Opera for One

For many, the world of opera is intimidating and perplexing. But the biggest concern for some is the prospect of having to go by yourself. Opera Australia conducted some research, and according to the survey, the number one thing that holds people back from attending is “No one to go with” as cited by 21 percent of those surveyed. Additionally, 76 percent of solo attendees said they are more likely to attend if there is a pre-show and private interval party. Thus OA has launched its Opera for One initiative. I was fortunate enough to be able to experience Opera for One at Turandot [at the Sydney Opera House, for Limelight]. The evening began with complimentary drinks and canapés in the Northern Foyer. We were then treated to a talk by Assistant Director Matthew Barclay, after which we took our seats. I sat between two attendees of the pre-show drinks, and we chatted during the interval at great length about the opera. All who took part in this Opera for One event felt it was a great success, and I certainly would do it again. Heathcliffe Auchinachie, Sydney Conservatorium student

Spirit of the Wild, ABC Classic


Letter of the Month wins the new ABC Classic album Nigel Westlake: Spirit of the Wild/Steve Reich: The Desert Music, featuring the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and oboist Diana Doherty.

Basking in the Limelight

Limelight has (easily) the best visuals and graphic designs of all the classical music magazines. Ivan Ilić, pianist, via Instagram

Welcome back Ed!

The “My Music” page in Limelight always features really interesting musicians and music lovers and January/February’s guest, Ed Ayres, was a real treat. It’s wonderful to welcome back one of our favourite announcers on ABC Classic. I met Ed recently at the Brisbane Writers Festival. What an inspiring and talented young man! Anne Shipton, Margate, QLD

More music for children

The wonderful article by Ed Ayres [Limelight, January/February], the marvellous praise of Richard Gill, Mrs Carey’s Concert and the ABC TV program Don’t Stop the Music with its inspiring, music-promoting headmistress all emphasise the huge importance of music teachers and their lifelong effect on their students. Petrina Slaytor, via email

Audiences getting the clap

I thoroughly enjoyed Greta Bradman’s column [in the January/February issue of Limelight] on ‘infectious’ clapping, but in her diagnosis of audience behaviour she missed one of the most important instigators of any clapping between movements: the performers themselves. So many times have I seen communicators like David Robertson keep the musical ball in the air with their body language, or storm into the next movement without allowing the tension to drop to the point where clapping can sneak in – while I’ve seen plenty of ham-fisted musicians slump at the end of a movement and then wonder why the audience thinks the show’s over! And don’t expect your listeners to know how many movements there are if you didn’t put it in the program! Greta rightly mentioned Sir András Schiff’s magisterial performances last year (I heard the Sydney concert) but not only did he explicitly communicate to the audience that he would prefer them to hold the applause to the end, his performance itself forbade us breaking the trance. Edith McGowan, Waitara, NSW

More on applause

Once I was sitting next to a man at a Sydney Symphony concert. He got very annoyed, almost having a real fit, tutting his tongue when people clapped between movements. Then, at the second half, when the Mahler 9 came to the end with its quiet, contemplative closing, when the conductor’s hands were still drawing inaudible emotions from the musicians, my neighbour went into a rapturous applause that disrupted the most beautiful silent moment. He was wrong, both times. Isaac Wong, via Facebook

Silent Clapping

What about the large number of regulars at Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concerts who think it’s the custom to noiselessly tap their hands on their thighs, or make a genteel soundless soft clap? Legions of them every concert…. Bill O’Loughlin, via Facebook


In our January/February 2019 issue we included a requiem for clarinettist Murray Khouri, which said that he formed the Bowral Autumn Music Festival in 2017. In fact, he founded it in 2007. We apologise for the mistake. Limelight Editor

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 disagreed with – or anything you’d like to see more of in the magazine?

Our April issue’s Letter of the Month wins Stuart Skelton’s Shining Knightwith the West Australian Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Asher Fisch, out now on ABC Classic.

To enter, click here to send us an email. 

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 April 2019 issue of Limelight, on sale from April 1 – available to subscribers from March 21.

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