XMAS Wrapping (1) -- Opera & Music Theatre
Enigmatic? Moody? Evocative? Mm, no... Tripe, actually.
Stalling for time -- staring down a deadline -- I decided to rummage through my 2008 appointment diary and tally up just how much I've see this year. (I blame Jana and Alison for this obsession with counting!) [Fooling nobody, I know.] I got to 207. That's one show for each bone in my body! (I've got one more vertebra than you... seriously!)
That's a fairly rubbery figure. I've counted one film -- it was a festival event -- and I've counted one double bill as two pieces. So 200-plus is about right.
I'm getting choosy in my middle age! I used to average five a week, year-in, year-out.
It's been a fine year I reckon, particularly in dance and theatre. But I'll have a lot more to say about those forms later. Elsewhere, too. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on opera and music theatre...
Best new opera production:
Chris Kohn's spacious, elegant and dramatic production of The Children's Bach for Chambermade Theatre. Great team, great cast. Proof that opera has a life out of its trad ghetto.
The Children's Bach: Naturalism 1, Verismo Nil
Worst new opera production:
Graeme Murphy's sugary, glib, dinky, multi-media reading of Ainadamar for the Adelaide Festival. Tripe. Just tripe.
Wicked. It more than lived up to the hype.
Honorable mention to John & Jen, the off-broadway musical (about a loving, protective sister who grows up to become clutchy, protective mother) which had a brief season at Chapel off Chapel. If music is a knife without a hilt, then John & Jen is a (very) bloody javelin.
I preferred the first half to the second, but Lisa-Marie Charalambous (Jen) and Chris Durling (John) were so far in the artistic black by interval, we would have conga-lined to Adelaide behind them.
Another honorable mention to Rocky Horror cos of its mostly stellar casting. Derryn Hinch excepted. He was more "black holer" in galactic terms.
I can't really comment on Shane Warne the Musical. I attended the world premiere (and it seems destined to live up to that billing) but can't really claim to have seen the performance. I was in the nose bleeds, at the end of a row and had to peer between two rails... I haven't had seats this bad in 20 years. 21 years, actually. And those tickets, bought at the TKTS booth in Times Square, were damn cheap and were clearly stamped "PARTIAL VIEW". (It was the Martin Beck and the show was Into The Woods if you must know!)