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44 Perth Guide
CLASSICAL MUSIC & OPERA
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The English Patient
director Anthony Minghella
used cinematic imagery
and traditional Japanese
theatre in this iconic
staging of the famous
love story, lauded as the
most beautiful show of
the year. Don’t miss it. His
Majesty’s Theatre, until
Mar 7, 6488 5555
This profoundly talented
Australian pianist presents
well-loved piano works,
before heading to Europe
for his annual tour.
Mundaring Weir Hotel,
Mar 7, 9295 6098.
LEEUWIN CONCERT 2015
The latest edition of this
concert series promises
to be one of its best yet
– featuring global opera
superstars Bryn Terfel
and Rachelle Durkin. The
backing band is none other
than the Perth Symphony
Orchestra. Nice! Leeuwin
Estate, Mar 7, 9430 4099.
Cello maestro Maisky
is coming to Perth for
the first time on WASO
conductor Asher Fisch’s
personal invitation, to
play in the unforgettably
passionate way for which
he’s become famous. Perth
Concert Hall, Mar 27-28,
The Choir of Hard Knocks
conductor pays tribute to
some tenor greats, with
a repertoire including
pieces by Pavarotti
and Bocelli. Mandurah
Performing Arts Centre,
Mar 31, 9550 3900.
A narrative full of hope,
fear and bravery, about
two young men leaving
for Gallipoli. Mandurah
Performing Arts Centre,
Apr 28, 9550 3900.
BEST OF PIAF
The Perth International Arts Festival
always offers an eclectic range
of shows, and its classical music
program is no different.
THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN | The gorgeous St Mary’s
Cathedral plays host to a cappella group The Sixteen
– you’ll be swept up in the beauty of the romantic
music and setting. The group is in Perth following
sell-out shows in Edinburgh, London and Vienna.
St Mary’s Cathedral, Mar 3, 9223 1350.
IN AN ITALIAN GARDEN | Known as one of the best
orchestras in the world, Les Arts Florissants comes
to Perth for a rare Australian concert with acclaimed
harpsichordist William Christie. This is an incredible
example of fine Baroque music, not to be missed.
Perth Concert Hall, Mar 7, 9231 9900.
Acclaimed local muso Mark Holdsworth recently won
the prestigious Dorothy Ellen Ransom Prize in Musical
Composition, an award to UWA students for an orchestral
arrangement of seven minutes or less. We chat about the
inspiration behind his prize-winning composition, Odyssey.
What were you trying to achieve with your composition?
I wanted to create an epic-sounding piece for a large orchestra. I tried to do an
unconventional thing. Contemporary music is experimental, and composers tend to
focus on articulating intellectual and philosophical points. But I’m more of a Romantic –
my principal focus has always been wanting to touch people, to communicate emotion.
In this piece, I tried to marry Romantic notions with modern practices to try and create
something new and innovative.
What was it like writing for an orchestra?
I’ve never written properly for an orchestra before. A lot of my work is structured
around epic poems – I try to do that to give them purpose. With Odyssey there are
some really experimental parts, where you hear moments that sound like a horror
scene, kind of strange tone colours coming from the orchestra, but I’ve framed them
to make them purposeful, to further the narrative.
What is that narrative?
It’s based on Homer’s Odyssey. The basic idea is that Odysseus is away from home. It’s
a story about homecoming that flows on from the Trojan War, about how he’s changed
with the journey, about how his wife is waiting for him with all the suitors trying to
marry her, and the long journey home.
What was challenging about writing it?
The time limit was challenging – it’s difficult to build a theme in that time. I tried to do
that in a condensed form, by creating, like, blocks of music that were all separate, but
related to each other, and have them follow one another in a rapid sequence to give
a sense of time passing.
What are you going to work on next?
For my honours recital I’ll compose something for string instruments. The violin is my
favourite, it’s the closest thing to a human voice. And then I’ll do a masters – maybe
Iliad as an opera.
VIVALDI’S FOUR SEASONS
This is the show to see, if
you want to seem
like you’re into classical
music – and in WASO’s
capable hands it’s sure to
be a talking point. Perth
Concert Hall, May 1-2 ,
Made up of two married
couples, this quartet is
marking its 20th anniversary
with a celebratory tour of
achingly beautiful classical
pieces. Perth Concert Hall,
May 12, 9231 9900.
Opera in the Park
We get that opera sometimes seems a little inaccessible.
There are the over-the-top costumes, the theatrics,
the unfamiliar words – and that’s even before the show
begins! If you feel like you’re missing out, don’t despair:
the City of Perth’s free Opera in the Park event is a great
way to ease yourself in. Pack a picnic and relax under the
stars as the West Australian Opera performs The Barber
of Seville live in the Supreme Court Gardens, simulcast
to both the Northbridge Piazza big screen and regional
centres all over the state. It’s a great way to kick-start
your opera love affair – The Barber of Seville is the
prequel to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, which will be
playing at His Majesty’s in July. You’ll be an expert in no
time! Supreme Court Gardens, Mar 6, 9278 8999.
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