Friday, 30 December 2016

The Best of 2016

If you were to pick your favourite gig for the year what would it be?

It's been a privilege to attend so many concerts this year - often as a critic - where I've been delighted (and sometimes surprised!) by the quality of the shows. What a fabulous job I have! It's often a huge effort to extract small children from my legs and get out the door, but I have not yet been disappointed. Perhaps it is because I choose the best concerts! Or perhaps it is because Perth is producing increasingly high quality gigs.

Ileana Rinaldi, Emma Pettermerides, Emma Pearson, Harriet O'Shannessy,
Simon Morrison-Baldwin and Jun Zhang. Photo Eva Fernandez

The launch of Freeze Frame Opera in November was one of the surprises. I knew the cast would be excellent but I didn't expect the effort that had gone into the production; the lighting, choreography, props (a combi van!), the narration all communicated powerfully with the audience. It was an edgy and exciting combination of venue, performers and music. Due to popular demand a sequel is being planned for February 2017!

Another surprise was a venture into theatre reviewing for Limelight Magazine which introduced me to the satirical genius of Moliere's Tartuffe. I will long remember the glossy white set and fabulously comic performances from this Black Swan Theatre show.

Simon Tedeschi demonstrated the ultimate piano recital at the WA Academy of Performing Arts with his candid audience interactions and soulful performances of Gershwin.

There was a very enthusiastic audience response to a program of  Australian contemporary composers at a concert by Katie Noonan and the Brodsky Quartet. The many layers of artistic richness - Judith Wright's poems reinterpreted through composition and then shaped by the artistry of the musicians - resulted in an intensely beautiful concert.

The gong this year goes collectively to Perth's blossoming opera companies.  Brad Cohen's magic potion at work at WA Opera resulted in a hilarious Elixir of Love and a gripping production of Tim Winton's The Riders. Perth's operatic renaissance is also thanks to the grassroots company Opera Box who blew me away with an ambitious and very funny Ariadne auf Naxos, and my favourite this year: Lost & Found's Don Procopio with a bombshell cast and more layers of meaning than you would find in an onion.

That's my overview for 2016, but I didn't make it to everything so let me know what I might have missed and what your favourites were.

Cheers to all  involved in creating, producing and enjoying live music in Perth. THANK YOU for a fabulous year and toi toi toi for 2017



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