatre classic of the 20th century" by The Times in London, and Slava Polunin praised as "the best clown in the world". 
"The single most beautiful thing I have ever seen in a theatre in my life." - Simon Callow, Sunday Express, UK
Slava Polunin created his Snowshow following his sensational performance as part of Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria, drawing on the influence of artists such as Charlie Chaplin, Marcel Marceau and Leonid Engibarov.  He and his company of clowns have taken clowning out of the world of circus, and brought it into the theater.  SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW is a fusion of traditional and contemporary theatrical clowning arts, and a beautifully crafted visual spectacle.
The show brilliantly creates a world of wonderment and fantasy that transports the audience to a joyous dream-like place, where a bed becomes a boat in a storm-tossed sea; a woman is wrapped in cellophane and becomes flowers in a vase; a child walks in amazement inside a bubble; SLAVA boards a train and then becomes the train, his chimney-pot hat billowing smoke; and a web of unspun cotton envelopes the audience. The stunning finale sees a letter turn into snowflakes, and the flakes turn into a snowstorm, which whirls around the auditorium, leaving the audience ankle-deep in snow.
SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW is a visual masterpiece loved by children and adults alike.

“His genius lies in the balance he strikes between spectacular theatrical effects and the tiniest nuances of facial expression”.  Theatrical Brilliance!” The Sunday Times
“This is pure magic…truly an evening of enchantment and fun”. The Express
“The mind boggles.  SNOWSHOW achieved something I’ve rarely seen: a spontaneous eruption of playful energy which lifted the entire audience in a bubble of pure delight.  Magic! Slava’s Snowshow touches the heart as well as the funny bone. Full of laughter and joy it is a thing of rare theatrical beauty not to be missed”.  London Daily Telegraph
“An unmissable theatrical feast; this ensemble of extraordinary clowns combine comedy and poignancy with stunning spectacle and breathtaking images. It fills you with innocent amazement.  It restores childish wonder in adults.  After the show ends, nobody wants to leave the theatre.  Laughter and tears have never been harder to distinguish.” “Simply Thrilling” The Independent
“Overwhelming, invigorating, terrifying, delightful.  It brings us back to the lost Eden of our childhood.” Financial Times
“Slava’s Snowshow is thoughtful, accessible comedy.  Highly recommended”. Melbourne Sunday Age
“Slava Polunin may well be the world’s greatest clown. He may even be the world’s greatest magician” “Spectacular and rather unnervingly beautiful” Variety Weekly
“It was hard to find a single adult or child who seemed less than ecstatic” The Associated Press
"Slava's Snowshow" is meant to make you smile, and it does so with impressive efficiency….I loved every minute of it. The Wall Street Journal
“Slava’s Snowshow is to clowning what Cirque du Soleil is to the circus…”Variety
"My heart leapt… induces waves of giggles and sighs of pleasure."The New York Times
“A finale that blows you away”. Mail on Sunday
“One of the most theatrical moments I have ever experienced.”The Guardian
“Utterly breathtaking, the stage effects are dazzling…Suddenly the audience is young, innocent, and transported with delight.” Daily Mail
“The single most beautiful thing I have ever seen in a theatre in my life”. Simon Callow, Sunday Express
An unmistakably unique, unmissable comedy masterpiece…It is simply and childishly thrilling, it fills you with innocent amazement and it is lyrically beautiful”. The Independent
“The unmissable and already classic ‘Snowshow’ is a thing of rare theatrical beauty”. The Times
“Spreads a blanket of benevolent charm over the audience, holding them spellbound…” Financial Times
Dazzling!  Guaranteed to make even the glum thaw into happiness.” The Observer
“The Russian maestro has been hailed as the saviour of clowning…taking the audience’s breath away”. The Evening Standard

SLAVA'S SNOWSHOW is presented by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and
David Atkins Enterprises with Slava and Gwenael Allan
Created and staged by Slava Polunin
VENUE                        THEATRE ROYAL
SEASON                        11 JUNE TO 23 JUNE
PRICES                        $69 - $99
BOOKINGS                        TICKETMASTER 1300 7230 038
                                    OR TICKETMASTER.COM.AU
                                    GROUPS 10+ SAVE! GROUP BOOKINGS ON 02 1300 889 278