• I love opera, bluegrass, burger joints and fictional detectives. Mostly, but not always, in that order. Formerly of Dunedin, formerly of Sydney, now travelling the world with the tenor in my life (Stuart Skelton) and blogging as I go.
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Saturday, January 02, 2010



I absolutely agree with points 51 and 52. The last one in particular, as I don't think I'll ever forget the way my entire body sank in to despair as I noticed the lights blackening on the orchestra pit. It takes an extraordinary director to take an audience member surrounded by 2000 others and make him feel very much alone, and yet this production succeeded.

If I may propose a 47.1, it would be a particular mention of Crabbe's desperation as he watched his son/creation during the mad scene, trying to comfort and hold him as sanity slipped away. Those few minutes ceased to be really good opera, and simply became real. It was harrowing.


Clearly the whole of Peter Grimes was filmed. What do we need to do to get a movie?


Thanks for this wonderful list Sarah and for your stupendous year of comments, thoughts and reflections. I will now go and purchase Emma Mathews' CD!! If you can be converted, then so can I!!!! Happy New Year to you and here's to more terrific blogging from you in 2010!!


Barbara - no, it wasn't filmed in its entirety. The YouTube clips are taken from the final dress rehearsal, and all from a single camera. Apparently there were plans at one point to film it, but the company in question pulled out. So no film. But there are whispers of a revival down the track, so maybe they'll manage to film it then. Fingers crossed.


My impression was that this particular production might actually work with a single camera. Oh well. Fingers are crossed.


As talked about without caveat, it seems reasonable to name the "company in question" as Opus Arte (Covent Garden) and the failure to consummate because there was a Grimes already in their catalogue, this surely a known known. It suggests a loose contract or no contract at all. Corrections welcome.

Barbara has a good point. This production would be one particularly in need of a carefully chosen director (film), risking wreckage in the hands of the likes of some directors (Barbara Willis Sweet, without naming names) and a single camera may well inflict least damage.

I agree completely about the blackening of the pit, made possible by Britten most of all, nothing to play, nothing to say. The revelation for me was helping to understand why Balstrode was given the spoken word, something I hadn't got my head around. The blackness underlined the removal of accompaniment, emphasising the other worldness of the about to be, if not already, departed, and that it (music/light) would not resume till he had finally been dispatched. And within that scene, there is no room for Balstrode to sing, unaccompanied, especially as the effect of the spoken word is even more contrasting and earth-bound, banal almost. Apologies if I'm stating the bleeding obvious.

I'd have 53 things, and give Wiggles his own one, but then I haven't bothered to do anything....thanks Sarah, Happy New Year, and all.


terrific list- brings back many of the most striking performnaces and dramatic moments over the last year of operatic offerings in Sydney.I would like to offer some extra roses to Julian Gavin- firstly as a truly despicable but layered and beautifully sung Pinkerton opposite the luminous Cheryl. The final performance was very special not only for Cheryl's deeply moving and vocally masterful command , but for the strength of Gavin's superbly judged anti-hero and also a subtle and very effective Sharpless from Barry Ryan.
Next again to praise the integrated singer-actor- for me the highlight of Fidelio was Julian Gavin's Florestan. I only wish I had seen it with a soprano to match his powers in leonora.
In Lady Macbeth - full honours to all- and an extra mention to John Wegner as the revolting Boris. That such a delightful and charming person could dig into the depths of depravity and create such a totally loathsome portrait is extraordinary musical acting. Bravo John !
My special laurel ( there are few left to deliver) for Peter Grimes goes to the viola soloist in the Passacaglia for whom the orchestra and conductor applauded each performance- a moving moment to observe as the fellow artists shared their admiration within the performance. Finally- to Miss Sarah Noble- for her friendship and her inspired and informed writing- long may she ponder her topic- parole o musica ?
brava signorina!

travelling mezzo

Thank you indeed Sarah for your excellent comments & hard work keeping us up to speed with Sydney's rather complicated opera scene & to Wanderer & Toscakiss for adding their very relevant points. For me it was just so totally amazing how an opera I had seen several times before could not only affect me but unite such a large group of us.


I will spend some CONSIDERABLE time trying to live up to the wonderful encouragement here.

Never been considered (nor considered myself) a natural actor.

I sincerely hope to do you all proud from now on.

See you in May '10. Dunkel ist das Leben, ist der Tod.

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