Best theatre of 2018: Jason Whittaker’s Sydney picks

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Musicals, News & Commentary, Opera, Stage, Theatre |

From opera to musical theatre and drama classic and contemporary, I’m genre agnostic when it comes to picking the best theatrical experiences of 2018. The standout Sydney stage shows spoke to the moment in distinctive ways, from #metoo to race relations, mental health, environmentalism … and the pitfalls of bricking yourself into a pyramid. In

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Queensland Theatre’s year of inclusion; (Opera Australia, not so much)

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News & Commentary, Opera, Stage, Theatre |

The launch season has begun this month for the country’s performing arts companies as they reveal their 2019 programs. The first theatre company out of the gate is Queensland Theatre in Brisbane, helmed by artistic director Sam Strong, formerly an associate AD at Melbourne Theatre Company. His 2019 season (marking the company’s 49th year) raises the bar for

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The Turk in Italy (Sydney Opera House)

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Opera, Reviews, Stage |
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And now, a change of pace. After three brooding operas this cold Sydney winter – a staid Lucia Di Lammermoor, a sombre Rigoletto and a dazzlingly dark Aida – levity arrives in the form of one of Gioachino Rossini’s least remembered operas. The Turk In Italy is little performed for some good reasons. But this

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Aida opera review (Sydney Opera House)

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Opera, Reviews, Stage |
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Blood-red clouds swirl apocalyptically overhead. A black panther with piercing green eyes stands warily close by. A gold-plated serpent is charmed to coil around the crowd and bare its fangs. Or is it all a dazzling mirage? No surprise in an opera set in the deserts of ancient Egypt, especially one as tricked out as

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Helpmann Awards: Beautiful and Muriel’s Wedding musicals and Bennelong the big winners

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The musical import Beautiful edged out the home grown musical Muriel’s Wedding The Musical at the annual Helpmann Awards held in Sydney on Monday and (in a new award system) Sunday nights. Beautiful won six awards in the musicals category over both nights to Muriel’s’ five. At last night’s awards at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney for the ‘big’ awards, Beautiful won best

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Lucia di Lammermoor and Rigoletto (Sydney Opera House)

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Opera, Reviews, Stage |

There is, as we’ve come to expect in the globalised market of principal opera talent, some world-class voices quaking the tiles of the Sydney Opera House this winter. Starry seasons of two mid-19th century Italian works, Lucia di Lammermoor and Rigoletto don’t excavate anything opera lovers didn’t know about these works, or indeed these well-worn adaptations of contrasting

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Looking for the perfect Don Quixote and getting close to it at Opera Australia

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Theatre director Fiona Blair sees a production of the operatic version of Don Quixote by Jules Massenet and finds herself rewarded for all the other renderings of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel she’s forced herself (and others) to endure over the years.  *** I’ve got some form on Don Quixote. I’ve had a tilt. I’ve tried to compress the

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