Where I share my inspirations, new work announcements and whatever else I find interesting. To view my artwork or read any of my performance reviews please see the link to my homepage in the sidebar. Offended by occasional male nudity or awesome homoerotic art content? This is not the place for you.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Image of the Day

A still from the General Dress of OperaBox' new production of Anna Bolena.  Jenna Robertson as Anna and Michael Heap as Enrico VIII.  Ticket are still available for the final two performances at www.fringeworld.com.au.

Photo by Dean Finlayson.

#Opera #ThirtyDaysofPerthect #OperaBox #AnnaBolena #Tudors #BelCanto

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Giuseppe Verdi (10 October 1813 – 27 January 1901)

Today we observe the anniversary of the passing of one of Opera's giants - Giuseppe Verdi.  Perhaps the greatest of Italian Opera composers, his works remain to this day staples of the repertoire of any opera house in the world.

I've always been a great admirer, particularly of his later works and count Don Carlo, Aida and Otello among my favourite operas.  It's difficult to finds one piece in particular as a tribute as there are so many memorable moments from most of his operas.

On this occasion however I'm going to opt for the Dies Irae from his Requiem, written during the break between the composition of Aida and Otello in the latter years of his life.  It's full of fire and brimstone and perhaps the most perfect musical setting of the text ever put to paper.

I've chosen the dynamic new Decca recording by Daniel Barenboim with the forces of La Scala and an incredible line-up of modern day soloists - Anja Harteros, Elina Garanca, Jonas Kaufmann and Rene Pape...enjoy this fitting tribute to a musical colossus.


#OnThisDay #Verdi #JoeGreen #Requiem #JonasKaufmann #Opera #SacredMusic

Monday, January 26, 2015

Der Rosenkavalier

Today marks the anniversary of the first performance of Der Rosenkavalier, one of Richard Strauss' most popular and timeless operas.  It truly has to contain some of the most beautiful music ever written for the female voice, as I've often said about Strauss' music in general.  

Today however I'd like like to highlight one of my favourite moments, the Italian Tenor aria from Act 1, here sung by a young Jose Carreras, conducted by Edo de Waart.  It's one of my favourite arias for tenor and here sung with such style and Mediterranean colour as only Carreras could.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


#Opera #RStrauss #Rosenkavalier #OnThisDay

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's Preview Night

After months of preparation we have made it to the Preview performance of Donizetti's Anna Bolena.  It's been really exciting to be able to work with such a talented, and driven group of Artistes who have challenged me to be my best and more.  I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to do this, my first opera design for a company and my first set design work in many years.


Tonight's preview is at Darlington Hall with the first performance proper to be held at St Hilda's Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday 28th January.  You can purchase tickets by clicking on the link below.  

Do come and join us, by doing so you are taking part in Australian operatic history.

#thirtydaysofperthect #fringeworld #operabox #opera 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year = New Challenges

One of the most rewarding parts of working on this production of Donizetti's Anna Bolena for OperaBox has been the learning of new skills, teaching myself about new technologies I once only ever dreamed existed when I was first starting out.

Last night I made a moonrise through a cloudy sky, today I'm making curtains rise and fall...it's the stuff of dreams.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!


To all of my friends world wide, I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2015.  Personally as far as years go, 2014, while it did have some challenges, was one of the best I've had in years.  Here's hoping that 2015 shapes up to be even better.  I have a couple of things on the horizon for after Anna Bolena has finished which I can't yet disclose but let's say that it should be a big a bright year.

As a prelude to what is coming up for me in January have a look at the trailer for OperaBox' new production of Donizetti's Anna Bolena.  It was put together by my dear friend and long time collaborator Robert Fletcher and Director Sarah McKellar.

Don't forget you can still donate to our worthy cause by heading to our crowd funding page at the link to your right.  Help us make WA Operatic History.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Donizetti: Anna Bolena

Donizetti's first major international operatic success was with Anna Bolena, which first premiered on December 26, 1830 at Milan's Teatro Carcano.  It's a heady mix of dramatic arias and rousing ensembles with what must one of the greatest Mad Scenes in opera, Lucia of course excepted.  In fact Anna's Mad Scene paves the way for Lucia's, in particular her duet with flute.

It's rarely performed but since the La Scala production mounted for Maria Callas in the 50's has had somewhat of a resurgence.  Beverley Sills and Dame Joan Sutherland became the opera's champions following Callas and in recent years the opera has seen a rise in popularity due largely to the occasional diva willing to tackle to role's challenges - Anna Netrebko, Elena Mosuc and Sondra Rodvanovsky deserving a special mention.

In about just under a months time Donizetti's Anna Bolena makes her reappearance on the Australian stage, the first since June 4, 1875.  OperaBox is delighted to present this beautiful Bel Canto offering to Australian audiences with Jenna Roberstson as Anna Bolena, Henry Choo as Percy and Michael Heap as Enrico VIII, as part of the Perth Fringe World Festival 2015.  You can purchase tickets here.

Here is a recording of the Overture, one of Donizetti's best.  I've been listening to this a lot in these past few months as I design the decor for the show.  It will surely get you humming along while you book your tickets! 

#OperaBox #Opera #BelCanto #FringeWorldFestival

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Great Anna Bolenas, part two - Renata Scotto

Here's a broadcast of Donizetti's masterpiece from 1975 with Renata Scotto as the doomed Tudor Queen.  She is radiant and her beautifully paced and sensitive portrayal is remarkable, in fact I wish she had recorded the role in the studio at the time.

Not only do you get Scotto in her late prime you get a supporting cast worth the price of admission alone.  Troyanos and Scotto really fire off each other in their big duet and the ensembles are excellent.  With veterans like Ezio Flagello, Piero di Palma and Nicola Zaccaria, what's not to like?  While the sound isn't perfect it's certainly good for it's age as a 'private' recording and well worth a listen.



www.blairparkinson.com    www.operaboxwa.com.au

#OperaBox #Donizetti #Opera #AnnaBolena #RenataScotto

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vale Irene Dalis - October 8, 1925 – December 14, 2014


Farewell to the gorgeous voice and talented singing actress that was the great Irene Dalis.  With a career that spanned many years in many different guises, director, singer and actor to, not to mention the founder and director of San Jose Opera, her presence will be sadly missed.

I've had in my collection a libretto of Verdi's Aida ever since I was about 13.  It had pictures of Irene Dalis as Amneris wearing the famous Nefertiti headdress, though not the one above.  I was, of course, completely captivated and she has to me been forever associated with the role ever since.

Dalis was also a fine Wagnerian and is nigh on peerless as Kundry, her portrayal for Knappertsbuch in his 1962 recording remains a benchmark to this day and a prize in my collection.

To say goodbye to another operatic giant, here is a live recording of Irene Dalis' Judgement Scene from Aida recorded in New York, the Met Broadcast from March 3, 1962.  Requiescat in pace Diva.