Sunday, February 27, 2011

Minchin about

Last night LE and I went to the Palais to see Tim Minchin in concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He is a very talented performer, writing clever, often very funny, songs which attempt to rip away much of the hype of modern life. Always taking a strictly rational view of the world, his songs, with one exception, display a complete lack of sentimentality. Often profane (I wonder how the MSO players reacted to F*** the mother-f****** Pope when they first heard it) but usually right on the mark, he interspersed his songs with fairly laid-back patter to the audience.

After singing Cont(ext) the first part of which is a string of outrageous racial, sexual and other slurs, all of which are ameliorated when sung, in the second part, in context, he was verballed by a woman at the front of the audience who claimed that she was offended by the song. He suggested that if that was how she felt, she would be better off to leave immediately, as it was only going to get worse. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with Minchin she was quietly but firmly escorted from the theatre.

He seemed a little spooked by this encounter, but was quickly back on form. In all it was a most enjoyable night. His one indulgence in sentimentality was White wine in the sun (Christmas song) in which he describes how, without any recourse to religion, he "really likes Christmas".

As an ex-ginger myself I'll leave you with this:

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Viva Victorian Opera

Last night I met up with P&B for a quick Japanese meal before going to the Town Hall for Victorian Opera's Viva Verdi concert. The concert began with a spirited performance of the overture to La forza del destino by Orchestra Victoria.

This was followed by act one of La Traviata with Joanna Cole as Violetta , Virgilio Marino as Alfredo, Sally-Anne Russell as Flora and the energetic Victorian Opera chorus - this was a good choice as the act shows off the performers very well. Apart from a couple of squeals near the end of Sempre libera, Cole was very good; Marino's voice however didn't quite match up to Cole's.

After interval we got excerpts from Il trovatore, an opera with a convoluted plot which doesn't do much for opera's reputation. It started with the vigorous Anvil Chorus, followed by Russell giving her all as Azucena singing Stride la vampa. As Roger Howell was taken ill, Michael Lewis stepped in at the last minute to sing the role of Count Di Luna - he inhabited the role most impressively. Maxine Montgomery as Leonora sang in the final Miserere. 

As an encore Montgomery, Russell, Marino and Lewis sang the quartet from Rigoletto, with Russell's Maddalena outrageously playing up to Marino's Duke.

The rest of the soloists also acquitted themselves well; it was an extremely impressive start to the year for the company. I look forward to the rest of the season.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Las Palmas

If this is the trailer, I can't wait for the film.