Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Arty farty

Yesterday Peter and I went into Federation Square to see 'Collisions', a virtual reality film by Lynette Wallworth about Nyarri Nyarri Morgan and his story. While only 18 minutes long (and free), it was an intriguing and moving story about the Maralinga atomic explosion. Particularly strong were the images of kangaroos being killed by the bomb, then Martu people eating them (as a gift) then getting sick. After that, we went to the John Olsen exhibition: You beaut country, which gave a fresh appreciation of his work. Both are well worth seeing. In the evening, Peter made a David Herbert chicken and couscous dish which was yummy.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lots more Bach

Today, I went up early to get the paper and Peter and I did the crossword (no mistakes this week!). We then had the remnant soto ayam for lunch and went off to Sacred Heart Catholic Church (of the very underwhelming plaster statues). Gloriana Chamber Choir (which seemed very much bigger) and the Gloriana Chamber Players (which also seemed to be a rather big band) performed an all Bach program with, as well as the orchestra, four excellent soloists, Erika Tandiono, Hamish Gould, Timothy Reynolds and Jerzy Kozlowski. It was a rousing and virtuoso performance which finished off the season with a bang. Unfortunately, two of the four concerts next year clash with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. We sat with Barbara T. who kindly gave us a lift home (Sonia way). Peter made roast beef for dinner which turned out to be tender and delicious.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Busy Friday

Yesterday, in the morning, we picked up Delila the Corolla, then Frank and did the shopping. Afterwards, as Addict was chocka, we had a very nice brunch at Bedford Street, the nearby alternative. In the evening, Peter and I went to Victoria Street, North Melbourne, to an old friend, Warung Agus. Agus has apparently retired but his wife and daughter are still running the place with elan and very good food, in fact excellent. We then toddled down the road to Arts House at the North Melbourne Town Hall. It is looking uber-trendy as was the audience for Chambermade Opera's 'Permission to Speak'. It was written by Tamara Saulwick (who also directed) and Kate Neal and was beautifully performed by Georgie Davidis, Edward Fairlie, Josh Kyle and Gian Slater. The drift was about things said and unsaid with a brilliant score/soundscape which was very moving. A very accessible and well made piece, a great contrast to the burlesquey 'Blaque Showgirls' of the other night. Today will be, by way of contrast, a quiet day at home.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

At last, some drama

Yesterday was a quiet day at home tidying up and sorting things out. There's much more to do though. In the early evening, Peter and I headed for the Malthouse where we had a good meal before 'Blaque Showgirls', a play by rising star, Nakkiah Lui, who also gave Greg Sheridan ('Murdoch hack') a hard time on last Monday's Q&A. It was a very funny piece sending up cultural stereotypes. The cast of four were all brilliant as was the staging and direction. The only problem was that the cultural deconstruction was a little less rigorous than the program notes suggested it might have been but who cares, it was fun.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

And even more

After redoing the soto ayam after a bit of shopping, we had French onion soup for lunch (also homemade including the stock). In the late afternoon, it was off to the Recital Centre AGAIN for a Latitude 37 concert. The group were joined by Melissa Farrow on flute for a program of pieces by the numerous Bach progeny (some of them, plus the old man). I particularly liked a sonata for viola da gamba and fortepiano by CPE. Then it was home for the soto 24 hours later than it should have been. Today is being spent at home for some overdue tidying after all this activity. Tonight, Peter cooked pork chops with Stephanie's red cabbage. Delicious. As well, today, the Arts Centre rang to say we'd been upgraded at no charge to the Pavilion meals during the Ring Cycle (we only paid for one, the others were meant to be at the Vic). Lord knows why, but we'll eat them.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Even more musica

Yesterday, Sunday, we did the morning crossword (they made one error this week, much as usual). In the arvo, we went to our second home, the Recital Centre. We met Frank and Margaret G. and saw the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra in their end-of-year program. It was a 'leave-'em-laughing when you go' kind of program to get you to sign up for next year with some Mozart juvenilia, two little known English composers Ireland and Warlock, plus a smidgeon of Byrd and Mendelsohn's Hebrides Overture plus his glorious violin concerto in E minor. Oh, and The Lark Ascending by Vaugan Williams. Grace Clifford the young soloist was exemplary (and modest). When we got home, I found my morning-made soto ayam was a black mess in the bottom of the pot. I left it on when we left home. Thank goodness there was a lot of liquid or we might have had a fire. I don't think it was memory loss but rather fiddling around with boiling potatoes when we left. Now the checklist when we leave includes back door, bathroom window and stove. We had very nice Thai takeaway instead and today I've replaced the soto.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Who said retirement was quiet?

