New York, New York


Classical Music

NY Phil & David Robertson

Known to Australians as Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony, David Robertson leads the New York Phil in Sibelius’s Second Symphony plus Garrick Ohlsson in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the remarkable Synergy Vocals in Louis Andriessen’s TAO, part of the NYP’s celebration of the Dutch composer.

John Eliot Gardiner’s HIP Berlioz

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique perform two all-Berlioz concerts at Carnegie Hall offering a chance to hear the Symphonie Fantastique as the composer would have heard it, as well as its rarely performed follow-up, Lelio, plus highlights from The Trojans  and the mercurial violist Antoine Tamestit in Harold in Italy.

Yuja Wang: Carnegie Persepctives

Yuja Wang is this year’s Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist, giving her the opportunity to unleash her curiosity and explore the challenging and unexpected. Joined in her first concert by multi-percussionist Martin Grubinger and a trio of other percussionists, they dive into music by Bartók and Stravinsky, including a piano and percussion take on The Rite of Spring.

Czech Philharmonic’s Dvořák

No-one plays Dvořák quite like the Czech Phil. Musical Director Semyon Bychkov puts them through their paces in a pair of masterpieces – the thoroughly Bohemian  Symphony No 7 and the ever-popular Cello Concerto with soloist Alisa Weilerstein whose interpretation of the work thrilled Sydney audiences two years ago. The pre-concert talk looks worthwhile as well.

From Messiaen to Birtwistle

Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich perform Messiaen’s passionately spiritual Visions de l’Amen  alongside music for piano duo by Ravel (his little-played Sites Auriculaires), selections from Bartók’s musical laboratory, Mikrokosmos, and Keyboard Engine, a brand new work by Limelight’s  October Composer of the Month, Sir Harrison Birtwistle.


Samson et Dalila

Nobody does lavish quite like the Met so expect the stops to be pulled well and truly out with this year’s season opener: Saint-Saëns’ biblical bodice-ripper Samson et Dalila. Latvian mezzo Elīna Garanča reunites with French tenor Roberto Alagna after their acclaimed Carmen  in a new production by Tony Award winner Darko Tresnjak. Sir Mark Elder conducts.

Nicole Car’s Bohème

The 40-year-old Zeffirelli La Bohème has seen a fair few Mimì’s in its time, but Australians who might have seen it before will want to catch Nicole Car’s Met debut (all performances until October 13) opposite the irrepressible Vittorio Grigolo. Angel Blue as Musetta and Car’s real-life husband Etienne Dupuis co-star with James Gaffigan in the pit.

Kaufmann in Fanciulla

Giancarlo del Monaco’s faithful staging wears its years lightly enough to make a mouth-watering vehicle for Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek as Minnie, the saloon owner with a heart, opposite German tenor Jonas Kaufmann in a role that suits him like a pair of snugly-fitting chaps. Yusif Eyvazov (Mr Anna Netrebko) sings some performances.

Kate Soper’s Ipsa Dixit

If something more left-field is your bag, multi-talented composer, singer, and writer Kate Soper’s Ipsa Dixit  (“She, herself, said it”) is well worth catching. Dubbed a “philosophy opera”, it mixes Greek drama with screwball comedy in an exploration of the validity of artistic expression and the dangers of taking things too literally. Tickets are $20-$30.

Hungarian State Opera

In a rare overseas appearance, Budapest’s Hungarian State Opera presents cornerstones of the national repertoire, including the historical epic Bánk Bán by Ferenc Erkel, the father of Hungarian opera and a double bill of one-acters: Vajda’s Mario and the Magician  and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. For a rarity, why not try Goldmark’s once  popular The Queen of Sheba?

Musicals & Theatre

Mother of the Maid

The Public Theater is a New York institution. Jane Anderson’s new play stars six-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close as Joan of Arc’s mother, a sensible, hard-working peasant woman whose faith is tested by the behaviour of her odd and extraordinary daughter. Expect an unusual take on the challenges of raising an exceptional child.

The Lifespan of a Fact

Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame is the keen as mustard young fact-checker assigned by demanding Editor Cherry Jones to go over the copy of unconventional writer Bobby Cannevale (Blue Jasmine, I, Tonya). Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell’s new comedy sounds like the perfect night’s satire for our post-truth age.

The Ferryman

Jez Butterworth’s new play comes to Broadway trailing a slew of five-star London reviews. The play is set in the Carney farmhouse in Northern Ireland, 1981, amid preparations for the annual harvest. A day of hard work on the land and a traditional night of feasting and celebrations lie ahead, but this year they will be interrupted by a visitor. Sam Mendes directs.

Thom Pain (based on nothing)

Signature is home to some of the best new writing in New York and this revival of Will Eno’s acclaimed play feature’s Golden Globe Award-winner Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter). A one-man monologue, the show follows Thom Pain as he desperately, and hilariously, tries to make his life into something worth dying for.

King Kong

Global Creatures’ Melbourne production received mixed reviews for everyone except the monkey, but a lot has changed. Drew McOnie directs this reworked version with a new score by Marius de Vries (La La Land) and songs by Australia’s  Eddie Perfect. The new book is courtesy of Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Expect a spectacle.

New York, New York


Australians are the world’s greatest tourists, right? And no city offers quite as much in the way of artist thrills and spills as the Big Apple. After a year spent finding his feet, Limelight Editor-at-Large Clive Paget has hunted down the big names and haunted the city’s glittering venues. He’s also found unexpected performance spaces, from clubs to churches and even the odd cemetery. From the glamour of the Met and the buzz of Broadway to classical music hideaways and, yes, even some free stuff, our insider’s guide aims to be everything an adventurous cultural tourist needs.

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