Easter time, as artistic director Madeleine Easton noted in the program and at the opening of the concert, is about duality between death and decay and hope and resurrection. In this Easter celebration, Bach Akademie Australia performs three pieces debuted in Leipzig for Easter 1725, reliving a week of great creativity for Bach nearly 300 years later.
It’s only been in the last few years that the political and social zeitgeists have actively considered mental health, addiction, family violence and child abuse, toxic masculinity, or any of the complex ways that these experiences overlap and compound in people’s lives. In this new Australian work that debuted shortly before the pandemic, the struggles of one man open up a discussion about the hidden suffering in our communities.
Nearly 100 years ago, the end of the Roaring 20s, when the glittering world of debauchery was crumbling, the sheen of a post-war Europe fading, collaborators Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht wrote into the dingy, decrepit spaces of fallen empires, imagining the immorality that thrived in these shadows.
As the Short + Sweet short play festival approaches its 20th year in Sydney, it has just pulled through one of its worst, if not the worst, year yet with a handful of delays and interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But they pulled through with aplomb and were finally able to celebrate the close of their 2021 season with the Gala Awards Night.
After Donald Trump’s election in 2016, political analysts, journalists, and general citizens the world over were scratching their heads, wondering where it all went wrong. Many blamed “backwards” religious zealots from mysterious middle America who didn’t know any better. But in the ensuing years, which have seen increased popularity and visibility of far-right ideology, the gap of misunderstanding and miscommunication has only seemed to get bigger.
In the early 20th century, London was developing as a global cultural mecca as international influences, particularly from eastern Asia, were growing in popularity for audiences of poetry, literature, and theatre. From amongst this atmosphere came Lady Precious Stream by SI Hsiung, a play “in the style of traditional Chinese theatre” and based on Chinese folklore. But despite its hit status in 1930s London, the classic has since fallen into obscurity.
The Cold War was a time of great paranoia with international powers Russia, China, the US, and the UK all vying for political and ideological dominance. In Australia, growing suspicions about communism meant a ramping up of national intelligence and ASIO surveillance of everyone, including everyday Australian citizens.
Just like in the real Australia, an election is looming in the country electorate of Western Slopes which means a heightened sense of politicisation and line drawing about key policies in the hopes of securing the all-important votes. But a changing world, from climate change to social issues, threatens to throw a wrench into an otherwise straight-forward campaign season.
After an awful two years, the first program for the new year from the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra is a return to the music and the universal search for meaning and hope of artists and their audiences. While the rain is back in Sydney, Northern Serenades paints meadow landscapes of fresh blooms and gentle night breezes.
Oscar Wilde famously had a keen eye for the hypocrisy and double standards underpinning the facade of polite London society as displayed prominently in his play The Importance of Being Earnest. But his wit and insight were in full force from his first theatrical work about the hard line between good and bad women.