I haven't had time to blog because we've been too busy. On Friday, I at last got my report on the novel off to the publisher who thanked me for it over the weekend. Meanwhile, Peter was off at his U3A film group to see 'The Wicker Man', a rather peculiar cult film. In the evening, we went to the Park Hotel nearby for a quite good meal, though it reminded us of the U.S. with its large portions: mine of fish'n'chips and Peter's of chicken parma. We then went to the Boogie Man Bar (on the corner of Vere and Hoddle) to see Julie E. from Warrnambool whose boyfriend Bruce was performing there. He did a good gig and we had a good catchup with Julie. There is a hoarding up for a huge new development of units behind the Bar. It has an hilarious account of the pleasures of the flats including a rooftop garden for 'your herb garden'. I predict that within days of the units being occupied, the occupants start complaining about noise and disturbance from the bar which they knew was there when they bought (even though there is almost no spillover noise from the mostly acoustic performers). Next morning, we picked up Delila and Frank and did our normal shopping after which we went to a popup fashion and food festival behind the Spiegeltent in Johnston Street at our SECOND Arts Precinct in the old Collingwood Tech. There were a few quite good and cheap food offerings which we munched on before leaving Frank (and Delila) and heading for the Recital Centre, circumnavigating the Spanish Fester. We saw the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in chamber orchestra mode performing a concert of works never performed by the MSO (seeing one was a world premiere, this was not surprising). That was a very enjoyable Flute Concerto by Ian Munro, performed splendidly by Prudence Davis, principal flute for the orchestra. Two works by Sibelius: Rakastava and Impromptu, plus an orchestration by Rudolf Barshai of Shostakovich's String Quartet no 3, possibly on the subject of WWII, rounded out a very satisfying concert. Unfortunately, on the way to the concert and home again, the public transport was less than reliable. This seems to be becoming more common.

Friday, November 18, 2016

One fine day at Heide

Had a quiet day on Wednesday with a bit of work but still not finishing the novel report. Maybe today. Yesterday, there was no work as I picked up Delila the Corolla, then Peter and friends Jan and Suzie (visiting from Brisbane for Ring cycle rehearsals) to go to Heide. They have a very fine exhibition on three women modernists (O'Keefe, Preston and Cossington-Smith). We had a good lunch at Cafe Vue then saw the other two venues. The Nolan slates were interesting if a bit underwhelming while in Heide One the Blackman and friends exhibition was very good. We went for a rather warm walk in the grounds. Then went back to the city. In the evening, after a quick meal at Yoyogi, Peter and I went to 'Jack Charles V. The Crown'. It is an excellent one-man show with a three-piece band detailing Charles' life from being taken away from his parents, through an acting career interrupted by drug addition and burgling, then recovery and a new life. It is a very moving show, underplayed and all the more powerful for that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lazy weekend

We had a very quiet weekend except for Sunday lunch when Peter and I went to Fatto on the Arts Centre to meet Jo U. and Sally S. for a get together while Jo was in Melbourne for work. We had a good catch up over a good meal. Dinner on Saturday was my homemade beer-battered flathead from Lakes Entrance and on Sunday Peter's leftover chili con carne. On Monday, the cleaners came and we had Peter's pork spare ribs for dinner. I also did a bit of work on getting the report on a rather complicated novel together. I might finish that today.

