Many good reasons to offer thanks…

I have many good reasons to write ‘thank you’ to Limelight Magazine which I have enjoyed for many years. However, the May issue prompted this communication. Firstly Editor Jo Litson’s ‘Pleas for peace and humanity’ in which she mentions Leonard Bernstein and Benjamin Northey. I saw the first ever live production of West Side Story in Scotland and have loved it ever since, including Benjamin Northey conducting a live performance to a screening of the film. My daughter Sarah attended Ballarat Clarendon College with Ben and they shared a music stand at their first ‘gig’. In my schoolboy’s autograph book I have Bernstein’s signature obtained after a concert he conducted in Scotland in the early 1950’s, and also the autograph of Eileen Joyce which I obtained after a recital at the same hall. I send this story to say just how much I have enjoyed the wonderful CD, See How Great They Sound accompanying Limelight, which brought back many memories. Thank goodness for ABC Classic and Limelight, sources of daily joy, and to Classics Direct. Gordon Williamson, Ballarat East, VIC


Congratulations, Gordon! Letter of the Month wins the new ABC Classic release Women of Note: A Century of Australian Composers.

Why omit Birgit Nilsson?

As usual, I greatly enjoyed the April issue, particularly the article on “The Greatest Voices of all Time”. However, I feel I must take up Justine Nguyen’s suggestion, and protest at the omission of Birgit Nilsson! In the words of The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, she was “one of the greatest Wagner singers of the century”, and left a rich legacy of recordings. She also featured in the Sydney Opera House Gala Opening Concert in 1973 (available as a DVD and CD). Also, a minor carping note. Would you inform the person who sets the fun Quiz in your back pages that Francesco Foscari and Simon Boccanegra were not both doges of Venice. The latter was Doge of Genoa, on the other side of Italy.
John Horacek, Northcote, VIC


The 2019 Adelaide Festival’s achievements are impressive (“Festival a Box Office Hit”): box office income of $5.9 million for 64 events with 22 per cent of the audience coming from interstate. It is worth remembering though that the 2004 Adelaide Ring drew box office income of $5.7 million for a single event (plus donations of over $2 million), and 65 per cent of its audience came from interstate and overseas. The returns of the 1998 Adelaide Ring had included box office of $4.2 million, with 56 percent of its audience travelling from interstate and overseas. The flow-on economic benefits to South Australia from the two Ring Cycles and the 2001 Parsifal amounted to $26.6 million. When shall we see their like again?
Dr Peter Bassett, Montville, QLD


In my experience, the common sense adherence to unspoken etiquette among concert veterans is not carried through in real life. My sight is often blocked by a wowed audience incited by Stendhalian impulses to commit standing applause. This leads to a reverse domino effect, with audiences located behind the ovaters forced to assume an erect posture stretched up on upturned toes to chance even a brief glimpse of the performers receiving adoration. The long snowy-haired man sitting in front of me at a lively rendition by the Queensland Symphony of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique was evidently enthralled, if his attention-demanding head swinging and bobbing to its bewitching musical rhythm was any guide. My neighbour on one side tapped her feet with vigour on the concert hall floor with abandon. On the other side, my attention was forced from the stage to hands slapped with acoustic fervour on reverberating thighs. The simple antidote to etiquette breaches is for all-comers to be aware that their behaviour and misdemeanours, whether intended or not, holds a sting in the tail of ruining the night for those seated within proximity.
Joseph Ting, Carina, QLD


On a cold Melbourne night we ventured out [to see Kirill Gerstein’s recital at Melbourne Recital Centre on June 5] and were warmed by this brilliance. So happy to read the review. I feel like something wonderful happened in the hall on Monday night. It was less a recital, more a journey.
Philip James, via Facebook

We’d love to hear about the performances you’ve loved (or hated), the music you’re listening to or your favourite artists. Are there any features you’ve enjoyed or anything you’d like to see more of in the magazine?

Our August issue’s Letter of the Month wins the Grigoryan Brothers’ Bach Concertos album on ABC Classic, which received four and a half stars from Limelight‘s Stephanie Eslake.

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Limelight Letters, Unit 11, Level 1, 183 Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW 2000

No more than 200 words please. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Please include a daytime phone number with your letter. Only selected letters will appear in the August 2019 issue of Limelight, on sale from August 1 or earlier for subscribers.