I had planned to start this letter wondering how on earth December has come around again so quickly. But as I write, huge swathes of Australia are on fire, with a million hectares already burned. Homes have been destroyed and several lives lost. It’s hard to think of anything else.

Firefighters say they have never seen anything like it, and it’s not even summer yet. Scientists have been warning us for decades that climate change and water mismanagement will inevitably lead to catastrophic situations like this. I hope by the time you are reading this, the fires have abated and the Australian government is having a very serious discussion about the steps they need to take to address the environmental crisis facing us. Climate change is having an impact on everything, including the arts. We have been preparing a story about this issue for early next year.

In the meantime, on a happier note, in this current issue we reveal the Limelight Recordings of the Year for 2019 as voted for by our critics. Reader voting is also open for the People’s Choice awards in our 2019 Artists of the Year. You only have until December 6 to vote online. The winners will be announced in our extended January/February summer issue.

Christmas is a joyous occasion for many, but remember, for some it can be a stressful or lonely time, as Greta Bradman discusses in this month’s column. I hope you all have someone to share it with this year or, at the very least, are able to find comfort and joy through music. If you’re looking to re-invigorate your Christmas collection, Clive Paget has reviewed this year’s festive releases, from the sacred to the cheesy, with something there for everyone.

So, on that note, here’s wishing you our best for the holiday season!

Jo Litson
Editor

The features

Recording of the Year

Over the last 12 months, our critics have listened to nearly 300 recordings across local and international labels. After much discussion and voting, we can reveal the 25 discs that took our team by storm.

Comfort and Joy

Clive Paget surveys this year’s festive releases and finds intriguing offerings for Advent, Christmas, and something for the post-prandial cheese plate.

When 4 x 12 = 150

Justine Nguyen explores a unique choral project that will see four choirs perform all 150 Psalms, set to music by 150 different composers, over the course of 12 concerts.

Curtain Call

For 50 years, David Williamson has been reflecting Australian society on stage. He talks to Limelight about his two new plays and why he thinks it’s best to retire now.

A Nue Dae Dawns

As Bran Nue Dae, Australia’s first Aboriginal musical, returns for a 30th anniversary production, Jo Litson takes a look at why the show is so important.

David Suchet

The British actor, who has captivated millions as Agatha Christie’s fastidious Belgian detective, talks about his new stage show Poirot and More: A Retrospective.

The Regulars

News

Vale John Curro

What I'm Listening To

Musical theatre star Hayden Tee

Five Questions for...

Conductor Nigel Short

Around the world

Lisette Oropesa’s two New York triumphs

My Instrument

Jackie Newcomb on the contrabassoon

Guy Noble's Soapbox

The strange ebbs and flows of time

Opera Column

Betrayal and loyalty in Vivaldi’s Farnace

Did you hear about...

Rossini’s triple-decker bad hair days

Backstage with...

Bass-baritone Andrew Foster-Williams

World Premiere

Airat Ichmouratov’s personal woodwind quintet

Greta Bradman

Music and loneliness at Christmas

Interview

Composer and Artistic Director Richard Mills

Composer of the Month

Phillip Sametz explores Puccini and his operas

Musical Journey

St Petersburg: a musical lover’s paradise

Panorama

This month's round-up of everything worth experiencing in dance, theatre, visual art and film

Broadcast Guide

The best of classical music and arts across ABC and independent stations this month

Digital & Cinema

The best of classical music and arts in Australian cinemas, and what's available online

My Music

Choreographer/dancer Kelley Abbey

Subscription Offer

Subscribe, give or renew a Limelight subscription before December 31 and you could win a Full-Season A Reserve double pass subscription to The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s 2020 season, valid in the city of your choice and valued up to $1,498.