Friday, November 11, 2016

More music

Yesterday, I made some more notes on the novel. I'm now about a third of the way through. In the arvo, I met up with Peter at the Recital Centre (he had been on a U3A art gallery tour) and we saw the inestimable Syzygy. They performed major works by Roger Smalley, Penderecki, Richard Toensing and Gabriel Ortiz in a riveting concert of quite accessible works. Sadly, one of their members, Blair Harris, the cellist, is leaving the group. This is his last concert. This morning, Peter and I did normal shopping with Delila the Corolla. Tonight, Peter is having dinner with Robin while I'm going to the ANAM orchestra perform works by Stravinsky, Ginistera and Tchaikovsky. Also going are Frank and my sister, Julie, and friends Margaret and Doug. The concert was thrilling as was the similar one last year with the same young conductor Ilyich Rivas, a Venezualan. The energetic piece by Ginastera, an Argentinian, was a piano concerto, which has a relentless finale. We left, ears ringing.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Molto musica plus art

Yesterday morning, Peter and I went off to the Recital Centre (we should live there in a tent) to a Musica Viva Coffee Concert. This one was the Benaud Trio with Smetana's brilliant but poignant Piano Trio in G minor, followed by a world premiere of Nicole Murphy's 'Spinning Top' then Paul Schoenfield's 'Cafe Music', a jazzy rollicking piece. We then headed for the NGV St Kilda Road, where I had some crotchless sandwiches followed by cake and we saw a brilliant exhibition of Japanese bamboo sculptures or craft or whatever you want to call it. Then after a quick trip home for a snooze, we were back at the Recital Centre, this time in the Salon, for Ludovico's Band in a program called 'The Music of Tears' or Lacrimarium. Works ranged from Dowland, through Purcell, Hotteterre, Vivaldi, de Rore, Rognoni, Oritz and JC Bach (first cousin once removed). Tobias Cole provided affecting vocals while the ensemble was expanded with two viols, equally affecting. And effective. Home again for more osso buco and teev.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Quietish weekend ending with a bang

We stayed at home for a windy, cool Saturday and had lamb shanks (a bit fatty) for dinner then on Sunday had a lazy morning doing the Sunday crossword. In the arvo., we met up with 'Tricia B., her friend Merle and Frank. We were going to Barre at the Arts Centre but it closed at 4pm (why, I don't know, when the whole joint was buzzing with people), so we moved to Fatto near Hamer Hall where we had a drink and nibblies. We mainly chatted about ours and their overseas trips. Afterwards, they headed for their train back to Sydney and Peter, Frank and I went to the Playhouse for 'The Light in the Piazza', a musical set mainly in Florence. It was a very well staged, sung and played piece, sadly let down by a very poor score by Richard Rodgers' grandson Adam Guettel. He hadn't inherited his grandparents' skill and talent. The script was good though and it was absorbing enough. Because it started early (at 6), we came home for some baby cheeses and teev. At present, Auntie has a good serving of bonnet programs on Sunday night: Poldark and Jamaica Inn.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Old style rock

Yesterday, we picked up Delila the Corolla, then Frank and did normal shopping at Victoria Gardens then had a tasty brunch at the Bluebird Cafe, good as usual. In the evening, we had leftovers for dinner before going out to the Recital Centre for a concert by Richard Clapton and band. The band (of a generous six including one doo-wah girl) was very good in their support for Clapton's rundown of his old and new songs. It was a good concert but like most one-man band shows produced by their performers, no one tells the star when to stop, so the show went nearly an hour overtime and outlasted our patient. On the way, the bus company, Ventura, failed us badly with nary a bus to be seen for over half an hour.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

A very busy day

On Tuesday, we had a quiet day at home with Peter's wonderful roast chook for dinner. By contrast, on Wednesday we were up early to get the train to Castlemaine for our Liz Kelly Memorial Lunch. We met Rennis W., Polly P. and Sally S. at Southern Cross. We had a good trip to Castlemaine where we found Ed L. was also on the train to join us for lunch. Ann de H. met us and we went to the Good Table for an excellent lunch. A quick flit to the Art Gallery followed and we headed back to Melbourne on the 3pm train. It was a very successful lunch. On arrival, we dispersed, and Peter and I headed to Bistro d'Orsay at the Atheneaum where we met Frank who had arrived back from Europe early in the morning. After a good meal, we went next door for Melbourne Opera's production of 'Anna Bolena' by Donizetti. It was an excellent focussed production with good performances by all the principals, especially Elena Xanthoudakis in the title role. There's nothing like a good full-blooded melodrama.