Opera everywhere, including the beach, and world music in a park
This is a very special episode if you enjoy music in manifold ways. We’re covering opera, world music, and alternative rock, so prepare for some sensory overload.
Firstly, we turn to opera because State Opera of South Australia has two intriguing programs lined up that are exemplars of the company’s stated aim of introducing new audiences to opera. We’ll be joined by State Opera’s Head of Music, Anthony Hunt, and its Artistic Director, Stuart Maunder.
Secondly, we chat with passionate attendees of Womad, recorded at the event last weekend.
Finally, in the Musical Pilgrimage, we feature the latest song from The Violets – the great, Aussie alternative Rock band that has reformed after, well, let’s say, quite a few revolutions of the sun, and they show they still have it.
Oh, and for the SA Drink Of The Week, we try some Green Ant Gin, as tasted at Womad.
PS Here’s our final reminder that Steve Davis and Ekkia Evans have been reviewing Fringe shows again this year. Read the Adelaide Fringe reviews here, throughout the Fringe.
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Running Sheet: Opera everywhere, music in a park
Introduction to the show.
00:03:01 SA Drink Of The Week
This week’s SA Drink Of The Week is a Green Ant Gin by Seven Seasons Distillery, founded by Larrakia man Daniel Motlop. This premium distillery uses native Australian ingredients to create a taste of the world’s “oldest new” flavours.
00:04:40 Stuart Maunder and Anthony Hunt, State Opera SA
State Opera South Australia is launching a series of recitals this weekend ahead of the much-anticipated Boheme On The Beach – yes, that’s opera by the seaside. I know State Opera has a mission to introduce opera to new audience but this seems to be evidence of the doubling of efforts because the recitals will be quite intimate – you’ll be up close and personal with some of the celebrated chamber musicians and opera singers – and taking opera to the beach is a very Aussie move to “normalise” listening to opera. Let’s explore these new frontiers with State Opera’s Head of Music, Anthony Hunt, and its Artistic Director, Stuart Maunder.
I’d like to start with the recitals. You’ll be holding these at UKARIA Cultural Centre, which is a lovely venue in some of the last remaining natural scrubland around Mount Barker. It’s not big. So, Anthony, just how close are we going to be to the performers?
What headspace should one be in for attending a recital. I ask this because I’ve been doing a little work with 5MBS the Classical and Jazz music station, and there was an intriguing comment that a few listeners made when I was interviewing them. They said that they can’t have fine music on in the background, they must listen actively. Are you expecting that most of your audience will be the type of listeners who LEAN FORWARD in their seats? OR, is it possible to enjoy these recitals the way Leigh Warren advised me to enjoy dance; just lean back, don’t try to focus on anything in particular, and absorb the experience?
Anthony, we will share the link for more information in the show notes, but can we have some highlights of the program? I would say, your elevator pitch, but that conjures an image of musak, which we don’t want associated!
Stuart, it took everything within me not to curtsy when I came into your presence today because I still remember the absolute perfection of your May 2021 production of Sweeney Todd. I was swooning for weeks – and I went unshaved! I know State Opera wants to broaden its audience and I noted two things. Firstly, my young cousin, Jamie, was there with a group of friends (all in their 20s); they’d made a special effort to attend. And, secondly, I brought along former Lord Mayor, Stephen Yarwood, who said he only accepted my invitation because it was me; typically he’d reject invitations to any concerts featuring country music or opera. But he left converted. Can you describe the alchemy involved?
What cross-over potential does Boheme On The Beach offer? How accessible will this be to “new” ears?
I’ve been reviewing theatre for almost 30 years and always take note of the projection of voices. How on earth will our singers project when you have such a large open area, sea breezes, and ocean waves to contend with, not to mention the occasional clanging of a tram?
Is there a trend towards more engaging and interesting dramaturgy in opera these days; I note that State Opera’s Barber Of Seville last November was very ornate in its acting demands on the performers. And what does La Boheme have in store?
Finally, can we wear thongs to Boheme On The Beach? And does this create a precedent for Her Majesty’s Theatre?
00:43:05 Womad voices
Last weekend, Steve wandered the parklands at Womadelaide 2022, and bumped into some passionate advocates of the event who were quick, willing, and able to share some thoughts on why they’re attracted and how proud they are of the organisers for persevering through Covid.
Our Womad voices are:
- Karen Lewis
- Stuart Kuhl
- Evelyn Roth
- Alison James
- Heidi Angove
01:07:59 Musical Pilgrimage
In the musical pilgrimage, we’re going to listen to Sideways, the first track to be lifted from The Violets‘ first album in 20 years!
Back in the 90s, if you listened to Triple J and other places where the cool kids hung out, you would have heard a few tunes by The Violents.
They were signed to Phantom Records for 13 years and after eventually securing a deal with KRELL/SHOCK records, they ended up in a label war and ended up playing their last show in 2021.
Fast forward to 2020 and in the event of the remastering the re-release of their 25th anniversary album, ‘Leased Regret’, which won music industry album of the year 1995, they decided to reunite and make an album that has just been released.
It’s called ‘Smoke, Mirrors & other half truths’.
Here’s this week’s preview video
This week’s preview video.
SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free SFX from freesfx.co.uk for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal SFX, the wine pouring and cork pulling SFX, and the swooshes around Siri.