In what is doubtless going to be a pattern for some time to come, the emergence of COVID-19 cases has caused sudden border closures between states in recent weeks, leading to the postponement of various arts events including the opening weekend of the Perth Festival.
Though it is causing all kinds of difficulties and angst for producers and arts managers, they are nonetheless going with the flow and adjusting admirably to whatever comes their way. The fact that theatres and concert halls are open and hosting events all over Australia is miraculous compared to the situation overseas, thanks to the way Australia has handled the pandemic. So, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the events featured in our March issue will go ahead.
Our cover story this month takes readers inside Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide. In a 10-year labour of love, the last standing Tivoli has been restored and rebuilt. The auditorium, which now resembles a beautiful ship’s hull, has 500 extra seats, while the foyers feature art nouveau shapes inspired by musical instruments and dance. Steve Dow explores the history of the building and its latest renovation, which fuses the old and the new.
Yvonne Frindle talks to Benjamin Northey, Principal Conductor in Residence at Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and MSO concertmaster Sophie Rowell about Margaret Sutherland’s Violin Concerto, as they prepare to perform it this month and, in a fascinating feature, investigates why the forward-looking orchestral composition has been so unjustly ignored.
When the coronavirus pandemic stymied Andrew Ford’s opera plans for 2020, he set about composing a series of hymns using new text from Australian poets. He then invited singers from a range of musical genres to record them. In our third, in-depth feature, Harriet Cunningham speaks to Ford and some of the poets and singers he collaborated with about his Red Dirt Hymns project, which has proved to be the right idea for strange times.
In our fourth feature, I look at how and why Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton has redefined the American musical, and how its ethnically diverse casting is also helping make history in Australia.
In this month’s columns, Guy Noble canvases the curse of perfectionism among musicians in his Soapbox, Diana Doherty discusses her relationship with the oboe in Playing Up, Queensland Theatre Artistic Director Lee Lewis salutes the primary school music program that gave her a gift for life in My Music, while Robert Veel airs his gripes about the ‘minimalism’ label in Sacred Cow.
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